Running: a Love Letter

Dear Running,

I’m writing to apologize, and to say that I’m so happy we’ve found that spark again.

I know it’s been a journey. And I’m glad you’ve stuck by me, even when it probably seemed like I was abandoning you. I like to think that you’re wiser than I am and that you always knew we’d reconcile. And I’m sorry to relate that there were times I contemplated removing you from my profiles and bios because keeping your name there as part of what identifies me felt like it was becoming a lie.

But all that time, deep down inside, I still really felt you were a part of me. Even if we weren’t spending time together; even if my attempts to keep a date with you led, seemingly inevitably and with increasing intensity, to debilitating anxiety that would keep me in the house, in the car, in bed. I knew that spending time with you was just the thing I needed to crush that anxiety, to launch me headlong into jubilance, actually.

There had been too many times that my runs had led me into areas washed away, damaged by the flooding. There were too many broken pathways, missing pieces of land, piles of driftwood and debris. I lost nothing in the flood aside from my favourite running path. It turns out, though, that that’s not nothing.

Life stress and changes and actual monumental transitions made getting out difficult. I was adjusting to being a step-parent of four; to a huge change in my anchor relationships; to a new home and to unfamiliar job situations.

I’m sorry. I’m not trying to make excuses. I’m writing to you because I want you to know how much I missed you — I know now. I felt before that I was missing you but I didn’t truly know how much until I came back to you.

I feel joy again when we’re together. I’m excited to explore new trails together. I’m excited to see how high we can climb; how fast we can run; how far we can take this. I remember now why I first fell in love.

I read once that if you write, you’re a writer. I love this sentiment and bought into it wholeheartedly; and I also applied it to running. If you run, you’re a runner. It doesn’t matter how far nor how fast, nor if you take walk breaks. But what about when you don’t run? What if you simply crave running every day; if you think all the time about starting again; if you manage to get out for a slow 3 km about once a month? Are you still a runner? What if you can remember the feeling of flying down the path, feet swift beneath you, your toes finally warming up a kilometre into the route; the endorphins finally pumping through your veins; the high after you get home, hair a mess, sweaty, red-faced? Are you still a runner if you’re not actually running?

I have decided that we were meant to be together. Even before I met you and made a commitment, to call myself a runner for life, I was a runner. I didn’t know it. I doubted my ability to run more than a block. Running seemed like hell (I’m sorry! I didn’t know you then!). Even when I came in last place in my one and only cross country race in junior high. Even when I took a two-year hiatus which I spent feeling guilty, almost all the time.

I am a runner. You never left me. And now I know that you’ll always be there for me. And that means a lot.

Excuse me now, I have a letter to write to Writing.





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