“No one else is wearing pants. They’re all going to judge me!”
I brought my girlfriend to the reservoir to run, it was her fist visit. She wore her sweatpants and black martial arts tee-shirt, as before. I was in shorts and a tee shirt. Wednesday was a bright, warm day, and the track was littered with people going in varying speeds in varying directions. We sat in the car, and I offered to take her elsewhere, and told her that when I started running, I had similar bouts of self-consciousness, but eventually realized no one cared.
After a few minutes, I spotted a couple both wearing pants and heading toward the track, and pointed them out to her. She seemed a little unconvinced, but came out to the “stretching area” with me. Said area is, in fact, an overlook with a bench set above the parking lot, but I have co-opted it before to pretend I know what I am doing.
After my stretching routine–and watching the girlfriend doing stretches that actually look like she knows what she’s doing–we headed up to the track. By my suggestion, we set off in opposite directions. My hope, and the reality, was that was passed each other a couple of times. We flashed each other smile, a wave, and a high-five. I found myself trying to spot her from across the water, eager to make that brief connection–which happened twice.
I also made my fastest time per lap, and was only maybe 5 minutes shy of completing a 5k. I kind of credit her with this, as our plans after the run were dinner, and I was eager to finish and get to that part of the evening.
She is in the second or third week of a C25k program, and I was aiming for however far I could get in 30 minutes. Her program ended a few minutes before mine did, and after my cool-down walk along a small, forested path, I found her practicing a partially-forgotten martial arts form in the stretching area.
(Note: At this point, as I am writing about a week out from my runs, I know that I ran last Monday as well, but I can’t remember whether anything significant happened. I believe it was a pretty straightforward half-hour run.)