In runner jargon “LSD” means Long Slow Distance. This time I experience such a pleasant addictive effect on a long run in a summer holiday. Almost 30 degrees Celsius and no wind. Atmosphere increasing scenery: sunshine, a blue sky and the extensive forests of the Veluwe[1].

The shell surface reveals a gooey sound of approaching faster slow traffic. “Two cyclists”, I observe, looking over my shoulder and reflecting to the left side of the road. A sweaty man in unbuttoned shirt and in (too small) swimming trunks, using his bicycle bell unnecessarily loud, passes by; the also scantily dressed blonde however, squeezes her brakes and stays biking beside me: “May I ask you a question?” I answer shortly: “No problem.” Her question is obvious: “Is not it much too hot to run?” “In the forest, among trees, it is alright”, is my answer. Second question: “Do you know how fast you are running now?” “Thirteen to fourteen kilometer per hour”, I declare. She looks at the velocity meter on the handlebar of her bike and nods: “Do you run a lot?” Answer: “Four times a week!” “So!?” She looks on the meter again and then at me. I read admiration in her blue eyes. The interview continues: “How old are you?” I tell her. “Did you hear that?”, she yells at her companion, while looking at me from head to foot, “this gentleman is ten years older than you are!” Now the man inhibits too and, while riding on the other side of me, he looks at me gloomy, if not odiously. “When you for once…,” the woman begins, while winking at me, talking to her partner. “Oh, no!” the man exclaims repelling a fierce defensive gesture full of abhorrence, “you don’t think that I’m going to run?” He pronounces this last word as if talking about a scary disease. The lady does not give up: “It keeps you pretty slender!” She looks at me again and then we both look at his big fat white belly, in which even the navel seems to move breathless. Just at the moment when I, running between the two rear wheels, start to feel uncomfortable, a road post on a T-junction indicates that I, on my way to our campsite, have to turn right. With a hand gesture I greet the man and the woman, who turn left. Our farewell and the cleavage of the road most certainly does not end their discussion. I can clearly hear her shrill voice: “If you would have lost most of that big paunch of yours just for once, than you would perform better in bed than just lying on your back!”

What a swell you can provoke as a runner…

(August 1987)

[1] The largest natural park in the Netherlands.

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