Yesterday, I met a fellow parent at Drew’s football weigh in. We started talking about running, compared a few results and realized that we were a good match as partners and hastily made plans to run together this morning.
Yes, writing this feels somewhat of a challenge to my sexual orientation.
As with any first date, there was a little trepidation on my end heading in. I don’t like to talk about it but back in the day, I did a lot of dating, some might say a pathological amount, and much of it did not burnish my image as a “great guy”. I was shallow, eager to fulfill my needs and unbelievably intolerant. I ended dates because people talked too much, wore bad clothes, said “like” every sentence and sometimes simply looked much better in a barroom at 2am then in the harsh light of day. The bottomline was I usually entered with big expectations and no capacity for fulfilling them.
With running partners, I am getting better than I was as a dater. But still, I worry if someone will show up on time, be able to hold the pace, not act like a pussy if the dogs run close to him. I want to share the trails in Wompatuck with other people, I just don’t want them to get me too far out of my comfort zone. That is, my natural inclination is to protect my comfort zone, I’m actively trying to increase the size of that area.
So, I met my new “friend” promptly at 7, we took off up the trail and immediately I knew I had a “keeper” by my side. He charged up the first hill (I found out yesterday he’d grown up in North Conway, NH) and we basically settled into a groove that lasted our whole twelve mile loop. We talked youth football, racing, training and the wonders of Manhattan in the fall.
By the time we made it back to the cars, we were making plans for our next “date”. I’d gotten in a decent workout and had actually connected with someone from my town (not something that happens much). Most importantly to me, I’d introduced him to some new trails. I love Wompatuck State Park and over the thousands of miles I’ve run in there, I’ve always been a little bummed that I’ve seen so few people. Getting to spread a little knowledge of one of my favorite places felt good. Passing it on is what it’s all about.