There comes a time in most relationships when passion wanes and you begin to operate on autopilot. You forget what drew you to each other in the first place, your mind starts to wander, you may even seek a diversion outside your partnership. No, I’m not talking about marriage (even though I’m sure that’s true of some), I’m talking about running.
Over the last year, my passion for running has cooled. I’ve struggled for motivation, dealt with injury, looked forward to tapers and time off with a little too much relish. But, because I’m no stranger to long term relationships, I know that this, too, will pass. That eventually the passion will return and I’ll remember why I fell in love with running. I’ve learned that the secret to overcoming that lack of passion is to “fake it til you make it.” In other words, keep moving forward. Find your motivation anywhere you can, race a new distance or location, set new goals, maybe find a running partner. Run even when you don’t feel like it, when you see no discernible difference in your speed or endurance, or when your mind screams, “Stop!” Just keep running. Maybe throw in some cross training, but if running is your heart’s desire, then you just have to run.
An enduring relationship with running is just like any other relationship. It takes work, discipline, mental toughness, and sometimes, creativity. Why keep going? The same reason you stick it out in any relationship. It’s part of who you are.
Running for me has been a dream maker, a companion, a comfort, a cathartic release, a creativity boost, a way to iron out problems in my mind, a time to grow closer to God. It’s carried me through the illness and death of my parents, family struggles, financial woes, the sting of criticism and rejection, and the ongoing journey to discover my way. It feeds me, nourishes me, punishes me, disciplines me, humbles me. It allows me quality time with God, a time to hear God’s voice and meditate on His promises. It threatens revolt when I don’t eat well and kicks my butt accordingly. It makes stair climbing easier, gives life to my legs and lungs, and enables me to live a life filled with adventure. It gives me strength and makes me stronger, it strips away all pretense and reminds me that I’m not Superwoman, I’m just an old broad who runs who can accomplish whatever she sets her mind to.
I’ve been watching the Olympics along with the rest of the world, and even though I like the summer games better (with its track and field events), I’ve really enjoyed watching the athletes as they compete in their disciplines. It takes a great deal of mental toughness to make it to that level and I want to soak up as much of that by osmosis as I can. Watching Noelle Pikus-Pace’s silver medal skeleton run and her heart warming reaction at the end reminded me of the other bonus in my life that keeps me running and helps with mental toughness. My family. I’ve watched the video multiple times now and I’m not ashamed to admit that tears flowed each time. Knowing that others believe in us and are willing to sacrifice to help us accomplish our dreams helps give wings to our feet and brush the cobwebs from our minds. Knowing that the legacy I want to leave for my girls is one of strength and fitness keeps me lacing up those shoes, even on hard days.
I know running and I will get through this relationship crisis. We’ve gone too many miles together to stop now.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.