Despite writing how disappointed I was to discover Beaut was a runner, he continued to nag me to run with him. [I’d like to remind y’all that I live in CANADA, where it is currently WINTER. It is COLD. There is SNOW. Winter is made for sipping hot chocolate spiked with Baileys next to a crackling fireplace, snuggling under covers and hibernation. I don’t ski, snowboard or skate: I don’t hang out with people who do that kind of stuff either BECAUSE THEY ARE CRAZY.] Beaut met my resistance with gentle encouragement: he, too, used to dislike running, but he grew to love it. All it took was a bit of patience (huh?) and perseverance (what?).
I told him. I warned him. I HATE running. Better people than him have tried to convince me. I WON’T DO IT. I DON’T CARE that I am a boxer, and that any self-respecting boxer runs ever since Hollywood and Rocky decreed that it must be so. I have conviction, y’all. I stay true to my core beliefs, and boy, do I believe, down to my soul, that running is the worst. THE WORST.
Then, a week went by where Beaut and I did not find a single moment where our schedules were compatible. Not. A. Single. Moment. Conflicting and opposing schedules. As we were concluding that we had zero opportunity to see each other that week, he mentioned he was heading out for a run, was I sure I wouldn’t join him? I was sure. Of course I was sure: it was -10C, and I was all toasty and warm in my pyjamas, indoors. SO sure. Except I was also curious about the logistics of winter running: what clothes does one wear? what shoes does one require? how does one not faceplant? All my questions were phrased in the neutral third-person. Not because I was intrigued, nope. He said we should really plan to go running together, that he was looking forward to it. Aww. Really? Awwww.
The next day I asked Kristen who’d tried and failed to convert me into a runner back in Summer 2014 to tell me everything I needed to know about winter running. Her response, “Winter running? Ew! Vanilla, who is this guy?! You hate running, remember??” Yes, of course I remember – I’ve spent 31 years avoiding running. I DON’T WANNA TALK ABOUT IT JUST TELL ME WHAT RUNNING SHOES TO BUY. I told Beaut about Kristen’s sassy remark and he asked me what I’d replied. I tried to dodge answering it, fearing it would indicate a bit too much about me and emotions and all that awkard stuff. He pressed. I confessed: I was smitten, and he was busy, and if the only time I could see him was while dying and freezing and running and hating my life, FINE, I’d take it, and he better realize all of this. And if he didn’t realize any of this, at least running would help me stay sexy. Then I wanted to crawl under a rock, because that was too much vulnerability. He laughed. Jackass.
On Saturday, I navigated the confusing, conflicting, overwhelming amount of information about layers, materials, wicking moisture, thermal insulation. I spent too much money, and properly decked myself out for winter running.
Yesterday, we went for a night-time run, Beaut and I. I was CRANKY. Possibly because I had just finished a 12-course traditional Ukrainian/Russian Christmas feast (my family celebrated 1 week late, to accommodate a travelling family member). My tummy was full, and round. Possibly because IT IS WINTER AND THIS IS STUPID. Possibly because I can think of many ways I’d prefer to spend my time at 10pm on a Sunday night. And possibly because right before heading outdoors, I referred back to my convo with Kristen, and Beaut didn’t remember it. When I stared at him in growing outrage, he sheepishly admitted he had a terrible memory.
BOY, YOU REALLY ANNOY ME. YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A TERRIBLE MEMORY WHEN I AM BEING VULNERABLE. ESPECIALLY IF I AM ABOUT TO GO RUNNING.
We ran. I will never admit it, but I loved it, just like I was hoping I would. I loved shutting off my anxiety-laden ADD brain, and focussing on the rhythm of my feet on the pavement. I loved having someone next to me pushing me to not give up. I loved the feel of the cool air, contrasting with my overheated body. I enjoyed my creaking muscles. I liked that we got to chat; and for once, since I was extremely breathless, Beaut did most of the talking!
Any guy who makes me like running is clearly dangerous. What’s next? Eating broccoli voluntarily? This is a slippery slope.