6.03.2008

Gym carnies: Yeti

Gym Carnies an irregular series about the curious characters and intriguing individuals that people my local gym.
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There are certain telltale signs of a runner: a sweaty old race t-shirt, dirty-yet-loved sneakers, an air of humility earned from running races, an all too wide grin that comes from the high levels of endorphins. We all exhibit these outward signs as a result of running. However, what if you exhibit all the signs of a runner, but never in fact run? Such is the problem with the Yeti.

Similar to his namesake, there are many signs that Yeti is a runner, yet to this day no one has produced hard evidence that Yeti does run.

The first time I saw Yeti I took him for your average male gym type. He looks to be in his 40s and is probably the most fit middle-aged man I've ever seen: muscular, very lean, probably about 6'5", and could easily pass for a model. He executes every lift, pull, and push with exacting precision--the type of flawlessness you gain by performing the same movement over and over. He walks around the gym very upright and always has a way of appearing to look down on things.

I really took Yeti as just your regular iron-pumping gym type, except for one thing. Without fail he always comes to the gym in a coordinated spandexy running outfit and spiffy running shoes.

I'm all for spandex--as a runner I own several pieces of spandex clothing--but I don't wear them to the gym. Very few guys come to the gym outfitted to run a race, and even fewer dress like that every time they go to the gym. Also, very few people at the gym wear Brooks or Saucony--these brands are typically reserved for runners. This leads me to believe that Yeti is a runner, because no one else but a runner would invest so much in spandex or fancy shoes.

Additionally, I've overheard Yeti mention something about "races" and "an injury" to another Gym Carny. I've also noticed that Yeti does some pretty intense weight training on his legs. Just more fuel for the legend that Yeti is a runner.

But this all brings us back to the initial problem that in order to be a runner you must run. You can't have symptoms without first having a disease (right, Laminator?). And I haven't seen Yeti run.

I've seen him on the elliptical and the bike at the gym, but never the treadmill. I have run around this neighborhood at least once a week for the past year and have never spotted him. His shoes are always clean. And because of Yeti's endless supply of spandex, he doesn't wear race t-shirts.

Now, in the name of fairness, I have to say that I have had some reported Yeti sightings of my own, but nothing has conclusively proven to me that he is a runner.

Reported Yeti sighting #1: during the Healthy Kidney 10K, as I was cresting over Harlem Hill (Mile 2) I saw someone bent over stretching a leg muscle. As I approached the figure in the bright morning light I could tell the person's clothes would surely be in Yeti's closet--and the person's physique seemed very similar to Yeti's. However, in a second I was past him and didn't get to see his face. There were 8,000 runners out there that day, it really could have been anyone.

Reported Yeti sighting #2: as I was sitting on the subway on Sunday morning waiting to head out for my long run I saw what I could have sworn was Yeti. He passed the car I was in, but I think he was wearing running clothes and headphones. But of course, I wasn't sure it was him, and even if it was, I don't have anyway to prove that he was going running, even though typically the only reason anyone would be on the subway at 8:30am on a Sunday in running clothes is because they are going to go running.

Reported Yeti sighting #3: this morning I was doing 5 x 1000m at the track instead of the gym. I rarely go out to the track on Tuesdays, but I want to acclimate to the warmer weather as quickly as possible, given that Fairfield is just 2.5 weeks away. As I rounded the turn during a recovery lap, I saw a tall, muscular, very lean runner running away from the track. From a distance, it looked like it could have been Yeti, but I was too far to tell. And this runner had on some non-spandex shorts, obviously it couldn't be him.

One day I hope to have proof that Yeti exists--I mean runs. Although I have no real reason to want to see him run, because I guess techinically at that point he will stop being a Gym Carny and start being a normal person. And where's the fun in that?

11 comments:

Laura said...

Sneak a picture for us! I want to try my hand at Yeti-spotting :)

Marcy said...

Dude! A male in spandex at the gym?!? *Cringe* I don't know homie, you'll have to investigate further LOL

chia said...

Most men in spandex should be exiled to the outer woodland regions and only sighted by those crazy women that are convinced they were sexually manhandled by alien creatures.

Great carnie :-) I love these tales.

Nitmos said...

I once spotted an oversized foot print in the mud at one of my races. It HAD to have come from a Yeti. But, I never saw who made it. Did someone with a giant cut out pice of wood strapped to their foot make it...or was it actually a Yeti??

J said...

Histerical! Post a picture and we may have Yeti sightings all over the world!

Jess said...

Yetis are notoriously hard to capture in their native habitat. Proceed with cation.

RazZDoodle said...

Very intriguing. What's more intriguing is that you know where his neighborhood is and that you run by and take mental notes.

Kevin said...

Good luck hunting the elusive yeti. You may just catch him one of these days

nwgdc said...

Wow, to have three close encounters with a Yeti...

Your description is so accurate I can see him in my mind...the pale and worn shirt...the spandex...oh--never mind. Just my father-in-law getting ready to go on a bike ride.

The Laminator said...

Dude...your fascination with Yeti-hunting borders on being an obsession. Having said that...I agree with everyone else, we need some visual evidence...

Nitmos said...

I have tagged you. Get to work.