Sunday, August 8, 2010

Running and Romance: Part I

Scarlett (who's own brilliant blog can be found @ convinced me over coffee today that I didn't just have to write about running (even though the origin of this blog was intended solely to keep me accountable in my training program, mostly to myself, but yes to the entire universe as well I guess). "Write about whatever you want," she said. "Including dating?" I asked. "Sure, why not," she replied.

It is true that running and dating are the two things that take up most of my free time, besides hanging out with my friends and watching an unhealthy amount of reality tv. "But what does dating have to do with running?" I wondered.

Now the similarities between training to run a marathon and finding true love, or simply dating in general, whatever your ultimate goal may be, might not seem obvious. But in reality, they have a lot in common. For example, they both require commitment and dedication. A commitment of time and energy, physical, mental and emotional, to go on training run after training run or date after date-- to have a bad run or a bad date-- yet take it in stride and go out on the next date or the next run as soon as possible.

Running and dating also both require patience for sure. Patience with oneself. Patience with others. Patience to wait for the desired end result. The knowledge that physical fitness doesn't come over night. In my case, it took me the last six weeks to have a run where I didn't struggle once. It took six weeks to get to the 7 mile run I ran today where I finally felt unstoppable and just flew faster and faster down the streets. It took almost as many weeks before I could run 3 miles without having to stop to walk and rest. Comparably, it takes patience, when dating, to know that it might take kissing a few frogs and going out on a few bad dates (where the guy tries to impress you by drinking eight Guinesses OR doesn't pay OR shows up late OR ends up being 7 years older than he says he was). More literally, it takes patience, to get through a date, when the conversation doesn't flow freely, or when waiting for a man to call you, or when you can't wait to go out with someone but its three days from now and let's face it you actually have to work for a living and fill your time some other way than thinking about it. It takes the patience to wait for Prince Charming. Or at least Prince "Not-A-Fuckface." And, "He" is out there. And nice guys worth spending time with in the meantime can be found too. But sometimes they are in more demand than others. And you just gotta wait out the current dry spell until it's raining men again.

Running and dating equally require a sense of humor, if only to maintain one's sanity. Okay, so maybe I do look a little like a "dorky bumble bee" as my mom lovingly (we hope) says about the way I look when I where my black running shorts, white tank top and a running belt with four neon yellow water bottles strapped around my waste. But I can't spend time worrying about how I look to people walking by me or in their cars when I run in the public domain. I'd never run. Really I wouldn't. I'm sure I look just a little bit chubby and maybe my shorts are riding up and I know my hair is always amiss, but it's the running that's important, not how I look doing it. And it has to get done. There's no time to feel stupid or ugly or like a dorky bumble bee. I just have to laugh off my short comings. The same goes for dating. I doubt the need for humor in single society really needs an explanation to any one out there who has ever been on a bad date or had a dating debacle. How else do you get through moments where you had lipstick on your teeth or tripped on your way-too-high high heels and fell on your face and scraped your knee while out and about with a new beau? (And yes the latter did in fact happen to me while on a first date not too long ago).

Running and dating also both require financial investments (hello appropriate attire!), confidence (yes you can run 10 miles/yes you can go on a blind date with a perfect stranger) and self-awareness. How far can I push myself today? How does my ankle feel? Am I drinking enough water? Am I the type of person that can run in the morning or not? Can I run on an empty stomach? Can I run hungover? Am I attracted to short men? Can I date a much younger man? A much older man? Can I date someone who doesn't have a good relationship with their family?

There are many more parallels between running and dating, but the last one I'll mention is faith. Both running and dating require a whole heck of a lot of faith. Faith that good things really do come to those that wait. Faith that hard work pays off. Faith that our dreams and goals are attainable. Faith that I can in fact run 26 miles and 385 yards. Faith that "Not-a-Fuckface" is out there. Faith that all of this running and dating is worthwhile; that it is worthwhile because they both improve your quality of life on this planet, your enjoyment of your life on this planet and help you to be a better person than you were the day before. Faith that a more complete, confident, self-aware, strong, happy, satisfied, accomplished version of yourself is evolving every time you lace up your sneakers and fight your own demons or put on your peep-toes and see yourself reflected in the probing new eyes of another.

I really hope I can run a marathon and I really hope I find a "Not-a-Fuckface" sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I'll hit the roads and hit the bars and try to be committed and try to be patient and most importantly, try to have a whole heck of a lot of faith in myself.


Frankly, Scarlett said...

Brilliant, dahling :) Love the connection! And um - you looking like a running bumble bee...definitely need pictures!

Vittoria said...

is it a problem that i'm a sprinter??

Toddy said...

Vittoria, not a problem at all. As long as you cross the finish line before the men do. *wink*.

Anonymous said...

interestingly, my husband and i met running. specifically, we were training for Marine Corps Marathon in the same club in 2003.
so naturally, running and dating are fatefully intertwined not only on your blog, but also in real life :)

follow our foster:

Toddy said...

Loveandaleash- cute story! love hearing how happily ever couples got together. Thanks for sharing, for reading AND for commenting. Cheers, T.