Friday, February 18, 2005

Fitness Freaks

For the second morning in a row, I was awakened by a pre-dawn phone call from a person thinking that I'd be awake because I'd "still be on New York time." Yesterday, it was my boss. He called at 5:45 a.m. and said, "Well, it's 8:45 'your time', so I thought you'd be up and raring to go." My first thought was that I'm never "raring to go" at 8:45 a.m. even when I'm in NY. I said, "If that's the way we're thinking, don't be surprised if you come to my office at 8:00 p.m.'my time' to find me sitting at my desk in my underwear eating microwave Spaghetti O's since that's what I'd be doing at that time in NY."

This morning, I was awakened at 6:03 a.m. I remember that because when the phone rang, I said "Who the f*** is calling me at 6:03?" See? That's just a little trick I do to help with my memory. Today, it was a friend calling to wake me up so that I wouldn't miss the sunrise. I patiently explained that I'm on the west coast, and that the sun rises in the east, so it's the sunset that I'll want to see, not the sunrise. Since I was up anyway, I decided to go for a jog.

Now I'm not the brightest person in the world when it comes to directions (actually, I could say that about most things). I'll go out for a jog, see a familiar sight, and head for it like a homing pigeon. This morning was no exception. I started jogging towards a Starbucks that I thought was in the general direction I wanted to go. About a mile later, I realized that it was the wrong Starbucks and that I was going the opposite direction from where I wanted to be. Who knew that there would be more than one Starbucks in SF? Amazing.

Eventually, I made my way down to the Embarcadero (or the Embarco as some people call it....okay, just one person calls it that), and began to run towards Fisherman's Warf. Along the way, I noticed that everybody in SF seems to be a friggin' triathlete. They're so fit, trim, and healthy looking that it's sickening. More to the point, they look thrilled to be out exercising in the pre-dawn hours. This is markedly different from NY in that a workout there often consists of walking up the escalator rather than riding it up. To put it a different way, I'd estimate that I'm just below average in terms of being in shape, but these people make me look like Star Jones after an eating binge.

As I ran along, I had visions of getting mugged by a fitness gang. They'd jog up next to me wearing black lycra bodysuits and steal my wallet. I'd chase them, but they'd tease me by running just fast enough that I couldn't catch them. Eventually, I'd pass out, at which point they'd take my watch and anything else of value from me and leave me laying naked on the sidewalk where my body fat (among other things) would be pointed at and mocked by the people jogging by.

Now I do run a few times each week in NY, but the ground is relatively level there. Here, the hills take a lot out of you and as I got closer to my finish line, my legs were slowly turning to rubber. At one point I looked to my left and saw a series of grassy knolls and found myself hoping that a gunman would emerge and put my out of my misery.

Finally, I got to Fisherman's Warf, and I stopped to catch my breath. I was feeling pretty pathetic and out of shape, when I saw a guy run up and appear to collapse on the grass. I thought to myself "Wow, he's got it worse than me. At least I remained upright." Then the guy did about 50 pushups before getting up and running again. I knew at that point that I should just pack it in for the day, so I started to walk back to the hotel.

Along the way, I saw a marker that was placed in the ground. It was a black and white striped pole and around the base, there were bronze plaques laid out reading "Once there were plenty, now there are none." For the rest of my journey back to the hotel, I thought about how nice it was of the city to erect a monument to my dating life.