There are many reason that I've run throughout the years: Anxiety, depression, bullying, emotional abuse, escape. But during the second half of 2009, I ran because of heartbreak. This is a glimpse of where I was:
Okay, I’ll admit it. I was recently dumped. And not in a let-you-down-easy kinda way. I mean I got carelessly tossed out the window and lay broken on the ground before I even knew I was up in the air. Heartbreak shows on a person’s face, and what I’ve realized lately is that those who are suffering the same malady can see it in the eyes of others. There’s a common bond of suffering; the rejection, the anger, the loneliness, the lingering questions and self-doubt. Since the Big Dump of ’09, I’ve been meeting more and more women at the store who are going through the same thing – or worse. Each woman contains at once a shuddering fragility and a prodigious strength that amazes me. Women who once had come to the running store with husbands, boyfriends, fiances, now sit facing me alone on the couch, shoes scattered like irreconcilable lies, and we talk of piecing our lives back together. We laugh: open-mouthed, sarcastic, tacitly understanding, conspiratorial laughs that reach out where hands can’t touch. We speak of equivocating lovers, over-shopping for one, sleeping on sofas, programming remotes, wincing at memories, and the sudden overwhelming need to run as fast as humanly possible.
I have always loved to run. Running is my communion, my awakening, my catharsis, my OM. I run to feel free, to feel whole and alive. Lately, I run because I Can’t Not Run. Sometimes I slip up and I let myself think of How Things Were; rainy mornings are given to indulgence. Then the kernel in my stomach flickers and contracts, and I know I need to get outside, find my rhythm and run away the pain. Fast. I tell you what: getting dumped sucks but it sure is great for your PR.
My friend (of aforementioned sofa) told me that “Pain stretches the heart to make more room for love.” My heart currently feels like a Roman mausoleum. But this weekend is my first trail marathon of the season, with plans for an ultra in the works. I won’t let my mistakes be my undoing. I’ll be the one laughing at the finish line.