The end of an affair

I started running semi-regularly last May. Which means me and running are quickly approaching our one year anniversary. We’ve actually had an on-again, off-again style relationship for many years now, but this was the first time we’d ever gotten serious. In this past 8 months I’ve ran in 4 races, including two 10Ks. I’ve learned that running partners are one of life’s most invaluable gifts, playlists can make or break me, and sweat soaked hair from a lunch time run eventually will dry, however will never look normal. Last Saturday I went for a quick run, and as I often do I found myself tired and wanting to stop after only a mile or so. Exhausted with the mentally and physically draining relationship I’ve suddenly found myself in the midst of with this philanderer known as running, I wrote the easiest breakup letter of my entire life. (In my head of course, because I would never write one of those annoying letters to an inanimate object)

“Dear Running,

I hate you.

I know that sounds harsh and that it’s possibly spoken out of frustration and heightened sensitivity, but  nonetheless, you’re awful. I’ve watched the way you are with other people. Men, women, it doesn’t even matter with your sub-par standards. I’ve seen the way you move together. I’ve witnessed how happy you make them. They smile when they’re with you. They laugh when they’re with you. As time passes your relationship with them improves and undoubtedly you take things to the next level. Longer. Faster. HILLS. SPRINTS. You’ve practically married some of my closest friends. It looks so easy and enjoyable.  Meanwhile, you cause me nothing but grief. I sit back and have to watch how fulfilling you are for other people, and wonder why you make me so miserable. Every bloody step I take with you feels like it’s ripped from my gut. Every breath I attempt in your presence feels like you’re smothering me into submission. Every distance I set off on with you feels like an endless journey. I feel like this relationship is going nowhere.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve sought professional help to shed some light on our incompatibility issues. It turns out it’s not entirely you. I’m also somewhat to blame. I’m damaged and that affects how well we work as a team. I guess I also can’t pretend that we haven’t had some good times together. Remember when we first met and I bought that cute running skirt to show off for you? Or how you helped me lose 12 lbs when I wasn’t even trying to?  You always knew how to make me feel great about myself. You also really have a way of bringing people together. I’ve found that when I’m with you and friends, or you and my boyfriend, I tend to lose myself in the moment. I forget that my children peed on the floor before I left. I block out the homework I never planned to do anyway. It’s impossible for me to safely glance at my phone while with you (since I barely survive the experience even when my eyes are working overtime) so I tune out the noise that infiltrates my typical day. I focus instead on things that matter. Like the fact that every time I breathe in, I breath out again. And every time I take one step, my back leg swings forward and I take another. Those are really the only things I’ve been able to think about when I’m with you, but sometimes they feel like the most important things in the world.

Sometimes, I actually like that we have a difficult relationship. It’s made me thankful for the things in my life that come easily to me when I experience how truly challenging a thing can be. Like loving. What if I wanted to stop loving a person two minutes into it? Or reading. What if I felt utterly worthless every time I started a sentence? You’ve certainly brought a new appreciation for the things I do with ease in my daily life.

But still, does it really have to be this hard? After all this time? Does it have to be a daily struggle and an uphill battle with very few signs of improvement? Does it have to hurt and burn and make me want to quit moving my body in any sort of way, just to experience the opposite of what you do to me?

I guess the answer is yes. For me it does have to be all of those things. I thought I was ready to give you up, but I decided to give you one final reprieve. Although I don’t particularly like you, I am committed to make this work. So I signed up for a 13.1 mile jaunt with you. I’ll tolerate you for at least that much longer, just so I can confidently say that I gave it my all.

In the meantime, I would love if we could try to work together. I do want to thank you for not making me puke in awhile. I think that’s a step in the right direction. I’d love to see some more displays of affection like that one.

Begrudgingly yours,

Meg”

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