What Running Taught Me About Love

If you would’ve asked me 3 years ago if I️ was a runner, I️ would have definitely laughed in your face. The idea of sweating, cramping and being sore was not appealing to me whatsoever. I️ really didn’t understand runners, and the joy they found in battering their muscles and bones against the pavement.

 

So, what got me out on the trails? A boy. Yeah, typical I️ know. I️ had just gotten out of a hard relationship with a messy breakup, and I️ was ready to unleash my revenge bod (as Khloé Kardashian would say) on that boy who didn’t know what he had when he had it.

Anger, hurt and a general sense of being pissed off at the world got me running. It was a fiery drive that pushed me further and further each day. I️ had an amazing angry-girl playlist that pounded in my ears and all the way down through my toes. It was exhilarating to get outside in the sunshine and sweat and heave and hammer the sidewalk, harder and faster with every new Demi declaration, “Now I’m out here looking like revenge. Feelin’ like a ten. The best I ever been”.

But the truth was, I️ wasn’t feeling like a 10. I️ was nowhere close to that complete, that whole. With time, I️ realized the reason that breakup hurt me so much was because I️ was relying on that person to complete me. To fill holes of insecurity, doubt and love that I️ felt were missing.

This realization kinda knocked the wind out of me on one late afternoon run. I️ stopped to catch my breath with a little under 2 miles still to go from home. I️ was alone on some back road and the sun was going down. The motivation I️ had found in the angry-girl playlist was gone, and I️ really thought about calling an Uber to just drive me the rest of the way; defeated, confused and sad.

But then, something switched and I️ became angry again. This time however, I️ wasn’t angry with him or with any of the other men that had passed through my life since; I️ was angry with myself. What was I️ doing? I️ was just going to quit? Like that? That was not the woman I️ was raised to be. That was not the person I️ wanted to be. Who had I️ become? Where was the young, stubborn, spit-fire I️ use to be, who didn’t give a damn what anyone else thought and had more confidence than was probably good for her? I️ was infuriated.

With this new fire to reclaim myself, I️ all but sprinted the rest of the way home. No music, just thoughts and memories and declarations running through my head, sometimes escaping to the outside world; “You can do this.” “Don’t stop.” “F***ing move!”

This was the most therapeutic moment of my life. I️ remember crossing the finish line at my front door step and collapsing on the porch. I️ was overcome with a sense of accomplishment. This goal, though small, I️ had not only achieved, but blown out of the water. It reminded me that I️ am capable of anything I️ put my mind to. And that ability makes me so incredibly worthy of love and joy and respect from the people I️ choose to bring into my life, in any capacity. I️ began to remember the person I️ was before I️ thought I️ had to find love.

The world tells us, particularly as women, that we need to find this “other half” to complete us and to make us happy. We have to find prince charming with our lost glass slipper if we’re ever going to to make it to the ball. But that’s a lie. You can be, and I️ would say need to be, happy on your own before you try to look for a partner. Honestly, why even look? The right person will come along when you start living the life you are supposed to live, being the person you are meant to be.

The most important love is the love you have for yourself. Let it fill every scar and insecurity and hole that life has ever left you with.

So now, three years later, I️ still run. But I️ don’t do it to fill a void; I️ run for me. When I️ learned to find love on the inside, running became a meditation and a reminder of my power. I️ run to remind myself that I️ can do anything, be anything, and no goal is out of reach if I️ just keep going. Even if I️ have to walk, I️ don’t stop.

I’m in a new relationship now with a man who is so good, sometimes I️ have to pinch myself. He treats me with respect, compassion, and understanding. I️ am so thankful to have found him, but at the same time, I️ understand that I️ don’t need his love to complete me. I️ am whole on my own, filled with love from within. He is an inspiring, intelligent, kind, amazing addition to my life, but not a missing piece I️ had to find for completion.

And that’s the difference. That is what I️ learned about love when I️ started running. I️ am strong and more than able to complete the journey alone. But, if someone comes along that wants to run beside me, we can both push on together, even better.

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If you are interested in beginning a running routine I️ HIGHLY recommend theThe "Running" App app “Running”. It’s really great because the routines start very easy – a mix of jogging and walking – and gradually get harder over 8 weeks. The program has you running 3 days a week, your choice of date and time. The app tells you exactly what to do, with a trainer in your ear and a count down display along the way. #1 rule, don’t stop. Even if you have to walk, don’t stop. By week eight you are doing a mix of running and sprinting for upwards of 5 miles. An accomplishment I never thought I could tackle, but anyone can do it if you’re willing to commit.

And if you’re in a place where a person and/or anger is fueling the start of your journey, here is the playlist (Revenge Bod) I️ used when I️ first started running. It is eclectic and not for everyone, but maybe you’ll like some of the jams. I️ hope you don’t need it for long.

 Before taking on any workout routine you should consult your doctor and be sure it is right for you. All exercise should be paired with a healthy diet.