After spending 8 months, the longest duration of time off from running in over a decade, I have come to realize that my relationship with running is much like a teenage love affair. When I was injured and taking time off, I would see others running and it felt like my boyfriend was cheating on me. It hurt to see others pushing themselves up a hill, friends chatting on a long run, or a cross country team doing fartlek’s.
“That bitch over there with her sweaty smile!” As my husband drove the car, he would peer over at me and as I stared out the window with my eyes locked on every single runner on the street. “I hate her/him!” I would exclaim. “They think they’re so great with their black toes nails and their bloody chaffing!” He would often give me a raised eyebrow, and the “do you think you might need something to eat?” saying that has come with years of living with me.
I was so jealous. It felt so immature, but I can not lie… it turned ugly. It got so bad that every time I saw a runner, I felt like punching them in the face. Running is like a boyfriend and when you can’t be out there, every time you see someone else who is enjoying the sport, it feels like your love is cheating on you.
I probably didn’t appreciate “him” as much as I should have when I had him. I took him for granted and now it’s too late– he has rejected me. The long, comfortable relationship I had with “him” over the past decade became too complacent and he moved on to someone else.
Sure, we had our up’s and down’s. There were times when we needed breaks from each other–times when things were more casual. Like that time I dated the “Spin bike” and that was firey fast, but it could have never worked – I was always comparing him to my “run.” There was that brief stint with “yoga”.. I just couldn’t get into the Birkenstock’s and Man Bun’s .
Running always came back to me, and I to him like two lovers approaching each other in a field of lavender at sunset. In those brief gaps, it was always me who strayed, but this time it felt like running left me. I was dumped and it felt awful. In some strange way it felt like running left me for someone else. It stung like salt in a wound.
I had to remove myself from circumstances where I would see people running. I stopped staring out the window, and would simply look away. Just like any broken heart, as time went by so did the hurt. I realized that there was more to life than running and that I now free to focus on other equally important areas of my life that I hadn’t been able to in the past.
Remember when you were little and your Mom would tell you to go into the ocean to heal your cut? She would say, ” a little salt helps the healing process.” In this instance, the salt in my wound might have been the best thing that ever happen to me. It forced me to look within, reexamine my priorities and opened my eyes to the fact that running isn’t everything. It’s important to me, I love it, it’s a big part of who I believe myself to be, but I am okay without it, too.
After going through 8 months of healing my body, I realize that I don’t want to be without it, though. Just like a person, running is a relationship that I don’t want to let go of. Sometimes having a big break from each other is really eye opening.
I am slowly returning to my love. It hasn’t been easy. We tip toe around each other and it’s been difficult to regain my confidence with “him.” We are taking things slow and I’m okay with that. Even though he and I have a long history, being together again feels like new and fresh. I’m being conservative and taking things slow, but I think about him all day long, and when I’m with him it’s thrilling and exciting. I am blissful and euphoric and I will never again take “him” for granted. I hope we have a long life together, he and I.
Running is my Boyfriend.
[bctt tweet=”Hilarious essay about how running is like having a lover-a must read! #fitfluential #runchat”]
Have you ever taken an extended time off from running? Do you stare out the window at the people running?