Readers of this blog know a bit about my personal history. More than they’d sometimes like to know perhaps. That’s a blog for you.
But I just finished writing a testimonial to FitnessSingles.com where I met my girlfriend Sue. I tried to be honest as I could in the testimonial. There’s nothing phony about wanting companionship. There’s nothing phony about dating this woman either. She’s a person of good conscience, humor and compassion. She’s also tough, funny and sings to herself to create happy thoughts.
It was hard at first figuring out what it meant to be dating someone consistently after the eight years of challenges with my late wife’s ovarian cancer. Fortunately my amazing children and family have been there through everything. They support me now in this new phase of life. It’s been hard for all of us in different ways. Hard even for Sue to date a man whose friends all knew my late wife. But it’s all working for good. This is not about replacing someone. It’s about living life to the fullest. It’s something in which I believe quite strongly and relate this journey in my book, The Right Kind of Pride. I hope you’ll pick up a copy on Amazon.com and give it a read. It contains my heart and soul.
So here’s the testimonial for the dating site where Sue and I met.
Hello folks: It’s been a while but I promised a testimonial for FitnessSingles.com. Here it is:
As an athlete for more than 40 years, it has always been my fitness networks that brought close friends. Through high school and college running and beyond, my best buddies and women friends came about through sports…
Which is why I checked into FitnessSingles.com. When I saw the prompt online somewhere, I recall clicking on it and filling out a profile. I’d been doing some dating through eHarmony and had met some nice people. But nobody really clicked.
At first while looking through the matches in the fitnesssingles.com
queue, I was like “Whoa, these women are from all over the place.”
But then I noticed there was one gal right in my home town.
She looked fun. Her profile photo showed her standing over her tri-bike. I thought to myself, “Hmmm, it might be nice to have someone to ride with.”
See, it had been a long journey for me the last 8 years. My late wife had gone through multiple treatments for ovarian cancer. She was an active person who ate well and did everything you’d think was possible to avoid something like cancer. So it obviously hurt to lose her.
But as an individual with a strong personal faith, I also recognized that all of us face challenges like this in life. I even wrote a book about the process we went through during all those years in cancer treatment. It’s called The Right Kind of Pride and is available on Amazon.com. It talks about living positively through challenges and also coming to grips with grief and life after the loss of someone you love.
That journey taught me much about companionship, and I felt strongly that the better aspects of my nature are found in sharing time with someone else. That is why I started dating a few months after my wife passed away.
And when I met with Sue the first time after corresponding through FitnessSingles, something seemed right about it. Interestingly, she had come through her own challenges in life with a divorce and recent job changes. So we felt like we were on a similar plane.
Our first date was sharing appetizers and wine at a riverside restaurant. We never touched much of the appetizers we were so busy talking and getting to know each other. That led to a second date in which she rode over to my home on her bike. It turned out she lived a mere six blocks away.
She was a good rider. I still tease her that she dropped me on our first ride. We were hammering along at 26 mph and I was not warmed up and not yet in great cycling shape that season. But she waited and we rode the rest of the 30 miles together that first outing.
Funny thing was, she liked to stop for a short food break at a high school 15 miles out of town. It was the same rural high school I had attended my freshman and sophomore year. It was a strange sensation sitting on that lawn with our bikes leaning against a tree as we talked and got to know each other. Life creates some odd circles at times. Again we felt quite a connection. I will also admit to admiring her in a cycling kit. Some sparks started to fly.
It has been 18 months since we started dating. We’ve ridden hundreds of miles together. We run quite a bit too. She’s also an excellent swimmer and I’m slowly picking up that sport as well.
Last fall we traveled to Madison, Wisconsin to work as volunteers at the Ironman Wisconsin. That gave her early access to enter the 2015 race and that’s her plan, to do her first Ironman the year she turns 50. She’s already done several Half Ironmans.
We’re both members of Experience Triathlon and the Fox River Trail Runners. These shared experiences form a nice foundation for our relationship.
But there’s much more. We both have kids in their 20s. We both love art and architecture, music, dining out with friends and the occasional movie.
Fortunately we’re both early risers too. I never mind if she zonks out on my shoulder after a hard day’s training. That’s part of the gig when you’re athletes. Propping each other up when you’re tired or down.
Because it’s never perfect you know. Both of us have problems like everyone else. We talk those out on our runs and rides. She even had a bike accident last year and I accompanied her through surgery and at the hospital. She did the same for me when I picked up a finger infection from a stupid sliver. Life is full of ;unexpected events and changes. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!
But like any endurance event it helps to have someone cheering you on. We’re glad we met through FitnessSingles.com and hope our relationship continues to flourish in the coming years.
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