Want to know how much of a weirdo I am? Read this post, My Love Letter to Running. If you are a runner, you will understand. If you are not a runner, I hope you have something in your life that makes you feel this way. That makes you feel strong, alive, and brings you unrelentless joy.
This post is more for me than for any of the readers, but if you take the time to read, I hope you enjoy. And maybe you can write a love letter to something that you are in love with. In fact, if you have read this post, maybe you will agree that writing love letters is one way to improve your happiness.
We have been together for a while now. We first met in 2009 when my version of a run was one loop around my neighborhood. My neighbor, Jen, was out running one day and this sparked my interest. I am pretty sure I wore a puffy coat and old cheerleading shoes on my first run. But that one loop turned into 3 loops and there was my first mile.
I remember our first 5k together, of course I teared up when the gun went off and again when I crossed the finish line. But it was game over after that, I knew I had to keep you in my life.
Oh my goodness
To think that this moment could have never happened for me breaks my heart and brings tears to my eyes. My interest for you turned into an infatuation & a daily routine, and a love so very deep has emerged.
You have given me so much. Even when I went through some hard times in my life, you consistently showed up for me. And of course, I loved you too much to abuse you. When I was at my worst with my eating disorder, I didn’t use you as punishment for what I ate or for how I looked. I used you as freedom from my life, from whatever I was feeling and going through. From break ups and parent’s going through a divorce, losing family and friends, being homesick, and everything in between.
We have been through hail so bad, a stranger pulled over to offer me a ride home. Winds so hard that I had a scab in my nostril. And we have gone to the bathroom in inappropriate places.
We ran the Boston Marathon in 90 degree weather. We ran the Boston Marathon after only training in the pool (yes we spent 3 hours in the pool for our “long runs”). And we ran the Boston Marathon in such cold and wet weather that people were running with duct tape over oven mitts and plastic bags over their shoes. We also ran the year after the horrible incident in 2013. I have never witnessed so much love and so much support for a race. I could not straighten my elbow after the race from all of the high fives with what felt like a million spectators.
You are my favorite part of traveling. You open my eyes to the beauty of life and mother nature. I love finding new roads, new ways to get places with you. We have seen the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and enormous moons.
Sure we have had some bad times. I felt my own pelvis fracture while we were running. But once again, I respected you too much too try and come back from the injury too soon. We have ran around and around in circles on a track or in a parking lot to get the miles in when I did not feel safe running alone. Including 20 miles on the treadmill.
We have watched all of the seasons of Friends 5 times, Once Upon a Time twice, and How I Met Your Mother. And we have jammed out to some pretty awful playlists and some pretty inspiring podcasts.
We have won races, earned money, and we have inspired so many people. We have been swerved at, honked at, inappropriately yelled at, and have even seen a Moose.
When I was single and in love with you, nothing really mattered. I could run with you whenever I wanted. But when we met Jose, we had to at first make room for him. But he quickly learned that you had a special place in my heart and in my routine. He graciously became understanding of our consistent, long-distance dates every Saturday morning.
I would much rather go to sleep early like a granny on a Friday night than to stay up late and miss the sunrise with you.
How can you still give me butterflies after a decade of running love?
Most importantly, you have given me so much confidence, strength, and my identity. No matter what is happening in my life or in the world, you continue to show me how resilient I am. And you made me realize I needed to change what I was doing to myself. You opened my eyes to my body and started me on the path to recovery.
Last year, we pushed the limits together and we ran 30 miles for my 30th Birthday. Then this weekend we pushed even further and ran our first 50k without much long distance training in the past 8 months.
During the 31.2 miles, you reminded me of how much I love you. But you also reminded me of how strong the human heart is.
Our bodies can literally be screaming at us to stop doing something, but if our heart is in it, there is no stopping us. This is true, as long as you know this to be true of yourself. We need to be put in situations that require us to make a decision like this, or we won’t ever know of the true strength of our hearts.
Luckily, with running, I have learned this lesson time and time again. But this lesson was so powerful this weekend. I have never had such a strong desire to stop running, to just give my legs a break and walk, but my heart would not let me. My heart wanted my body to prove to itself and to my mind that we could do it, that I am strong, and I can do whatever I desire. This was a much needed reminder.
Thank you for teaching me that I can do anything, as long as my heart is in it. Thank you for making me feel so alive, powerful, and confident. Thank you for being there on good days and bad days, during tears and laughs, trips and falls, and through it all.
I hope I never have a life without you. I love you.