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Friday, March 11, 2011

Red Bandana: What Kind of Runner Are You?

Read the current Red Bandana: Charlie Sheen-free Running (With Excuses)

A number of readers e-mailed me explaining their views on running. What kind of runner are you? Just for fun, I thought about a few exaggerated kinds of runners. I would love hear which kinds I have missed.

The Soloist
This runner quietly runs long and far. He is off on a run, but not with anyone. Other runners know him and, although he is friendly, find him mysterious and give him distance. His gear is likely minimalist, just enough to get from A-Z (Arlington Heights to Zion?). He loves his paperback, dog-eared copy of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," but he would never tell you.

The Stylist
The runner is dressed to the nines in perfectly matched running gear. Color-coordinated. Hair is colored, blown dry with strategically sprayed "I'm working out" hairspray. Make-up, though not much (she is running, after all). Everything around her is from this year's fashion line, and is dry cleaned after every run. Runners at the gym choke on her perfume. More likely to read "Cosmopolitan" than "Runner's World." When she heads to the gym, she watches with intensity, "America's Next Top Model."

The Gearist
It is only a three-mile run, but he has a utility belt full of energy gels, water bottles, and a first aid kit. He concedes he will not need most of it, but still, carries an extra bottle of Gatorade in his right hand and a granola bar in his left. His job might not involve a shoe store, but he is in there weekly, looking at new gear. Every dime goes to shoes, specialty socks and running magazines. Whenever not running, he watches reruns of MacGyver. The soloist silently laughs at him.

The Clubbist
As a complete team player, this runner's entire life is running and where he singularly draws his sense of identity. A short run in the morning, possibly at the gym (just to say hi), and a longer run in the evening with his neighborhood club. Friends, even that extra special person, are from the club, and nowhere else. "Live to run, run to live" is his mantra, and that's what he does. Races on the weekend, and fun runs mid-week. Conversations with non-runners are littered with the sport's vocabulary. For him, a good read is "Daniels' Running Formula" by Jack Daniels. If this runner has an injury, he will still attend club runs cheering on the others.

The Plannist
Never actually running, but always planning. He is ready to go, but nothing ever works out. He has good shoes, proper shorts and shirt, but they do not get used. They are in a gym bag, with a towel, by the door. Instead, he tends to reading about running, spending time on discussion boards. Every New Year's Day, he does run a few miles, but, before February hits, things get in the way. Those things include watching Rich Koz host Stoog-apalooza on ME-TV on Saturday nights (Curly-Joe DeRita is his favorite). His favorite book is actually a magazine, "TV Guide Magazine," but he reads it as if it were Scripture.

The Consumist
He is part-clubbist, part-soloist (with a little stylist thrown in), but he is all running. He is consumed by speed and PRs. He's sleek, fast, and has the cool sunglasses to prove it. Occasionally shows up at club meetings and is treated like a celebrity, but mostly, trains with alone. Every weekend, he races, but sometimes doesn't pay. He might win the race, but slips away unnoticed into a cool sports car. On the passenger seat, when his trophy girlfriend isn't there, you might notice his Amazon Kindle. He's reading "Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything" by Joshua Foer.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
"Leader Of The Pack" by the Shangri-Las

You know the song. She loves him, but he is a bad boy. Her dad, older and wiser, tells her to break it off. Her boyfriend, that legendary leader of the pack, drives off furiously and crashes. Passionate from start to finish by this street-hardened girl group from the 1960s. Great to sing and run to, especially when you run in a group.

I met him at the candy store
He turned around and smiled at me
You get the picture? (yes, we see)
That's when I fell for (the leader of the pack)

Writer Anthony Trendl is rarely a stylist, too often a plannist, and understands the soloist. Contact me to send your favorite tips, songs, recipes, or to tell me about your road race. See
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