Running was My Thing. I started running in high school, off and on, on my own, for me, because I enjoyed it. By the time I graduated from college, I was running 3 to 5 miles, 5 days a week. No training plan, no goals, no idea of my pace. Just… running.
I moved to Albany, NY to take a job as an assistant copywriter at 22. I was married by the time I was 24. A few years later, I went to work for the ex’s family business, frustrated because I just couldn’t quite find my place in Corporate America. Ironically, the Corporate Challenge was my second 5k ever. I was even the Corporate Challenge coach at the marketing firm I worked for!
I was married for 15 years and worked at the family business for 11 of those. 90% of that time, I felt like I was living someone else’s life. It was my choice, but I didn’t realize it then. Or I didn’t want to see it, because I was comfortable. Miserable, but comfortable
And I kept running. It was the only thing about my life that felt like My Life. Until he highjacked it. And I allowed it.
The ex wanted to run a 15k with me. I adapted my training after running solo (happily) for 5 years to include him. At first, it was fun. But it was never enough. I always wanted to do a marathon. He wanted triathlons and Ironman and a triathlon team and training camps and … my simple, healthy gift of running adventures mutated into this big, stressful, complicated, deformed production.
I was losing my grip on the one aspect of my life that felt like My Life. And I allowed it. I suppose I felt like I started it, since I brought running into the marriage. But it was never supposed to become the uncontrollable, unquenchable monster that was slowly devouring my hip and my soul.
I allowed My Running to be highjacked and today I sat down in the middle of my kitchen floor and cried my eyes out over it. He stole it.
He sent the message that running was not enough (so we needed to sign up for this half-iron and that triathlon) and in doing so, sent a message to ME that I was not enough. Not even when I qualified for the 2014 Boston Marathon. It should have been a weekend of celebrating. Instead, I spent the weekend feeling guilty that I qualified and the ex didn’t. Feeling bad for inconveniencing him when he “should have stayed home” because his family and the business needed him.
If I needed more proof that I was not enough, I got it when I found myself sidelined with a stress fracture. While I rehabbed, the ex kept running with other people, including a friend I met at the YMCA. She became his training buddy, then his best friend. And by the time I was cleared to start running again, I felt like a third wheel when running with them, rolling through mile after mile in a state of confusion.
I had some comeback races planned. He stopped showing up at them. It conflicted with the best friend’s schedule. “Sorry, we’re running at this or that time instead.”
I signed up for a marathon to celebrate my birthday. A race in Ventura, CA perfectly timed and placed so that I could finish and catch a train to San Diego and spend the rest of the weekend celebrating both my birthday and a dear friend’s in the California sun.
The ex didn’t come with me. He and his best friend decided to do a different marathon. Then I got into a marathon that ended in our own backyard. Surely he had no excuse for missing THAT race. He didn’t. He and the best friend were there at Mile 20, offering to run with me. In that moment, the person I saw on the side of the bike trail seemed unrecognizable. A stranger.
“That is not your soul mate. Your soul mate would never put your heart in this position” seemed to echo off the ripples of the Hudson River as I ran by it. I asked the ex and the best friend to please leave me alone, and meant it…
They did. And they are still together.
Don’t feel sorry for me, though. Because I got My Life back! I mean, really got it back!!! MY LIFE! One that is in line with my values and what matters to my heart. I have a life in Hawai’i that I am in love with. I married my soul mate and he is passionately committed to my heart and to simply living aloha! He even proposed to me in the middle of HIS Boston Marathon in 2018, so I could “have the Boston experience you deserve.”
Every aspect of My Life feels like the one God put me on this earth to live. But the one aspect of My Life that I never got back was My Running. I’ve been struggling with a hip condition since that Boston Marathon in 2014. It still feels like I let him steal it sometimes. I’m done fighting to get it back.
There was a time when My Running was all I had left of My Life. It was my lifeline, keeping me from utterly and completely losing my soul in a life that wasn’t mine. Perhaps I needed it for her to survive.
I’ve been clinging desperately to My Running. Out of necessity at first. And now? Out of habit perhaps. Even though doing so means I limp for days after something as simple as a 5k.
My hip condition is not an injury. It will not heal. And I’m finally able to accept that, because the thing is, I’m not in Survive Mode anymore. I’d say I’m pretty damn close to being in my version of the Thrive Zone!
That’s why I took the running decal off my car over the weekend. I don’t need it to define me. I am ENOUGH, with or without running. So I let it go. You know what they say about those things.
I believe that the habits we create to survive will fail to serve us when it’s time to thrive.
To My Beloved Running,
You were a gift from God to ensure that My Soul survived a very painful, tumultuous season. I want you to know I made it out of Survive Mode! Mahalo. I love you!
All my aloha, from the Thrive Zone