I run. I lift weights. I watch what I eat. I stay fit. The typical gay man you say? Well yes. But it’s insecurity, not vanity that fuels my runs, propels my body forward, reminds me not to order the one with extra cheese (God I love cheese). Who am I kidding? Insecurity is vanity’s socially acceptable sister.

Everyone knows being able to say you’re still at college weight is not just great, it’s fantastic. So go ahead and play with your roll, your double chin, your Egg McMuffin. I’ll keep running my ass off, literally.

But if you live in Hong Kong, where to run? You can forget sidewalks or streets. A mass of people or a speeding bus will plow you down and fast. You won’t know what hit you. On Monday evenings, I run with a friend at either the Happy Valley racetrack or up on Bowen Road.

The Happy Valley racetrack lies within the main horse racecourse. It’s an enormous, flat, expanse of land in the middle of Hong Kong. The track is wide, the views are stellar and you’re able to run at your own pace without any frowning locals shaking their heads. But the track is a track, and going around in one big circle for several rotations is not the most inspirational of runs. That and the air in Happy Valley can get quite muggy even on relatively breezy days.

Bowen Road is high above the bustle of the city. Spectacular vistas of Hong Kong alternate with leafy canopies. City, nature, sun, shade, Bowen hugs the hills but is not hilly, making it an easy run. The trouble is getting up there. There is a set of steps near my apartment building but it’s a fairly steep climb. My guess is about 33 stories up. And while the “road” itself is not an actual road, you do get an occasional car, which is bad given that the passage is narrow. And a narrow road means you have to watch for pedestrians, puppies and poop. Try to pass a criss-crossing, slow-moving elderly man with a marathon runner hot on your tail. It ain’t pretty.

What’s a runner to do? Why hit the gym! And while my apartment building’s gym is small, it’s efficient. And it’s right there. You’d have to be one slothy mofo to make an excuse when the gym is right in your building. Still, depending on what time you go, you could either have the place to yourself or be met by a gaggle of neighbors sporting the latest in spandex, gym shoes and leotards.

I don’t mind working out with someone who knows what they’re doing, but if someone is a novice or just doesn’t care to learn, then I have to remind myself that I live with these people and throwing a tantrum isn’t going to make life any easier for me. And so I grin and bear it.

The old man who drops his weights after every lift. Grin.

The guy who does each rep at lightening speed without any regard to his or anyone else’s health and safety. Bear it.

The woman who pretends the gym is hers and hers alone. Grin.

The fact that with only two treadmills, an energizing visit to the gym can turn into bloodsport. Bear it.

That chubby, little white teenager bouncing up and down haphazardly, his man boobs flailing about wildly…Grin. Grin and try desperately not to laugh. Pobrecito. I wish I could help him.

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