Running discovered me pretty late, and when it did, it was anything but a passionate love affair, at least at the beginning.
See, I had met running before and we had never really gotten along. But then my roommates in college seemed to like running so much, I tried to like it, too. Our love that first year was short-lived, but I remembered how good it made me feel when we were really focused on one another, in those hour-long sweat sessions at Gold’s Gym. Life got busy and complicated, though, as it often does, and we parted ways for awhile.
We met again on a chilly fall evening my senior year in college. It was unexpected, but running felt like the only way to escape from the messy tangle of relationships that had ensnared me. I needed somewhere calm, somewhere that didn’t involve a fight or confrontation, and running opened its arms wide and without judgement. We didn’t meet often, over the next several years, and I was often drunk or crying, but running didn’t care and always managed to soothe me, to talk me down from the ledge.
Then, the winter after I graduated and I turned in one rocky relationship for one that felt more stable (and eventually ended in marriage), running decided to stick around. We got together several times a week, even through a cold and icy winter, for short 30 or 40 minute therapy sessions. Sometimes our time together was intense and physical; other times quiet and reflective. Our relationship deepened.
The years ticked by, and as I approached my wedding date, running and I moved to the next level, too. I needed a distraction, a stress-reliever, and once again, running held my hand through the process. We picked our first race — a half marathon — and worked together to get my legs and my heart to that finish line and then down the aisle. We grew so strong together as we entered into a commitment we were both sure would last a lifetime, vowing to work through injuries and burn out, busy schedules and competing priorities.
Running, I didn’t love you when we first met, I didn’t even like you, in fact, but these days I miss you when you’re not a part of my day, like I’d miss my arm if I woke up without it. You’ve given me a confidence in myself both physically and mentally that I never would have discovered on my own. You’ve kept me sane when life has gotten out of control. You’ve challenged me and helped me grow in all aspects of my life. You’ve filled my life with joy, and even though we’ve had our disappointments, even though we’ve failed each other on more than one occasion, we always come back to each other full of forgiveness, ready to start a new day together. Running, you are my passion and I love you more each day (even when I say I hate you).