Runner’s Valentine’s Day Dilemma

by Paul Thompson

On Saturday I reminded my Warren Street club mates about the Tuesday night workout. I was given mixed looks – incredulity, nodding acceptance and uncertainty.

The incredulity came from someone who confessed that he would have to give it a miss since he valued his life. The nodding acceptance came from someone who, I suspect, did not realize Tuesday was Valentine’s Day – or else was unattached. And the uncertainty came from perhaps the most hard core runner of us all, Sebastien B. He simply said he’d confirm on Tuesday, presumably after doing his ‘homework’ and checking where the land lay with his wife.

A club mate, Jim Stemm, who has been married for many years to another runner, offered some cautionary advice. Don’t be lulled into thinking you can get away with doing nothing: if your wife says no need to do anything special, then make sure you plan something special. Jim also mentioned how having a child, together with a small investment in glue, glitter and paper, was saving him a fortune in cards.

On the eve of Valentine’s I realized I’d put the group, especially Sebastien, in a difficult predicament, a kind of no-win situation. Bailout in favor of candlelit meal for two and their commitment to running was in question. Run the workout and get home late, maybe too late for dinner, and risk domestic disharmony. It’s what I call the Runner’s Valentine’s Day Dilemma. Miscalculate and the outcome could be unpleasant. And worse I might get implicated in the ‘crime’.

So before Sebastien could contact me to confirm whether he was in or out, I emailed everyone to say I was not going to make it ‘for obvious reasons’. This prompted a flurry of copycat withdrawals. Running often tests us – our commitment, our sanity. But on occasions like this it just has to be put aside.

So right now I am writing this piece while riding the train home so Shamala and I can spend the evening together.  She’s had a heavy work lunch, with alcohol, so I seem to be off the hook for ‘something special’. Until the alcohol wears off.

Might not have been roses and chocolates but some attempts at romance were made

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