Each year, those who are no longer able to maintain the daily workouts are able to revisit the compet-itive element they once shared.Unfortunately, having an athlete for a boyfriend or girlfriend and not being one can cause the non-athlete to wonder if the athlete would prefer to date one of their own kind.When they get together, they reminisce about workouts and race times. He did a his senior year in Florida." Another pipes up like an old man remembering the glories of his youth, "Yeah, but I killed him by four seconds at the state meet."The conversation goes on while I enter into a daydream, wondering if I could even run a 12-minute mile.I think maybe if the antique store was about to close...As I finally disintegrated into my car seat after a sopping hug and high-five, I wondered: Is this what dating an ultrarunner looks like? In fact, I’m used to wearing the running shorts in the relationship.
When I am in an area where our paths may cross, I keep a watchful eye out for him.” he said, glancing first at his GPS watch and then sidelong to gauge my salt-encrusted expression.“It’s just another 15 minutes.” And that—plus a healthy dose of cajoling, a few miles of walking, and several bathroom breaks—is how I found myself dragging my feet across the trailhead parking spots with Brendan, his eyes glued to his watch, waiting for it to register the magic number 26.2.It would be a relationship with another who also thought daily about workouts, beating their current times and how to get rid of obstacles that might prevent them from missing a training session.I try to convince myself that my boyfriend wouldn't want a hard-bodied woman who could talk endlessly about her ability to run a mile under four minutes.High school cross-country and track were both sweet solace for me through awkward phases; in college, I found a similar refuge in trail running.In my twenties, I entered half marathons once in a while, but I’ve almost never run with a watch, and I rarely think about time or specific distances. He’s quick to say he doesn’t like running—he likes run.She wouldn't have the time to drag him to the latest art exhibits or eclectic improvisational comedy theatre. In my dreams, she would aspire to professional status and he would grow tired of the echoes of his own pursuits in someone so close. Dating an athlete lets me peer into a life of discipline and focus, one that I admire and am inspired by.Also, in the dream, I would have a firm, athletic body, developed through my dedication to antique store shopping. The value of focus and discipline takes on a meaning that is carried over into my hobbies.It is a slow progression, a type of crawl down the food chain. I sprint off while in his view, smiling and thinking, "If I just make it to the next building and turn the corner, I'll be out of sight.He works his way from banana to egg sandwiches, to any food his coworkers inadvertently leave unattended. For me, eating is a calculated event, a measurement of meals, a social occasion. Then I can go window shopping."He warms up at a pace matching my full-out sprint.