The Greatest Love Story Never Told


Many years ago I was running the Virginia Beach marathon and met this gentleman before the start of the run. We got to talking and joked to each other about the pre-race jitters. He didn’t seem to have any and either did I. That is until he told me his story. His plan for the day was to run the marathon and he was going to propose to his girlfriend at the end of the race. We became friends rather quickly and actually ran the entire race together. I even met his lovely girl friend along the way. I was a extremely lucky that day,  as I got to witness the traditional kneeling proposal at the finish line. The wind had picked up from the east and the Atlantic ocean sparkled in the background.  I have to admit it brought a tear to my eye. It was a beautiful story book story.

Which brings us back to another story book story.

Countless years ago , I got home from work at around 8:30 having just finished year-end close. I honestly had no plans and I do not actually remember making any plans for the evening but the details are kind of sketchy.

The expanding past– As things get further and further
into the past they expand at an exponential
pace sometimes obscuring the truth.
Well Jen (this story ends well) participted in the midnight run and celebrated with her, at the time best friend.  Somehow this love story has this recurring theme around a run of some sort.  I honestly think a sweet part of the story is she did not go home to shower and proceeded over to my house right after her run. She never indicated previously to me that she was a runner let alone entering a race. She may have called me to tell me she was coming over or maybe she didn’t but I remember sitting on the sofa drinking a beer (it may have been a bad beer) and I get a call from Miss Jen that she was headed over to my house.
I forgot -What I neglected to remember is that this was not
entirely out of the blue as she had been
to the house a few weeks earlier as she made/bought
me dinner from Ernesto’s after an ill-fated 31 mile
run across WildWood trail.
Little random acts of kindness are the glue that hold relationships together. About a month earlier myself and a bunch of friends decided to run the Wildwood trail. The Wildwood trail is a nice little gem of forested trail perfection. It so happens it is about 50 kilometers long. I remember it being a rainy bone chilling late autumn day. I recall constantly working harder than usual to keep up with my friends. I found my groove with about  10 kilometers to go. By the time I got back to my car I was shivering and chilled to the bone. I cranked up the heat in my Volvo, it decided to work that day, and headed home to any empty house. I was still freezing so I turned on some classical music and took a long hot bath. That helped plenty but I found my self not surprisingly quite hungry. Our relationship was still in the borderline friendship stage, and Jenna showed up with piping hot servings of pasta with the most delicious sauce. Hyperbole aside, it may have been the most influential meal I have eaten in my life.
Which brings me back to the original story I am trying to tell.  Love stories are like that. They make our hearts skip a beat, they make us do irrational things and certainly hop all over the place.
Well a girl I was really hot for was coming over to the house in 45 minutes and I contemplated cleaning the entire house, or lighting candles or having another beer. It is amazing how much house cleaning you can get done in forty-five minutes. We took dating really slow and teetered across the friend zone and into a real relationship territory quite slowly. I cleaned the house and I thought that candles would be a little too obvious.  Jen shows up post run, post beer with a movie (I may screw this up) “Sleepless in Seattle. It was some Meg Ryan movie, and I know it wasn’t ‘You got Mail.’


You got female. It was somewhere around 1:30 in the morning
we sat down on the couch in my newly cleaned
house and watched that movie. I remember nothing about
the movie, but we snuggled and kept each warm. It was the perfect


We got very little sleep that night.
The next day i was in a daze and
actually wrecked a baby stroller.
(This part of the tale is also absolutely true).
Hindsight has 20/20 vision. Yes love stories bounce all over the place and sometimes they mess with your sense of reality and reason. I forgot I was supposed to run with friends the following morning. We planned on running up Rocky Butte and back. I showed up to the run rather droopy eyed and tired beyond recognition. I did have a certain hop to my step despite the lack of sleep. You know that feeling when you are falling in love. My friend Kris was with us this morning. It was a bitterly cold and blustery New Years day. Kris had brought along her god-daughter in an expensive baby stroller.
Against my better judgement, I offered to push the baby jogger up Rocky Butte. We ran to the top along the road and it went without incident. For some reason we decided to take the trail down and that was not a great decision. I crashed the baby jogger into a large rock and ended up bending the wheel and rim beyond repair.  Nobody was hurt except for the baby jogger. We carried it the last half mile. The baby jogger that is.
Yes, love is a random and unpredictable thing. The girl who showed up ay house with a plate of pasta, I ended up proposing to her months later.
If you guessed that I proposed romantically at end of a run you are an astute person.
No I proposed opening day at a Portland Timbers soccer game. Unlike my friend in Virginia beach. I had a plan and it had plenty of wholes in it. In retrospect so did my friend’s plan in Virginia beach. There is always the possibility of not finishing a marathon.
So my plan was to propose after the Timbers scored the first goal. I ended up proposing at half time as it was scoreless at half.
Ten years later we are still going strong and writing our own little stories.
I love you.

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