It's pretend summer in Colorado! You know, that time of year (read: every single month) when it gets up to 80-plus degrees for a few days, long enough to make you forget that it's probably going to still snow-out your cousin's wedding in June? Last week, when we experienced one of those first gorgeous fake-out weather patterns, I took the opportunity to do my exercise outside and walked around Washington Park (er, Wash Park to the yokels).
But the real charm of Wash Park isn't its many tennis courts, gardens and picnic areas, or its rec center with that nice indoor pool, or even its multi-path option for park athletes of all levels: It's the people-watching.
The park is full of people all day, any time of day, many of them doing stuff you'd never dream of doing (ever seen a dude on roller blades with ski poles? You will at Wash Park). And after my most recent trip around the park, I decided to outline some of the types of fitness freaks you might catch there. Here are just a few categories of Wash Parkers I came up with (and, for the record, I've used pictures from the Internet to illustrate some types, the better to protect all of Denver's public rollerblade offenders):Extreme Fitness Guy/Gal
He's serious about fitness. Like, serious. Even in the park, when everyone else (read: me) is pretending to be working hard but really just socializing, she is there to train for the next Tough Mudder/Spartan Race/Warrior Dash, etc. He's running so hard, riding so hard, even rollerblading his ass off. She isJust Doing It
, dude. He may even be the guy using ski poles with his rollerblades, so as not to miss a training beat when ski season is long over. If anything, this person is good inspiration for us slower sorts: Life is short, so they play hard (but fair, making room for the rest of us wobbling around the path), unlike thoseassholes in spandex on the Cherry Creek bike trail
. (Note: Extreme Fitness Guy/Gal may also fall into the following category.)
Almost-Naked Man/Woman Akin to the Extreme Fitnessers, this park type also works hard, but doesn't like to wear clothes. I don't think they're acting out some exhibitionist fantasy -- it seems more that they genuinely don't see the need for fitness apparel. It just gets in the way of their ripped bodies being able to live!
Almost-Naked Man typically does wear a pair of tiny shorts, an iPod, perfect beads of sweat on his eight-pack abs and a pair of sunglasses that make him look as though he's going no less than 500 miles an hour. Almost-Naked Woman will wear the same, just adding an extremely sports-enhanced-looking jog bra, for legal purposes.
Larry David on Rollerblades Sometimes he looks happy, sometimes he's looks as though his beloved Pomeranian, Skittles, has just passed away. Regardless, Larry David on Rollerblades is huffing and puffing and wading upstream through the invisible waters of the bike trail on rollerblades or riding his ancient-but-now-hip-again Peugeot bicycle with everything he's got. LDOR might also have a bright-yellow Sony Walkman strapped to his belt next to his cell-phone holster on his dad jeans. If your viewing eyes are extremely lucky, you might spy LDOR carrying a boombox seemingly transported from another time (or taken off of the work bench in his garage) that shares his "tunes" (his word, not mine) with everyone who comes within five feet of his health-club routine. Note: He may also resemble George Carlin, Neil Diamond or Hank Hill in real life. Crazy Stroller-Jogging Dad/Mom These park people are not crazy in a bad way. They are just trying so damn hard to keep their insane schedules together that they've invested in giant strollers that (hopefully unintentionally) are made to mow down any small dog or child that gets in the way. Crazy Stroller-Jogging Moms/Dads don't mean to hurt anyone, but they are trying to just "get in the zone" during the thirty minutes of exercise insanity they've carved out for themselves, okay?
But for your true people-watching pleasure, CSJ D/Ms come with kids in strollers who for some reason have mannerisms that make them resemble tiny adults. These kids have priceless facial expressions ranging from apathetic and unaffected (reclining, one leg hanging out, looking pissed to be alive even though they've only been on this planet for eighteen months) to the hyper and toothlessly meth-like (drooling, Cheerio beard-wearing and screaming for no reason).
Whatever the kid's deal is, it's pure entertainment for you, because CSJ D/Ms don't stop for anything. They just keep running, pushing fifty pounds of rubber and metal. And ten pounds of child. And if you're lucky, they have two Great Danes with leashes strapped to the handle of their crazy stroller, too.
Wandering Talker Wandering Talkers come in pairs or gaggles of women (men don't fall into this category because for some reason, they would rather ride next to each other on bicycles when chatting). They take up a good portion of the walking path in their fancy yoga clothes and running shoes, but never seem to do either activity while at the park. They talk and talk and talk about their friend (who must not be anyone in the group) because she "can't even say 'I love you' to her dog, so why would she say it to her boyfriend?" Or they blab about a co-worker who "doesn't understand the meaning of the words 'too much information'" with regard to her inability to digest yogurt.
WTs talk and weave around the path aimlessly, fists clenched, arms raised and parallel to the ground, doing that side-swinging motion that someone, somewhere, in the '80s decided meant "working out while walking." (This method of "fitness" may be thrown off by a Chihuahua named 'Petey' that keeps "oh, my gosh, like, distracting everyone!" with his cuteness.)
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They drop phrases like "bad communicator," "He said it to me over brunch" and "She's totally just projecting" every five seconds, as if they aren't even talking to each other. WTs are the least fun to watch and often the most annoying, because these women take up the majority of the path, and no topic is off limits. Not even their little sister's ex-boyfriend's mom's "weight problem."
(Note: I am this type.)