I felt like running had let me down for the last time. I spent hours and hours getting ready for this party, and running leaves me in the desert to go be with someone else…I mean, I’m right to say goodbye to a relationship that isn’t good for me, right? Running never sends me flowers, expects me to cook dinner all the time, and sure as hell never pays the rent. What kind of crap is that?!
Like any sensible person, I logically figure it’s not smart to stay in a lousy abusive relationship. Goodbye running, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Well, it’s been a week, and now I’m reconsidering. I know – I’m too soft, aren’t I? I have way too much time on my hands, and I’m looking for ways to fill my time…
OK, I’m lonely.
So, idiot that I am, I’m considering taking running back. I think that before I let running back into my life, I should really evaluate this carefully — is this a relationship that’s really good for me, or do I let running abuse me? But I don’t want to seem too desperate. Or easy. Running hurt me bad – I need to make it think hard, I can’t just pick up where we left off.
Before I let it back in the door, I did a list of pros and cons – to see if this is fer real real, or a bad idea. I am still mad – so I’ll start with the negative.
Con – why running is an abusive bastard that should stay in the doghouse
* Sometimes running leaves me feeling beat down and tired. And drained. Or injured.
* Running is very demanding – it wants a Commitment. You know, that race thing? Once I sign up for a race I have to TRAIN for it. I can’t just dance in and do well, I have to work hard for this relationship. Running’s all, “well, you wanted it, you better work for it!” Stupid running.
* Running, you make me work hard, and ya know what? Sometimes, I just don’t feel like it.
* Running can a very expensive relationship, what with the shoes and the clothes.
* Not even my children get me up before 5, but running? Gets me up at all hours of the day, and makes me work. Not. Fair.
* Sometimes running leaves me very unsatisfied. I work very hard to make my runs happy, and at the end I just feel spent.
Pro – Why running is a big sweetie who takes care of me and makes me happy
* Most of the time after running, I feel good. Every time I do a big long training run that puts me toward a goal, I feel beat initially, then I feel good about putting miles in the bank.
* OK, true confession time: I’m a total mileage whore. I like looking at big numbers at the end of the month and saying ‘wow running, that’s so big.’
* I like our time together. I feel pretty divided between work and family, and I enjoy the time I get to spend with running.
* I have a spiritual relationship with running. My runs are meditation time for me. Especially on weekends, the big long stuff spent on the mountain or on trails is like time in Church for me.
* Running wants commitment, but has made me discover that I am a very goal-oriented person. I like setting a goal, and checking it off.
* If I’m not running, what else would I be doing?
* Most of my friends and extended family have multisport habits of their own, so we don’t really show off to each other. I keep this to myself. Even so, I’m kinda proud of running – it’s pretty badass.
* My extended multisport family include a lot of interesting people that I get to spend time with, who get it, and get me. They know running. I wouldn’t know those people, if it weren’t for running. When my friends say “Hey let’s do this thing!” they usually find that I’m a pretty easy sell.
* Food tastes better after running, and running doesn’t make me feel guilty about what I eat. Thanks for the pizza, run!
* Running helps me sleep better.
* I think it might be running’s fault that I look pretty damned good for an old lady.
* OK, so, running may chew me up sometimes, but because of running, I know that I like challenging myself. It is not one of my brighter characteristics, but I’m known to accept challenges just because they sound hard. That’s running’s fault, and it’s not a bad thing. I kinda like it.
* Running gives me a three-way: it’s one way that I can connect with the Spouse, for he too is a runner. He is part of the reason that I got into this thing: I watched him running and admired his form (where I have a gait like a mentally challenged chicken, he’s a natural runner). He too is of the ‘huh, that sounds hard, I’ll do that’ philosophy, though he is a bit pickier than I on selecting his challenges.
* Running has taken me to some pretty danged cool places on training runs and races that I never would have otherwise gone to. And running’s pretty good about taking me out often.
* Running has taught me about the world outside in ways I never thought of before. Because of running, I now understand the weather. And daylight hours.
* Thanks to running, I understand the rhythms of the wildlife. I often come home from runs and tell my kids Wildlife stories.
* Running has showed me some great places to take the kids and has helped me learn to keep up with them when we go
* Running lets me have post-workout flake-out time with the kids…like, hardcore flake-out time. with movies and popcorn!
* I must enjoy running, because I can feel a strong pull to do some more. I’m feeling like I already need running back into my life – I send it away for a week and then I start scrambling for what to do as the next race. I’m pretty well programmed to have running as part of my life right now.
Why the crazy stupid long commitment, anyway? Have you lost your mind?
I have a history.
I’ve done 3 Ironmans, and I enjoyed each one in its own way, they were all wonderful. I enjoy the training, I enjoy the racing. After St. George though, me and Ironman went on a break.
I’ve known running for awhile now, we’ve always been friends. Then, at Leadville, I saw running in a way I’d never seen it before. I haven’t felt this way I’d first thought of doing a triathlon: running can be a really big deal – and it kind of scares me. It was like meeting Ironman for the first time all over again — could I do it? Was it possible? The thought of running like that took my breath away.
Running seems to want longer and longer commitments of me – it’s no longer happy with these little baby 5K distances, it wants me to prove that I’m in this for real. Up until now, I’ve gone with it — the relationship has been good, and I can see a future together.
Someday maybe I’ll go back to Ironman, and we’ll work it out for the better. Meanwhile, I really want to see if I can make this thing with running work.
If I don’t take running back, what will I do with myself?
Watch more TV? Knit? I admit that there have been times when I’ve been dog tired and I’m faced with running, and I can think of plenty of things I’d rather do (empty the catbox? laundry? sounds good!). And then I remember that it’s not about running, it’s about me.
A few years ago I reconnected with an old college friend who was not so impressed with my aspiration to do an Ironman. He was not an endurance sport junkie, though he was given to running from time to time. As I recall, he asked me something along the lines of, why spend all your time doing that? Why not doing something worthwhile, like become a better parent? Or invent something cool? It wasn’t as if he thought I wasn’t capable of doing this, in fact, I get the impression that he felt I was capable of achieving whatever goal I set. What I heard from him is that he didn’t think that an Ironman was a worthy use of my resources.
I have thought about this question a lot, especially when my parenting skills tank and I feel low energy dealing with my kids.
I have an answer: There is no right answer to this question. All goals are relative, and mine are about me. For other people, other things will be more important and more worthy aspirations. For me, my priorities are equally important — I place equal emphasis on my parental aspirations as I do my personal goals. I’d like to thank him for asking up front unashamedly one of the hardest questions I’ve ever entertained, and making me come up with my own food for thought.
If I take running back into my life, what will I do different the next time?
Obviously, that wasn’t 100% smooth the last time. If I’m really going to make it work for my next extended commitment with running (hey, one day at a time, right?), some things will need to change. . .
If running is going to ditch me again, I need to learn to keep myself company and take care of myself. I have figured out that I will be out there for a long, long, long time – and after awhile, I really bore the crap out of myself. I would like to practice dissasociation, or perhaps get into transcendental mediation. Running’s cool and all, but if I get hurt, I need to take care of myself. I want to practice different means of coping with my own discomfort with uncertainty and discomfort with discomfort.
Running and I need to spice it up – I’m talking training specificity: more training on the terrain and elevation of every race. Well, that’s just a good idea anyway, but still. I get it.
I need to dress better – I don’t think running’s too impressed with my road shoes on those trails. Running’s hard enough, but when you add in rocks and long long longity long runs, well, a girl’s wardrobe should really be complete. I mean, this is a general rule for life anyway, right?
So I wrote this list and I thought hard. . . Swimming was OK, but I really don’t see that relationship going anywhere. . .But I want to be sure this time. I don’t want to hurt myself again. So I got a new pair of trail shoes, and I took them to the mountains to reconnect with running a little bit. Just to see — no commitment, right?
I hiked and ran some trails, and really, I thought it went pretty well. No dishes were thrown, no tears were shed. We didn’t fight, we weren’t angry with each other.
I felt like running has been gone forever, but really, it’s only been a week and a bit. I decided to have a real go at it, and I went for an extended date — the first real time together after Old Pueblo.
Maybe it’s a sign — because that familiar embrace was so comfortable. My body protested, but my head said “Yes!”
So I decided to commit. Running said “Valles Caldera” and I said OK. I think this time it’ll be different.