Today, I went on a run. My first long run in a while, in anticipation for the Disney Wine and Dine Half in less than a month.
When I first got here, I was struggling to find an area to run in – especially places for long runs that wouldn’t require me to do the same 2 mile loop over and over and over again. It gets boring. The area around my apartment is nice and safe-feeling, but the hills don’t allow me to keep a regular pace. Good for short interval training, bad for distance runs.
I asked around, and was told of a park about 10 minutes away from my apartment. I was anxious to run this morning, as it’s been a while, but I got myself out the door and headed to the park.
There were a lot of cars, and a big EVENT PARKING sign in the middle of the park. There was a 5K going on – how fortunate! The park looked awesome, and I set off on my run, aiming for 8 miles. It was freezing outside, and my phone shut down temporarily, but it was enjoyable overall.
Just around 3 miles, I noticed that the 5K had started. I was running toward the start line…but in the wrong direction. Instead of trying to fight a crowd of 5K-ers, I did a quick pivot and joined them. It was great to run with people around me, and it showed me corners of the park I didn’t know about. Score!
I departed the 5K-ers near their finish line and kept on. I am terrible with directions, but running around the same loop 3 times got me pretty well acclimated. Theres a few different trails that are marked, but I still am unsure how far they all are. Mental note: internet search later.
I finished up my run, feeling awesome. I had run it with the fastest pace I’ve ever done, and I wasn’t hurting. This could be from the 3 pain killers I took before the run, but whatever.
Just as I was stretching, an older man was walking to his car next to mine. Now, you’re probably picturing Carl from UP. No, think creepy 60-something uncle without the beer gut. He smiled and warmly said, “what a nice day for a run!”
Ok, sure, kinda-creepy guy, I’ll chat a bit. We talked a little about running, he told me his entire medical history, and I nodded and smiled. I had mentioned that I was new to the area, and I really liked the park for running.
“It’s even nice in the winter!” he told me. “They plow it and everything. I’m out here five days a week for my power walks.” Perfect, I’ll have somewhere to run in the wintertime. I jokingly mentioned that snow wasn’t a big deal, being a Buffalo girl. Turns out, he’s from the Jamestown area, which naturally turned into another small conversation. It was clear that creepy uncle Dave just wanted someone to talk to.
Then he asked, “so, are you here for school then?” I explained my job, to which he asked “oh, so do you have many friends here?”
“No, not too many. Just some from college. But it’s only been about two weeks, so I’m still settling in.” I told him. A normal person, even a normal creepy uncle, would probably respond with some version of “oh well you’ll meet lots of people here in time!” Right? Not Dave.
“Do you have a boyfriend?” Uh, no, Dave…I don’t.
“Would you be interested in…going on a date?” Ok, let’s pause. Reminder: Dave is not cute Carl from UP. Dave is creepy uncle.
Dave was either asking me one of three things:
1. If I was looking to date, in general.
2. If I would be willing to date his son, nephew, cousin, etc.
3. If I would go on a date with him.
I responded with “Well, I’m still settling in here…” feeling uncomfortable. Dave then told me his weekly schedule, and assured me that I could find him at the Starbucks around the corner every day at 7am, if I woke up that early. Oh my god. The answer is #3. He also explained that he’s not at Starbucks on Sundays, because he has to go to church, “which, I’m not sure if you go to,” he said.
Generally I avoid these types of conversations, they’re awkward. But, without thinking, I responded, “no, I’m Jewish.” It was met with wide eyes and stuttering. “Oh, uh, well you, you uh…go to uh, you go to a uh…synagogue?” Yes Dave, yes I do. Looks like we can’t get married after all. He then threw in a small comment about how EVERYONE knows that Jesus, the Messiah, is coming back, and with that, I cut our conversation short, explaining I had to leave.
“Well, I’m sure I’ll see you around here again soon!” he called as I got in my car. So, even if I don’t make friends here or find the man of my dreams, I’ll always have Dave.