Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How My Love of Running Found Me My Running Love.

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A couple of weekends ago friends of mine got engaged at Ironman Germany.  They met through mutual friends who were also triathletes.  In a sense, their love of a sport brought them together.  If neither one of them were into triathlons, would they ever have met?  Probably not.  Of course this got me thinking back to how I met Gary (aka "G").

I first met Gary in 2001 when I was training for my first marathon.  We were in the same Running Room clinic at the High Park Running Room.   I thought he was quite cute but he didn't give me the time of day.  We ran together once and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't engage him in a conversation.  So I made up my mind that he was a bit of a jerk.  Our training program ended and we both went off to run our respective marathons.  He ran the Ottawa marathon and I ran the Vancouver marathon.   There was a small group of folks (about 5-6 of us) that actually kept in touch after the clinic ended.  Towards the end of the summer we all decided to start running together again in High Park.  The goal was to do some hill training. One of the guys, Greg, was the instigator of this idea.   I think he showed up once.  Gary and I were the only regulars.   That first week it was just Gary and I and I remember thinking, "Oh great, this is going to be like pulling teeth."   But surprisingly that first run together went really well.  Gary had just signed up for his first Ironman and I remember telling him I thought he was completely nuts.  The conversation flowed fairly easily and at the end of the run we made plans to meet again the following week, regardless of who else was going to show up.   This went on for a couple of months.  Sometimes it would just be us, sometimes there would be other people.  But more often then not, it would just be us.  My opinion of Gary changed dramatically in those weeks.  I found him to be quite chatty and engaging, which just made him even more attractive.
November rolled around and the running became a bit more sporadic but I still kept in touch with the group.   I had decided to have a pre-holiday party in late November and I invited all of the running folks I still kept in touch with.  The majority of them showed up, including Gary.   This was the first time he had ever seen me in "normal clothes" instead of my baseball cap and sweaty running clothes.  I'll never forget his reaction.  He said "Wow, you have a lot of hair".  I'm not quite sure how he didn't notice the huge bushy ponytail that hung down my back.   Especially since he was usually running behind me back in those days.   But I digress. That night,  I tried to be the a sociable host but I ended up spending a large part of my evening chatting with Gary.   We talked about everything and laughed a lot.    That night sealed the deal for me.  I was smitten.  But I had no idea how he felt about me.  He's definitely one that plays his cards close to his chest.  I think most women generally have an idea when a guy is interested in them.  I had absolutely no clue.  Until I got the invite to his birthday party in December.  When I showed up to the Madison that night, his face lit up like a Christmas tree.  He told me he was really happy I made it out.  Apparently he had mentioned me to his friends as well as they were all sizing me up.   I think the fact that he had had a few beverages by the time I got there helped loosen him up.  By the end of the evening I had given him my phone number and told him to call me if he wanted to go for a run.  I didn't hear from him for a few days so I followed up with an email to make sure he survived the evening and wasn't too hung over.   He did and we made plans to go for a run on New Year's Eve day.  We went for a great run that day and he finally suggested that we go and see a movie in the new year.  So on January 5th, 2002, we went on our very first date. We've been training partners ever since.

We've trained for and participated in numerous races together.  I watched him do his first Ironman, he paced me to my first Boston Qualifier and in 2006 we tackled Ironman together.   Our love of a sport and the enjoyment of leading a healthy lifestyle brought us together and it has been a constant in our relationship.  I firmly believe that the couple that plays together, stays together.  I'm looking forward to crossing many more finishing lines with my Running Love.

Happy Ironman Finishers in 2006

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