Dating Life of the Long Distance Runner

[pulled from my archives of February 2010]

The dating scene for a distance runner presents some real challenges. Not only does one first have to expend extra energy finding someone to go out with, but then one must find the disposable cash not spent on running shoes or race entries in order to show a lady (in my case) a good time. But the single most daunting challenge is when she asks, be it on the phone or in person, that most ostensibly basic of questions: what do you do for fun, or when you’re not at work?

Well…hmmm…okay: I jump out of bed at 4:16 a.m., sometimes 3:52, and head out to run 10-12 miles on black ice in the dead of winter. Then I go to work, as invigorated as anyone could possibly be.

I love flying through tempo work on Pelham Bay’s track in early morning darkness—or even the dark of a Friday evening—in zero degree wind chill. My fingers may numb through my gloves and my face may freeze, but I promise you that you’ll never feel more alive.

On Sunday mornings I enjoy meeting up with friends to run across all the major bridges in upper Manhattan and the Bronx. Or, to charge the snowy hills of Rockefeller Park (hopefully not destroying my ankles in the process)—landing at the frozen Hudson’s edge in a stunning view akin to Alaska.

While most people are eating dinner with loved ones on a Friday or Saturday, or even Valentine’s Day, I most enjoy putting in a long, hard run during marathon training. On Wednesdays when sane people are eating dinner after work, I’m out running 15 miles.

As people travel from place to place within the confines of automobiles, I am free. Feelings of kinship form between myself and the hawks, geese, wild turkeys, snakes, and occasional deer and coyote I find in open spaces of the Bronx.

I drop to my knees periodically in the fallen snow and look to the sky, overcome with thanks for the blessings of health and the inspiration to run.

I could give my lady friend those answers but more often than not I reply: I like to read and travel. Perhaps it’s time to test out the other answers.

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