About a month or so ago, I found myself single again and a little cynical about dating, but needing to “put my life back together,” and get back out there. So Salty had really great timing when she sent out a message to us about Fitness Singles. Mostly about how she and her husband make fun of the ads (how can you not? They’re pretty easy to laugh at), but also seeing if anyone would be interested in trying it out and writing about it.
Naturally, I was a little nervous as to what types of men would be on there, but I figured it was better than the nothing I was getting from Tinder at the time. So after some back and forth with my fellow Salties, kpruns100s had a Fitness Singles profile.
I had tried online dating before. In the spring after I ended my almost seven-year relationship, I started dating again pretty quickly. I started with OkCupid to get some practice talking to guys again, then bit the bullet and paid $60 for a three-month membership to Match. I thought of it as a small investment and even if a relationship didn’t come out of it, I would at least get my $60 back in drinks, coffee, dinner, and maybe fun.
Having experience on OkCupid, Match and Tinder (which, if you haven’t heard of it, is an app that’s sort of similar to those “hot or not” picture sites from the 90’s), I was pretty skeptical about Fitness Singles when I made my profile, but I went for it.
Anyway, let’s just say every creepy thing you ever heard about online dating is true.
In my experience, being an ultra runner and working full time is hard enough! Add in dating and suddenly life is a bit more difficult. Online dating made things a bit easier than I expected in some ways, but harder in others. Here’s what I learned:
No one gets competitive running, especially ultra running, unless they’re also a competitive runner. And those are few and far between. We have a pretty tight-knit trail and ultra community, so I pretty much know everyone already. I lucked out and met another ultra runner who I didn’t know and we dated briefly. But explaining ultra running to non-runners was like explaining calculus to a five year old.
Most men seemed intimidated by a woman who competitively runs ultras and will try to one-up you with their sub-20 5K they ran once 10 years ago. I got that and “I ran a Tough Mudder this year! It was so awesome and so hard, you should try it!” (*facepalm*) While I appreciated the efforts to relate to me and what I’m passionate about, it’s not the same. Telling a guy who doesn’t run at all or isn’t an endurance athlete that you run 100 miles because it’s fun and you like winning things tends to scare men off.
Being so committed to my sport has made me a little bit awkward and probably less well rounded. Most of my first date stories were about ultra running and I’m sure I was super boring to most guys.
Men are generally creepy. There are good ones out there obviously, but the creepy/weird/sexual messages I received far outnumbered the nice ones. On Tinder, you can send “moments” to all of your matches and it’s kind of like snapchat where the photo disappears after a certain amount of time. Let’s just say I saw more of a certain body part on complete strangers than I ever wanted to.
A lot of men don’t really know how to talk to women. I don’t know if this relates to the intimidation thing or what, but the whole experience of judging strangers based on their pictures and a short blurb of a profile can make for awkward conversation. It’s also awkward when you see the guy who just dumped you a few weeks before pop up online.
Online dating is very superficial and makes me feel like a judgmental bitch. I wrote off Fitness Singles pretty early, mostly because I didn’t feel like paying any money for it, but also because the small amount of men on there in the area didn’t meet my “requirements.” I’m sure that sounds mean, but none of the men were anywhere close in age to me and that’s a deal breaker. I got a few messages on there…from men old enough to be my father. Ugh.
Having a not-so-normal name means people can find you very easily online. Tinder is connected to your Facebook profile and potential matches can see the photos you choose, your first name, age and whatever else you feel like putting on there. So that, plus knowing I run ultras equaled a super creepy first date where the guy knew everything about me, you can possibly find online, including my recent race results and newspaper articles I had written in college. That date couldn’t end fast enough.
At least I learned what I don’t want. If anything, the whole online dating experience has helped me learn what I’m looking for in a man and a relationship. And meeting new people has been fun as well, but I’m not betting that it’s the best way to meet someone by a longshot.
How about you? Have you tried online dating as an out runner? How’d it go for you?