My father used to send me running magazines and articles when I was young. I think he even bought me a pair of running shoes. He got into a routine of running several miles a day, and encouraged me to do the same. While I enjoyed a light jog, I never really got into it or made it a part of my own daily routine.
I have dated men over the years who have tried to get me into the habit as well. I vividly remember a day back in 2007 when my ex fiancé tried to get me to run six miles from our house and around Kensington Metropark, near our home in New Hudson, Michigan outside of Detroit. Within the first mile, I fell on a piece of slippery wood and hurt my leg badly. “Keep going!” he shouted. “Don’t be a wimp.”
I managed to get up, brush myself off and keep going. It was terrible. I didn’t want to run at all. Instead, a few months later, I called off the wedding and ran in a different way- straight to San Francisco.
When things got hard, I left. Although I have irrationally run away from difficult situations, I was in a verbally abusive relationship; sticking around wasn’t really an option. However, difficult situations and criticism is a huge trigger for me- I fell into a terrible habit of leaving when things got hard. Jobs, apartments, cities, relationships. The smallest things could set me off; but today, I am learning that I don’t need to run any longer.
I remember many examples of this. I was bullied in elementary school and junior high, so I quit activities. I even switched schools in 8th grade. Instead of facing my problems, I avoided them.
I have thought about the wedding that never happened recently; I can’t believe it’s been ten years since he proposed. July 27th, to be exact. This person has been married twice since I left, and I’ve been in a perpetual state of serial monogamy and most recently, avoidance. It’s been almost three years since my last relationship, and now that person has passed away.
It’s quite bittersweet. My relationships are usually intense and short-lived. I have gotten into a habit of choosing people who are emotionally unavailable, in the friend-zone or long distance over the past two and a half years. I used to run because I didn’t have a solid foundation on my own- that is what I am working on today. With every day, I grow a little stronger, a little wiser. I am able to set boundaries with people and understand what is healthy for me.
I have a pair of running shoes tucked somewhere in my closet; this time, the only running I will be doing is along the Charles River or through the park. Today, I no longer have to run from others, but more importantly, from myself.
This time, I’m choosing to run on my own- but it will likely just be a light jog.