I always refer to running as the most serious relationship I have ever been in.
When we first met, I was hesitant. I mean, I knew running was good for me physically and mentally, but we just hadn’t “clicked” yet. But after a few weeks of seeing each other I was hooked. We spent every day together, usually just about 30 minutes. Soon, 30 minutes turned to an hour, one hour to two. We were inseparable.
I made a big commitment to Running. I registered for the Chicago Marathon. I kept a calendar of all our time together. My fashion changed from dresses and skirts to Tempo Shorts and Pro-Bras. My diet changed from whatever I wanted to clean, orchestrated meals. Our relationship always felt better for me when I accommodated running this way.
I started missing plans with friends because I had a date at 4:30am the following Saturday morning. I skipped out on wine-nights because Running could be a real douche when I was hung-over. So much of me changed for that relationship. I was okay with it, though. My body was in the most incredible shape of my life. I felt an over-whelming sense of pride in my accomplishments each week. I felt empowered.
Running and I were serious again. With our second Chicago Marathon coming up, our relationship was hot and heavy heading into June. I began to spend time with girls who had relationships just like mine. All-consuming, passionate and powerful. We went on group dates every Saturday morning.
Then I left for Spain. I entered a world where people’s relationships with Running were nothing like mine. Their plans were always short. No one had yet made the commitment I had. They enjoyed their beers and various forms of potatoes. I wanted some, but I knew I’d regret it the next morning. I sent desperate emails to my mom; so fearful I could not maintain my balance in an environment so different from home. I was so fearful that I could only have fun at the expense of my relationship. With her encouragement, I enjoyed myself and ate potatoes and ran when I could because I wanted to, not because I had to.
Upon my return to the states I knew I was going to have some hard work ahead of me, but I just missed Running. I was so happy to be back on the path, my focus back, and my mental relationship seemingly stronger than ever. It was the physical relationship that was still not improving. After every date I had pain no longer local to my muscles, but now present in my bones and joints. Every single day I was hurting. And in a bad way, not a healthy way. It got to the point where we couldn’t see each other for weeks. Running and I would wait until Marathon day, and like Miranda and Steve we would meet and decide the fate of our relationship.
I finished the race, and I was proud, but I knew that I needed a more serious break from my relationship. Running was hurting me. I could feel it destroying my body, and I knew that in the long run it would mean irreparable damage.
I ran into my friends from training and they asked how I was. Truth? I was embarrassed. I mean, my relationship failed and theirs did not. I had a few re-bounds with a group fitness class here and there but nothing made me feel the way that Running did.
I’ve missed Running. I think I’m ready to rekindle the flame, but I know I have to have different goals. We’ve had quick dates to catch up, but no obligatory plans. I don’t think we can get back together with all the pressure that surrounds races. We’re not getting back together and letting the relationship over-power my entire life. We’re taking it slow. And I just have to remind myself that it’s okay.