A Love Letter (aka My Desperate Plea)

Dear Running,

Oh how I’ve missed you these past few weeks. Three weeks and two days to be exact.

552 hours. 33,120 minutes. 1,987,200 seconds.

Not that I’m counting.

I knew a temporary separation was best. After 26.2 grueling miles, I needed a break.

Time to lick my wounds. To let the cuts scab and heal, eventually leaving only faint scars as reminders of what you put me through.

Rest to mend the microscopic damage left in your wake. Muscles, tendons, and joints pushed to the extreme.

Space to dull the undeniable heartache of missed opportunities and unfulfilled dreams.

Yes, I’m strong enough to admit it now. You broke my heart.

HeartBreak

Slowly, I’ve picked up the pieces. Reminded myself it’s ok to grieve, to step back for a bit.

The first week was the easiest. I was exhausted, both physically and mentally. I kept myself busy with work. I enjoyed late mornings and lazy evenings.

I told myself I didn’t even miss you.

The second week I tried, unsuccessfully, to hook up with you. But the effort was strained.  My body was still tired, my wounds still healing.

You gave me a brief glimpse of what we once had. An early morning on the trails. The sun filtering down through the trees. The pine needles soft and forgiving on my legs.

But the next day, the euphoria was nowhere to be found. My legs felt heavy, and my feet stumbled over the rocks and roots. It was still too soon.

And last week, as I fought a cold, I wondered, why even bother? What should have been an easy four miles felt unbelievably difficult. My legs were dead weight. My hips ached with the effort.

How could this be? How could I lose you in such a short time?

I looked at my shoes, abandoned by the front door, their loneliness almost palpable. The bloodstains on the right heel a stark reminder of our last rendezvous.

I replayed the harsh words spoken at mile 21. I wish I could take them back. I was hurting. Not thinking straight. I could never really hate you.

I tried to fill the void, swimming lap after lap. But I quickly lost count, my mind wandering to thoughts of you.

There’s just no substitute. No other sport makes me feel the way you do.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. It’s true. The longer I stayed away, the more I wanted you back.

Try as I might, I just can’t quit you.

Who am I kidding? I never really wanted to. This was never meant to be a permanent split.

You turned me into an adrenaline junkie, and I’m going out of my mind waiting for the next fix.

It’s the way you jack up my heart rate, leaving me breathless and shaking after a blistering session at the track. It’s how you push me out of my comfort zone to achieve new tempos and paces. It’s the beautiful rhythm we find together, eating up the pavement and single track.

ComfortZone

But it’s more than that, really.

You reshaped me, head to toe, inside and out. Not only did you whittle away the excess, tightening and toning, but you also revealed inner strength, beauty, and confidence.

They were always there, but you helped me embrace them. To own the swagger in my step.

It’s the sum of all those parts I can’t live without. No matter how many times you break my heart, I’m willing to forgive and forget.

I’m in this for the long haul.

Some will say I’m crazy, just opening the door to more pain.

But many more will understand. They know this kind of love changes a person. Once you experience it, you can never go back.

Prefontaine_Wonder

Yes, you’ll still let me down, disappoint me even. But those times are few and far between. The exception; not the rule. More often, you lift me up and help me believe. In myself.

That’s the thing about love. If we open our hearts, allow ourselves to be vunerable, and give more than we expect to gain, we’ll be constantly surprised at the love we receive in return.

So, what do you say? After this time apart, can we start over again?

Pretty please.

Forever yours,

Nicole


Runners, do you get lovesick when you’re not running? Non-runners, do you have a passion that drives you to overly dramatic extremes?

68 thoughts on “A Love Letter (aka My Desperate Plea)

  1. So perfectly put!! I could not have written a better letter myself. You really nailed the love affair that is running and, as with all love affairs, there are tough times. You have given me strength today without even knowing it. I’ve had a nagging IT issue since early Nov and have not given myself the break I need. I ran a good 5K yesterday and promised to take this week off from running. Seeing as you’ve taken three, I can easily get through one, right? Right? RIGHT????
    Allie recently posted…My Husband’s First 5K!My Profile

    • I’m so glad this love letter spoke to you, Allie! Take care of that IT issue. ITB injuries are no joke, and you don’t want it to become a serious problem! I’m trying to get over this dang cold that has me down for the count. I did manage to get a few miles in on the dreadmill today, but it was not pretty.

  2. My dad is a runner. I’m sending him this post. He’s in his 70s now and is only doing biking now because his knees are shot, but he will be the first to tell you NOTHING…NOTHING IN THE WORLD is as awesome as running. He pines for it, even to this day. He will wax poetic about running like it *is* a long lost love. You runners!!

    I think it’s great you are taking a break to give your body a rest. Good for you! And good for you for having an exercise love that is so strong and wonderful in your life. –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted…We Do Want THIS “Cole” in Our StockingMy Profile

    • Ohhhh, I love that you’re sharing this with your Dad, Lisa. Thanks! I bet he was a fierce competitor in his day. And, yes, we runners are a crazy breed. Come join us, my friend!

    • Swimming was my first love, followed by running. Forget those silly boys! And YAY for the honeymoon phase. I’m looking forward to rekindling the romance with some serious trail running in the next few months.

  3. No passions that drive me to the extreme I believe; however, yesterday the deep desire to make headway on a project did push me forward. I compared it to my hub as a combination of training for a big race and being given a free entry at a fabulous race.

    That all morphed into 3 hours of clearing heavy pines, branches, limbs, and cutting another 2 piles yesterday. I was moving limbs over 6 inches in diameter and easily 20 feet long that I never knew I could physically move, as they were suspended and caught on other limbs and trees.

    They were in an area that we wanted to be cleared and the previous owners had left them there. My determination was motivated by our children. It’ll be a play space for Susanna, her big bro won’t have to do the work when he’s out here, and there’s NO way I’d have done that pregnant. In order to add to our family, the work had to be done. Children= great motivators for producing unknown feats and moments of strength on all levels.’
    Wendy @ New Moms Talk recently posted…The MeetingMy Profile

    • Thanks, Jennifer! There’s always room in this crazy love affair for another runner. Come get hooked with us! And you’re right…we shouldn’t deny our passions and feelings for the things we truly love.

  4. Running is the bad boy I’ve been chasing for over 20 years. I’ve been heartbroken more times than I can tell you but I always go back. And you’re right. There is nothing else like it. I’m not surprised you’re ready to get back with him. And if/when you fall again (although of course I hope this doesn’t happen), we’re all here to catch you.
    Ilene recently posted…The BridgeMy Profile

    • There’s just something about those bad boys, isn’t there Ilene? I’m sure I’ll stumble and trip again, but that’s just part of the journey. It’s great to know I have so many awesome friends to help me dust off and keep moving.

  5. Oh this is brilliant. Running, you cruel heartbreaker! Oh I have been here, with people and with..things like running, but not running. Running isn’t two-timing with us both, although how lucky would he (she? it?) be if he (she? it?) were.
    Tamara recently posted…Invisible Mama.My Profile

    • Ba ha ha ha, Tamara. Even if running isn’t two-timing me with you, I’m pretty sure it’s million-timing me with all of the other crazy runners out there. Running gets around!

  6. <3 For me, there is just something, and intangible "it" that pulls me in time and time again. I can never quite put my finger on what it is, but I can sure dance around it and describe my competitive nature, my love of all things "hard", my desire to stay fit, etc. But nothing fully explains WHY I hammer myself with running the way I do. Well, besides sheer love.
    Crystal@TheFastFitRunner recently posted…St Jude’s Memphis Marathon – the Marathon that wasn’tMy Profile

  7. I do associate with this as a runner – true, my version of running is a slower pace, a shorter distance, but it’s that stride I’d find that happened after the mile-1 aches and mile-2 doubt that lifted me – i found that ‘sheen’ I’d call it, that rise in body temperature and engine rev that you can get only when you’ve climbed the hill.

    I feel this way in the soccer offseason. I pine for it. I want the anticipation of a first practice, arriving early with a bag of soccer balls pumped, pennies washed, just to see what is there and what could be. To teach, to struggle, to learn, to try, to second-guess, to win, to lose, to wonder what the hell just happened.

    So yeah, I get it. I have a love that does the same to me, and it gets me at the most basic core of me. You can’t ignore love like that.
    Eli@coachdaddy recently posted…Elf of a Shelf, Chicano Style: Why Ours Could Beat Up YoursMy Profile

    • That’s the beauty of running. It’s an equal opportunity sport. It doesn’t matter whether you’re pounding the pavement or flying down the single track, racking up the long miles or rockin’ a 5K. Either way, you’re a runner, and you reap the benefits of pumping adrenaline and endorphins.

      It sounds like you have a long-standing love affair with the beautiful game too. There is much to be learned in our relationships with sport. What a great metaphor for life and love!

      Glad you have these loves in your life, Eli. Embrace them and enjoy the crazy ride!

    • I thought more about your comment, Eli. You know what I really love about your passion for soccer? You don’t even play the game, but you still love it so completely. Running is ultimately a selfish endeavor, but coaching is a labor of love and giving. You share your love for the beautiful game with your players, and that makes it truly beautiful.

    • I love that you have such a long-standing relationship with running, Michelle. And such a healthy outlook too. We’ll all be in trouble if/when you decide to start racing again!!

  8. Just loved how you expressed yourself with what our wonderful little past time does to us. For me running is as much a part of me as I am a part of running. You throw the mountain trails in there and it is a double wammy. Remember the body needs activity to begin feeling physically good again. It does not necessarily need hard running, but a fun and relaxing run through the woods. Go out and enjoy your next run as your body will tell you when the competitive juices are flowing again!

    • You’re absolutely right, Rick! There’s nothing better than hitting the trails and soaking up the splendor of single track! As soon as I get over this nasty cold, I’ll be all over the trails!

  9. You are the best, Nicole. I love this! :) Thanks for tweeting about it!!
    I do feel this way ~ I never thought I would, but I do. My favorite?

    “You reshaped me, head to toe, inside and out. Not only did you whittle away the excess, tightening and toning, but you also revealed inner strength, beauty, and confidence.”
    Stephanie@nowirun.com recently posted…3, 2, 1…My Profile

  10. Nicole -

    Thanks for pinging us via Twitter and sharing this post with us.

    1.) It’s very well-written. Some great verbiage that really brings your love of the sport the forefront.
    2.) There’s so much of this that reminds me of our entrepreneurial journey with BSX Athletics: Pushing beyond those comfort zones, sometimes getting pretty beat up, but emerging from the other side stronger for our suffering, and satisfied knowing that we’re learning and growing.

    The best part for you? It’s not (really) starting over. You already have a long tumultuous history. Maybe you can’t pick right back up where you left off, but you both know what “right” feels like so you can close the gap (quicker than you realize).

    Best of luck!

    • Thanks for your comment, Ryan! I can only imagine that starting a new business venture is an incredible labor of love! And, you’re absolutely right! I don’t have to start over with running. All of the miles and lessons learned will make me stronger!

    • Yes, running is a relationship I want to be in for a very long time! There are two ladies in our local track club who are in their 80s and still setting state records at all distances. I aspire to follow their amazing example!

  11. Yes! Although after I ran my marathon I took a much longer break than 3 weeks! I have just started getting back into running in the last 6 months, but I haven’t been able to run since early November. I really miss the way I feel when I am running. So strong. Almost invincible.
    Alexa recently posted…Does Google Know it’s my Birthday?My Profile

  12. Very nicely written! The good news is that you’re not starting over. Sure, during those first couple of runs your legs will feel like lead, but that will pass quickly because of the strength you built this summer. Get back on that horse (trail), girlfriend, and enjoy a nice comfortable run and focus only on being in one of your favorite places. The ease of your running will come back before you know it!
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…Look Out For That Flying Deer, And My Rant On Runner Versus JoggerMy Profile

  13. Ahhhh, LOVE THIS POST!!! So beautifully written and it expresses perfectly how I feel about our beloved sport, too! I can relate to all of it. Gosh, I can remember feeling the exact same way after a marathon — wanting to get back out there but my legs (and even my mind) not cooperating. And wondering how I could lose my incredible fitness level in such a short period of time (although, it isn’t really gone — it just feels that way!)

    Have to go share your post now on twitter and my FB page because I love it so much. :)
    Kristen @ Happy Running Mama recently posted…On FriendshipMy Profile

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Kristen! Yes, my mind is playing some serious mind games with me right now, and my legs are just plain tired! But I know this is just part of the crazy give-and-take of any running relationship, and I know it will get better. But for now, I’ll just keep pining for my love…

  14. I feel this way about writing. Not just my blog — that’s more my practice place – but my private journals and poetry books: I get antsy if I don’t write stuff down. It’s how I deal.
    But, I will say after my recent knee injury, I am very much missing the Zumba class that I was doing. It was a lot of fun and a good workout, so I can definitely see myself getting addicted to a fitness routine too. if I can just get this old knee to stop snap cracklin and poppin!
    Rorybore recently posted…Tuesday Coffee Chat: 2013′s BestMy Profile

  15. OMG, I love, love, loved this post! I so understand what you feel… I experience the same thing… lately I am having the same on again off again relationship with writing. I am beyond overwhelmed with trying to promote the book and work. I know the last thing I need to do is think about writing another.. but I am being pulled. I keep trying to break up but then only want to make up…
    Hilary – Dangled Carat / Feeling Beachie recently posted…I saw your face and that’s the last I’ve seen of my heart….My Profile

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  17. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Actually, I couldn’t have even expressed my love for running this well. But I feel exactly the same way about running as you do. Sometimes it’s a love/hate relationship, but the hate part is only ever in the moment. I grew up as a competitive swimmer, and I enjoy hitting the pool, but running has my heart :)
    Meagan recently posted…Marvin the Moose is out of the closetMy Profile

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