Area Runner Furtively Checks Out Form in Window Reflection
STATEN ISLAND, NY—During an otherwise uneventful six-mile run, local runner Sean Johnson pulled off the delicate and ever-elusive feat of catching a surreptitious glimpse of his powerful, yet graceful, running stride as he effortlessly glided by an unsuspecting storefront.
The discreet ogle took place just after 3 p.m., as Johnson melodiously bounded past the Tanning Emporium on Forest Avenue, a spot known among understated narcissists for its inviting, well-tinted windows.
“Everything just came together,” said Johnson, 28. “The sky was clear, the sun was shining at the maximally reflective angle, and the path was clear of pedestrians. I knew it was my moment to take a slightly-lingering sideways glance.”
Yet the undetected gawk was anything by guaranteed. A well-executed window peek requires not only favorable conditions, but also months, if not years, of carefully-honed inconspicuous conceit.
“Anyone can do form drills, anyone can spend a few hours a night flexing shirtless in a mirror,” Johnson explained. “The question is, can you do those things simultaneously? A lateral gander at full-speed—that’s not easy.”
Elements of good window-gazing form are well-known: erect posture, slightly flexed biceps, exaggerated butt-kick, barely perceptible midfoot strike—all of which must be artfully maintained amidst a rapid head swivel.
Adding to the pressure is the temporal element. A typical storefront extends, at most, a few strides, leaving aspiring self-beholders precious little time to bask in their reticent vanity.
It’s a five-second window, literally.
“You need to be on your game,” continued Johnson. “I mean, I’m relying on that single glimpse to give me a preposterously inflated impression of how good my running form actually is. In today’s ego-obsessed social media world, there’s just no place for a lack of unjustified overconfidence”
And that’s not to mention the occupational hazards—everything from uneven sidewalks, to renegade dog poo and even suddenly-materializing lampposts.
Despite these obstacles, Johnson took the risk. And it paid off, big-time.
“Pure poetry,” said Johnson, describing the spectacle that gleamed back at him. “I was like a gliding gazelle, only with more sculpted calves.”
Of course, the key to modest preening is to go unnoticed. Even a single bystander can cause the whole enterprise to unravel in a spiral of self-aggrandized shame.
“Middle of the afternoon—perfect,” boasted Johnson. “Streets were clear, everyone was busy, doing stuff indoors…,” his voice trailing off in the sudden realization he had failed to account for the possibility that there were people on the other side of the tinted glass.
“Uh-oh,” was all he could muster, his face turning the shade of scarlet typically reserved for trying-too-hard racing flats or Japanese cartoons.
Noted running posture expert David Rudisha was unavailable for comment on this story.
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Editor’s note: Just wanted to take a quick moment to welcome aboard Mike Cassidy as a contributor to our site. Mike will be a regular in our humor section with some nonfiction-style humor in the style of Dave Barry. Mike may also use this space as a place to share some of his ideas on a run, or lessons from training and perspective/opinion on a current event. Mike trains at a pretty high level as a member of the New York Athletic Club and was an 2012 Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon. Welcome, Mike!