Running is Cheaper Than Therapy: “But you hate running?”

“You are not intellectually curious”. That was the Paternal Unit’s explanation of why he cheated on me with an ugly chic and destroyed our happy little family. Intellectually curious? I asked.  After all, I had earned my Master’s Degree before turning 25, but apparently that doesn’t count. “I want to be with somebody who is interested in watching shows about the Black Hole and going to museums…The ugly chic is more intellectually curious than you”. Seriously? Because when I walked in on the two of you in bed together, you certainly weren’t analyzing her brain…but whatever.

Bill Kelley Memorial RunAnd so began my new life of being a single mom. The mom part I loved. The single part, not so much. I hadn’t been truly single since I was 15. I had a boyfriend in high school which overlapped to my boyfriend in college, which later overlapped to the man I would later marry. I’m not proud of the “over-lappage”, but it is what it is. For the better part of 20 years, I had been in relationships. I am a relationship type a girl. I loved every day of my 11 year marriage (well except for that ONE awful day that changed everything) So when “every other weekend” would come around, I could be found running. If I wasn’t running I was busy being lonely. Really really lonely. Being truly lonely is awful. I wish it on no one.

Though the thought of ever giving my heart away again scared the bajeesus outta me, so did the idea of being alone. However, being single at 35 (with 2 kids) is a whole different ball game. Every person I knew was married. And everyone they knew was married, so there were no “set-ups” to be had. Nobody to go “bar-hopping” with on Saturday night. Not that I was even interested in that anyway. It seemed there was no way out of this single life hell. No way out except for… dare I say it? The Internet.

Putting yourself out there on a dating website is perhaps the scariest, lowest, most humiliating few moments you will ever have. Again, I wish it on no one. But I did it. And I ended up meeting some really nice people. And had some really nice conversations. And free dinners. I got myself my very own stalker! Complete with a felony charge. Lucky me! So I took myself OFF that dating website and decided to “go it alone”. I was so guarded and untrusting anyway. Would I ever be able to give my heart away again? I didn’t know the answer, but I knew I needed more time so I spent the next year just working, running, and spending time with my kids.

One afternoon when I had just returned home from a run, a motorcycle pulled in my driveway. I was slightly confused since I wasn’t expecting anybody. When he took off his helmet, I recognize D immediately and was totally mortified since I looked and surely smelled disgusting. Like really gross.

D was a guy I had met on that dating website the year before. We went out a couple times, but I hadn’t been in a place to entertain any sort of relationship. And he was a nice guy. We kept in occasional touch throughout the year when he’d send a witty text or post something funny on my Facebook. But we really hadn’t seen each other in over a year.

So there I stood, sweat pouring off my forehead, hair matted to my head, and wearing spandex pink running shorts that probably should never be worn in public. Kill me now I quickly apologized for my appearance and D says “No need to apologize, I like a girl who’s athletic and isn’t afraid to sweat”.

Huh?

“A girl that isn’t afraid to sweat is sexy”. No seriously, Huh? He liked this look? Weirdo.

So D had stopped by just to bring me some bread and oil from my favorite restaurant which is a good 40 minute drive from my house. “I was close to the restaurant and remembered how much you loved this bread so picked some up for you”. Really? He remembered that? And made a special trip just to bring it to me?? How sweet!

We talked in my driveway (as sweat continued to pour down my face) for a while and I decided to invite him in for dinner. Now I pride myself on being a good cook, but on this particular evening, I was not expecting company and apparently was overdue for a trip to the grocery store. As I stared at empty shelves in my fridge, I spotted some hot dogs. Perfect! I threw some dogs on the grill and went to defrost some buns, only to find out I had none. Dammit! I so wanted to do something nice for this guy since he went through all that trouble for me. So I searched… wraps! I had wraps! Excellent.

We dined on hot dog wraps, bread and oil. I sat there, still sweaty and gross and D thanked me for the delicious dinner. Was this guy for real? After dinner, he noticed there was a giant box in the middle of my living room floor and inquired about it. In the box was a coffee table I ordered that I had no idea how to assemble, so in the middle of my floor it had sat for a month. Without my even asking, he opened the box and had it assembled within an hour. My hero…

Over the course of the next few weeks, we continued to talk and spend a lot time together. He was kind, sweet and generous. I was definitely falling for him. It was July and I had the Bill Kelly Memorial Road Race coming up and decided to ask him if he wanted to come. Ok…I’ll admit it. I was becoming a pretty good runner and thought this might be an excellent opportunity to show off a little. You know…impress him a bit?

D readily accepted my invitation and came to the race. I so was nervous having a boy there watching me…but I loved the extra motivation it gave me to run hard. And run hard I did. I had been asked to be part of team sponsored by the gym I belonged to. My team ended up placing second, meaning I was presented with a big huge shiny medal! (ok…it wasn’t that big. Or that shiny. But it WAS cool) That ought to impress him, right?

Well my attempt to impress D came with a bonus I hadn’t expected. He was definitely impressed. (And once again complimented me on my gross sweaty self. He’s weird like that) The bonus though I never saw coming. D, a self proclaimed running hater, decided he wanted to try running a race with me. “But you hate running?” I questioned. “I do hate running, but I’d rather run with you, than just sit and watch you run alone. Running can be something we do together”.

And so began a brand new chapter of my life. Other than strapping on my cross trainers on that lonely Saturday afternoon for the very first time, no other event has had as much of an impact on my running and on my life. D and I were about to embark on an exciting and adventurous romance that would continue to change running for me (and for him!) forever.

About Josie RunnerGirl:

Josie is a mom of two. In between working full time and being a mom, she enjoys running, friends, beer and good food. Usually in that order.
She will be contributing to a series of blogs entitled “Running is Cheaper Than Therapy”.

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