At first glance, they seem like an odd couple. She is cute and perky, with a beautiful smile that jumps right out of the photos. My friend is thin and balding. He was always a little bit awkward and shy. Seeing the pictures from the wedding and honeymoon, he looks like a completely different person. Being with her actually makes him appear more attractive.
I may not have mentioned this before, but he is a marathon runner and also competes in triathlons. I am not sure if his wife runs, but she definitely attends and posts photos of all his races. They seem to be happy together.
A few years ago she got a new job and moved to Baltimore. Within a very short time, she met a new guy. By the pictures, he looked like the opposite of the Boy's roommate. This guy was skinny and bald, with kind of narrow features. And he was also a marathon runner.
She started to post pictures of his races and pretty soon she started running herself. She must have lost about 30 pounds in the past year. Her life has completely changed from when I knew her. Last weekend she posted a cute story about running her first half-marathon as a married woman, along with a photo of her and her husband. They looked really happy.
My philosophy on running is simple. I will only run if someone is chasing me. But seeing these women happily married to their marathon men, it makes me wonder if the universe is trying to tell me something.
I remember all the profiles I read when I was out searching on Match.com. If a guy mentioned that he was a marathon runner, I would immediately stop reading. Generally, I tend to put runners in the same category as the guys who say they "work hard and play hard." That approach to life has always seemed counter-intuitive to me. I don't really work that hard and I certainly don't want to play hard. It sounds exhausting.
But then I started thinking about what it takes to be a marathon runner. It takes persistence to build up the stamina needed to make it through the entire race. And it requires strength in times of adversity. And faith to know that when you are not feeling strong enough, a force greater than you will pull you through. I wonder if those same qualities would also make them a better life partner than the average non-running person.
This morning I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed and I saw a post from the Boy. The Boy has had a Facebook account for years, but he rarely posts anything. His page is mostly just a series of pictures that he is tagged in by other people. Yesterday he updated his relationship status to "In a Relationship."
The Boy and I dated for four years and neither of us ever felt compelled to update our relationship status on Facebook. At first I set aside the phone, but later that afternoon curiosity got the best of me. Who was this girl? Was she prettier than me? I started scrolling through his Facebook page, hoping to catch a glimpse of her.
As it turns out, the Boy's new girlfriend is a marathon runner. And she is definitely not prettier than me. She is the female equivalent of the skinny, bald marathon running guys. As I looked at the picture, I could see that she was lean and muscular, with a strong tomboy vibe. By the crinkles around her eyes I would say she was at least my age or older. She wore glasses and had mousy brown hair that seemed to indicate no prior experience with a blow dryer or curling iron. This girl was the complete opposite of me.
What was most revealing about the photos wasn't her appearance, but the Boy's. He looked relaxed and happy. Then I came across a recent post about her running the Free Press Marathon in Detroit. She thanked the Boy for waking up at the crack of dawn and standing outside in the freezing cold to cheer as she ran by. It was actually very sweet. This marathon girl seemed like a nice person. And the fact that she could get the Boy to drag his ass out of bed that early for any reason was impressive.
Maybe these marathon men (and women) do possess some sort of special power that makes them better at relationships. The act of training for and successfully running a marathon must provide a great deal of inspiration. And that positive energy must carry over into other aspects of their lives.
And maybe the reason people are attracted to these marathon runners is that it gives them a focus or purpose in life. Whether it is by participating, or just going along to cheer the other person on.
I am not sure whether a marathon man is out there for me, especially if it requires getting up at the crack of dawn to go watch a race. But I could definitely use a little inspiration in my life. I just hope to find someone who can go the distance.