Running is a relationship. There are good days, and there are bad days, and if you get lazy in the relationship, you end up missing out on a lot of the fun and benefits of it.
I fell out of love with running in 2010. I achieved my goal. 2:50:18. 220 lbs – which that journey started at 390.
I hate that I gave up. I hate that my brain said “Hey, Ben, it’s OK! We did it! We ran the half, now it’s time to be lazy!”
And like that, over the course of 7 years, 2 years of hard work were absolutely destroyed and rendered useless.
My essay on running the half marathon will make its way on this blog soon, but as a second edition type article, so I feel giving a preface now is a wise idea.
My passion got reignited a few months ago. I woke up, stepped on the scale and saw the numbers were over 400. I hated myself and in that moment realized it was time to start running again and to stop making excuses.
A broken relationship didn’t fuel this desire. Yes, I was in love. Yes, I had serious future plans with this person, and no, I don’t think running another half marathon will prove a point or get this person to fall in love with me. I don’t want that. That’s not what the breakup was about.
The real reason I started this again? Because I want to feel sexy again.
Why is that such a weird sentence to write as a male?
I took care of myself. I ran. I lifted weights. I swam. I played soccer. I had confidence. And that led to getting hit on at bars, which was a brand new experience in my life and I loved it. I want to chase that feeling again.
I wore clothes from Banana Republic and Express and I loved that I was changing my style from what comfortably fits to what fits and looks in-style.
But then I ran a half-marathon and felt I had made it and it was time to coast. It also didn’t help that the relationship I was in at that time was very anti-active lifestyle. I had gotten a taste of the lazy-life again and I felt comfortable again.
What’s different this time around? Not a whole lot. I had to do some serious digging in old notes and files on what worked. The truth of what worked the last time? Andy. I wish I knew what it was that he did that influenced me to get out there and run.
I’ve taken my routine back to the basics of what did work in college, only adjusted for a 9-5ish work schedule. I try every night when I’m home to try and do some “homework” and then go for a run. Changing the mentality has helped. I will say, this is one part where I miss having a roommate or a constant running partner, but even that looks to be changing (thanks, Stephen!).
What I’ve learned is that being fat leaves me feeling like a turtle – slow and quiet. But being in shape and active, well, that makes me a hare: quick and lively. I’ve had a lot of people compliment my recent success of weight loss (hey, I’m down 55 lbs. since June and that’s pretty flipping awesome) and they’re also noticing that my personality has changed.
When cornered, I don’t shrivel and wet myself. I’m a showman. I have my father to thank for that. As much hurt and heartache I may be carrying internally, I will always put on a show. But those that have known me and know this about me have been the ones really noticing that there’s more sincerity in my change.
I even did a quick 5-minute open-mic night a few nights ago. Just some stand-up material that was found in an old journal. Got some laughs. Got heckled. It was great to feel like my old self again.
And that’s a relationship in a nutshell, folks: good days and bad. Giving and taking. Learning and growing. Love and loss.
But like any tried-and-true relationship, it takes time, effort, and hard work. But before you can really start attacking this like I did, you have to forgive yourself for the damage you’ve done and learn to love yourself every day.
I’m falling back in love with running.