Virtually real- Virtuellement vraie

Micheline Harvey: Virtual Assistant, real person/Adjointe Virtuelle, mais tout à fait vraie

There is no such thing as a runner’s body June 30, 2015


Surprisingly, I took up running almost two years ago and am still going strong. I had never thought about being a runner, but I do admit to dreaming about running across fields, beaches, trails, as if I was going somewhere, without actually knowing where.

I love almost everything about running. Yes, even the heat, the slow runs, and the times when I huff and puff and can barely get going at all. I have a love-hate relationship with the hills. I hate going uphill, but I love going downhill.

I love listening to the music from my running playlist, being outdoors, getting fresh air, competing with myself. I love the feeling of belonging, kinship, having our own special secret and feeling sort of badass when I meet another runner on a trail, or running down the street, and we smile at each other.

I admit, when I started, I thought I’d end up with one of those lean, mean athletic bodies like the competitive runners on TV. And I thought it would take no time at all.

After running regularly, at least three times per week for several months, eating healthy, doing pilates and core training, I was forced to accept the fact that there is no such thing as a runner’s body. Runners come in all shapes and sizes. Our weight often does not change at all after we start running, or sometimes we gain weight, because of all the awesome muscles growing in our calves, thighs, and butts and replacing the fat (fat takes up three times more space than muscle for the same weight).

I don’t look like an athlete. I am not super lean. But I can outrun almost everyone I know, because most of the people in my immediate entourage are not physically active.

What I can’t stand is when, at a family gathering, the random in-law asks me for the umpteenth time “Are you still jogging?” and when I say yes, gives me the slow head-to-toe once-over without saying a word.

What? I don’t look like I’ve clocked well over 1,200 km of running in the last 20 months or so? I’m not skinny enough for you? You can’t detect my amazing leg muscles under my clothes?

To hell with you… you sedentary, judgmental in-law! How far can YOU run?


Do you arrive empty-handed?


When invited to someone’s home for a meal, a party, a cocktail, an event, even if the host/hostess tells you that you don’t need to bring anything, do you arrive empty-handed?

As a rule, I always bring something. If I am not required to contribute a dish in a pot-luck setting, and am not asked to bring my own wine, I still bring an extra bottle for the hosts, something I have baked, flowers, a kitchen gadget, some artfully arranged and colorful dishcloths, a book, a toy for the family pet, something!

When I receive guests, I am surprised to see that I usually get nothing, except from one or two close friends who always bring something nice. I don’t entertain very often. My house is small and it’s difficult to find a date when my husband is at home and not out riding his motorcycle and our potential guests are available to come over. I also cherish my privacy and quiet time. But when I do, I can plan, prepare and serve a kickass brunch for 10, supper for 8 and the food will be good, the table will be beautiful, everyone will eat at the same time, their meal will be hot and there will be plenty for everyone.

And yet I usually receive no hostess gift to thank me for my hospitality, my food, and the effort I put into making it an overall great experience.

Is the host/hostess gift a dying tradition? Has etiquette changed? Or do most of my guests simply not care?