Now I know what a four-minute mile means to a runner - and to the rest of the world.Dating an athlete means he will have friends who share his athletic pursuits.

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She wouldn't have the time to drag him to the latest art exhibits or eclectic improvisational comedy theatre. In my dreams, she would aspire to professional status and he would grow tired of the echoes of his own pursuits in someone so close. Dating an athlete lets me peer into a life of discipline and focus, one that I admire and am inspired by.

Also, in the dream, I would have a firm, athletic body, developed through my dedication to antique store shopping. The value of focus and discipline takes on a meaning that is carried over into my hobbies.

by RAC member Justine Mc Gonagle The athlete and the non-athlete can be compatible, even though their interests are not the same.

The athlete in my life is a triathlete who ran for over 10 years.

It would be a relationship with another who also thought daily about workouts, beating their current times and how to get rid of obstacles that might prevent them from missing a training session.

I try to convince myself that my boyfriend wouldn't want a hard-bodied woman who could talk endlessly about her ability to run a mile under four minutes.

It is a slow progression, a type of crawl down the food chain. I sprint off while in his view, smiling and thinking, "If I just make it to the next building and turn the corner, I'll be out of sight.

He works his way from banana to egg sandwiches, to any food his coworkers inadvertently leave unattended. For me, eating is a calculated event, a measurement of meals, a social occasion. Then I can go window shopping."He warms up at a pace matching my full-out sprint.

In places where we may run into each other, I run like a gazelle with the wind at her back. A minute ceases to be a minute and becomes a measurement of how much training went into creating the difference of one minute in a race. When I first met him, he would talk about times with me while I listened in a daze.