Over the past couple of weeks, Evan and I have had some memorable running experiences. A week ago Sunday, we set out to do our run in Centralia, where we were staying while visiting my family over Memorial Day. Crossing the street behind the hotel as we started our warm-up walk, a large man with a great big grin approached us. He had a towel thrown over his shoulder, so I thought he was associated with the hotel or the hotel’s pub in some way.
Now, ever since a friend in graduate school from the midwest said that people in the northwest aren’t friendly, I have tried to make a point of saying hello and smiling when I pass people on the street, in hallways at work, etc. With this particular individual, this was a invitation for the start of a conversation, which again is typically fine.
“You guys going for a jog?”
This is where it gets a little weird, especially when you consider the fact that I thought the guy was on a break from the pub.
“Can I come on your jog with you? I love exercise.”
Not wanting to be rude or discourage this rather large guy from exercise, but not really wanting to have the guy come on our run/walk regime in an unknown area, Evan explains that while we are going for a jog, it’s not exactly a jog, but more a run walk thing.
“Cool,” he says and begins our walking warm-up with us.
The conversation continues….
“So you guys are into this exercise thing, huh? Do you believe that the blood pumps through the body?”
“So, you believe that the heart pumps and when you exercise the body knows to pump the blood harder…”
“Yeah, I used to be really into exercise. I used to weigh 387 pounds and I lost over 100 pounds with exercise.” (One must note that this guy now looks as if he weighs about 400 pounds and is having a hard time keeping up with our only semi-brisk walk.)
“Yeah, have you guys heard of these things called enzymes?”
“Well, don’t you think that if you ate nothing but enzymes, you could go on forever? That’s all the body needs. I could climb the highest mountains if I only ate enzymes.”
“Uh, cool.” (At this point, I move from thinking he is going to try and sell us Jesus to thinking that he is going to try and sell us some weird energy supplement.)
“Yeah, I used to be really into exercise, but now I don’t live in the physical, I live in the spiritual world.” (Uh, oh, back to Jesus again.)
At this point, Evan and I started our actual running (a minute or so early) and he lasted for about a millisecond before departing.
Now, as long as I don’t think that someone is dangerous, I don’t really have a problem having them talk to me about their religious views, however strange, and Evan is always ready for a good debate. However…I am still early enough in the running program that it is not something that I exactly enjoy doing, so the thought of having to run and be converted at the same time was just too much for me.
Otherwise, we have been keeping up the couch to 5K program and it is generally working for us. I have found that if we keep the conversation moving during the running segments, it is so much easier. Keeping the conversation going is something I know that Evan struggles with in many situations in life (unless he is debating, repeating something from NPR, or talking science) and thus it is typically my job to tend the conversation. On a run last week, however, I was tired of talking and after a couple of minutes of silence toward the end of the run, I begged Evan to talk to me.
Clearly not understanding the situation, he attempted this by asking me, “So did anything interesting happen to you today?”
“If you ask me one more question, I’m going to kill you.”
Can you tell I’m still not relishing the running?