Did you ever know someone who had an on-again, off-again relationship? And on the surface it appeared that they had a dysfunctional relationship, but upon digging further, you realize that maybe it was always a case of the right person-wrong time? They keep trying, but it never works…until that one day where the timing lines up and it finally develops in to the most beautiful love affair that you only now realize is how it was intended to be.
I am one of those people. And I am finally ready to come out about my past dysfunctional relationship and current torrid love affair. With Running. Gotcha! But I really am serious. My love story goes like this.
In middle school (yes I started young), being the athletic figure skater I was then, I decided to join the track team. Was I cheating on my current love, figure skating? Yes certainly, but it was a polyamorous moonlighting type of situation. Skating was always my first love, but I soon learned it was a fickle lover that realizes you’re too old and dumps you at the ripe old-maid age of 16, so it always had a short shelf-life. Two years of middle school track and I was on fire, the fastest I’ve ever been. (Though lack of puberty and hips and boobs make a huge difference). So it started as a really beneficial union, but it began to develop into an abusive relationship. Sport asthma reared its ugly head. I was still winning my meets, but at my last few track meets the coach would have a teammate standing at the finish line to catch me in case of one of my running induced hyperventilation attacks.
Moving on to high school, I tried to get into cross country in the fall, but something always prevented me from joining the team. Right person, wrong time? So, I joined track in the spring for a couple years. But we were continuing to drift apart. I had less time for practice and for meets, with schoolwork, skating (though I had moved on to teaching at that point), and music (my new lover). The sport asthma still abused me at meets. And finally after a couple years, I realized I needed to break up with running. Why was I doing this to my body? Nobody was chasing me. I’m not going anywhere (running around an oval is essentially running in circles). Occasionally the track coach would talk me into showing up for a meet here and there for a little “for old times sake” date with running, but by the end of high school were were done. Finito.
For 13 years, I had nothing to do with my old lover. We didn’t speak. We avoided each other at parties. I mean, heaven forbid I should ever run for anything. It was a dumb sport and a bad old boyfriend that was bad for me.
Then, in law school I decided to try running again. To try to encourage a former runner to get back into it for his health’s sake. And it was a very time effective way to exercise and burn calories, which was important for a busy law student and future lawyer. It was a very, VERY slow rocky start getting back together with running. Battling my need for speed with my underworked, asthmatic lungs; eventually settling on slow, but able to breathe. But it remained a casual relationship. Taking it slow to 1 mile. Then a 5k or two. And eventually jumping off the deep end and getting hot and heavy training for a half marathon. Never in my life had I run that much. It was exciting. And something I said I only wanted to do once. After that I fell back into a casual relationship. Running off and on to stay in shape. Kinda loving it, kinda hating it all at the same time. But never really giving it my full attention.
A couple years later, a friend wanted to run her first half marathon. She had started her own love affair with running, and I wanted to be supportive of her relationship, so I trained to run it with her. That race was one of the best runs of my life. I fell in love with running all over again. But this time, everything was perfect. I didn’t have any other distractions or lovers in my life to compete for my attention. I was able to give my all to running. And it gave right back to me. I was in great shape. I rarely had any trouble breathing or with distance. And I actually enjoyed spending time with running. And sorely missed it when we were separated. It had become just as important in my life as breathing or sleeping or eating. It made my life better and made me a better person in so many ways.
Last year I discovered triathlon. And as I can assume that maybe marriage or having children enriches your relationship, that is what happened with my running with triathlon. I have an even deeper love for my running. We share a bond that others cannot understand, and triathlon has strengthened that bond even more. So, yes, I have a red hot torrid love affair with running, and I would inflict serious harm on someone who would try to come between us. And I always encourage people in their own relationships with running. So no matter where you are in your own relationship, embrace it. We all have our own path, and it’s not for everyone. But for me, I have found my own little love affair.
Happy Valentine’s Day!