Eric Rutin has a GI Jeff!
December 12, 2011
Most boys growing up in my generation had a GI Joe that they played with, imagining this warrior hero was helping good triumph evil. GI Joe was about a foot tall action figure that was a grizzled solider that was up for any task you assigned him. He also took a lot of abuse: having many parachuting accidents, surviving multiple encounters with Michigan approved fireworks, and being driven over by almost every vehicle within 6 houses of mine. He was a tough dude.
Well I am now 44 and haven’t played with a GI Joe for well over a quarter century, but I have a new companion I call GI Jeff.
GI Jeff doesn’t have as many cool gadgets, though he does always seem to be armed with GPS and a heart rate monitor. GI Jeff is my running buddy that I have logged 1000’s of miles with by now. He was also Running with Rage’s first follower. This GI has not spent any time in the military, nor does his GI stand for Government Issued (which really isn’t all that tough if you think about it) but rather his stands for GastroIntestinal.
Because of his frequent need to use bathrooms even on the shortest of runs, Jeff has earned the moniker GI Jeff from the Running with Ragers. I think it was Lorianne that came up with the name and it has stuck. Well last Sunday Jeff and I got together for a 12 mile run on the canal as I continue to train for PF Changs Rock and Roll Marathon. We decided to meet at 7:30 and it was FREEZING! I might as well have stayed in Knoxville as the mercury was a mere 29. I know all my cold weather friends say I am a wimp, and well I just might be, but 29 is cold. I arrived at Granada Park and Jeff soon drove by and parked, quickly exiting his truck for his usual pre-race pit stop. I have become accustomed to this and I have to say, and usually it is no big deal since we all know it is going to happen. Especially since he is fast. I started to get ready and knowing that Phoenix warms up, I took off my running pants and shed my jacket, deciding to run in on;y shorts and a long sleeve shirt. Within an hour my core temperature would rise as well as the temp around me, so as long as I was moving, it would be fine. I got out of my car and waited for Jeff to reappear, shivering and teeth clattering.
Usually no probably, as I said, typically he is fast. Well this time he wasn’t and I stood there stoically freezing. Finally he emerged and off we went. It was so cold that my skin actually hurt on my legs. Brrr! Well we hit the gas station at mile 3 and of course, Jeff made his usual pit stop. By now it had warmed up somewhat so I wasn’t freezing, however being old, I know have aches and pains, especially when running in the cold. So as I waited for him, my knee was throbbing in pain, a wonderful new condition I have developed in my advanced years when it is cold out and I am standing idle.
We were back on the path running, discussing all the things we usually do: holiday shopping, kids, jobs, the usual. At mile 6 we turned around and started our return. Then the conversation turned to his impending need for a bathroom again. Now three times on a 12 mile run is a lot, even for GI Jeff. The bathroom was three miles away.
A mile and half later it was pretty clear he wasn’t going to make it back to the gas station so he started looking for discrete places. He was mocked again and again with what appeared to be alleys only to discover there were just recesses in people’s block walls. Finally he found a clump of oleander. Yes, this was his best alternative and he disappeared into the dense shrubbery. While this is all fine and dandy for privacy, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was wishing he found vegetation with broader leafs.
Fortunately it warmed up now and my aches were gone. Now I just wanted to finish to go get a bagel. He soon reappeared and I didn’t want any details and off we went, resuming our usual conversation. We finished our run without any additional incidents. Carolyn met us for our final 2 miles and we all went off to get our bagels. I had a nice plain bagel toasted with plain cream cheese.
Jeff had some bizarre bagel that wasn’t round nor had a hole, two prerequisites I thought needed to be considered a bagel, and it was slathered with some schmeer that looked more like regurgitation to me. I thought to myself, no wonder.