One section Tales From Another Mother Runner is called In Her Shoes, which is first-person accounts of different running situations and tales. We love running stories as much as—or maybe more than?—running itself, but we had a surplus of In Her Shoes stories...if we put them all in the book, it would've been bigger than a dictionary. So we're going to run these every other Friday for a while.
Wendy found a friend she didn't really want on a run...
I have a neighbor, the father of one of my son’s friends, who used to wait for me at the end of his driveway so he could run with me. For the record, I never asked him to run with me.
He looks like a total computer nerd. Average, kind of balding, and about my age. He’s married. I don’t think he was looking for romance. I think he just wanted someone to run with. I always ran at the same time in the morning through the same neighborhood route. He figured out when I’d be running past his house, wait for me, and ask to join me. When this first started, I changed my route. Then I gave up and ran with him.
Sometimes I’m slow on the uptake. Even though I knew what he was doing, I didn’t really realize what was happening. I run alone; everybody knows this. He was hijacking my time, plus I had to talk when I ran with him. My friends called him my stalker and joked I had to break up with him.
It was about six weeks before I got up the courage to end it.
One morning, I came up the hill, and he was standing out there. My heart just dropped. I thought, “Oh, geez, not again.” And that was it. It was time.
I said, “You know what? I can’t. I can’t do this anymore. I don’t run with people.” He said, “I thought you liked running with me.” I gave him the it’s-not-you-it’s-me speech. He said “fine” and started running the other way. He was crushed. I felt like I broke his heart, which made it all the more creepy.
It was awkward at first because I’d be out running and see him running. He’d put his nose in the air and look the other way. But it’s been a couple of years now, and he’s cordial.
—Wendy (Thanks to the strength solo running gives her, she can still get up on one waterski – and tried wakeboarding at age fifty-two.)
Have you ever had to break up with a running "friend"? Or have somebody run with you without really asking?