Sunday, July 24, 2011

Running Relationships

I was at the beach the other day, having perfectly normal conversation with the family. I was about to respond with a story I had read from one of the blogs, but stopped myself. Since then I have referred to things or people I read about in the blogs.

At what point is it weird? I have never met these people, but following their blogs has become important to me. I know I don't really know them, but the information I get and the feeling that we are in the same boat has been increasing since I started blogging. My blog doesn't count as friends, but what does it count as? Just another support system? But that's friends, right? I want a running circle in real life. I miss having my girlfriends close and it's probably not a coincidence that I only follow female runners.

This brings me to Kristin Armstrong's 'Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run'. There really are 26.2 chapters, all focused on the different aspects of running that Armstrong experiences:

Warmup, Beginnings, Friendship, Healing, Play, Mothers, Kids, Endurance, Body, Freedom, Identity, Confidence, Fear, Burdens, Peace, Purpose, Passion, Hills, Clarity, The Wall, Balance, Love/Hate, Race Day, Pace, Roadblocks, Gratitude, Epilogue (this is chapter 26.2)

She had amazing insight and comfort in each of these chapters and I looked forward to each chapter for more of these pearls of wisdom. In her chapter, 'Love/Hate' I found something I had been missing; she talks about having 'The Talk' with running. She explains that sometimes she just needs a break, as in any long-term relationship:

It was time to take some time off, maybe even see other people (yoga, Pilates, walking, more time in the gym?). I was tired of always being such a serious couple, contemplating where we were going together and what the future holds...You aren't new and exciting anymore....And as long as we are being honest here, sometimes you can be a major pain in my a** (or my hamstrings or my knees...)....But on second though, we do have it pretty good, you and I. If I were to wake up on a crisp morning and see our favorite shoes in my closet, I must admit, I would really miss you. If I went on a vacation to a beautiful place, and had to explore it without you, I would be lost. If we weren't together and I saw you with someone else, I think I would feel kind of sick. (pg. 229)

But running isn't like this for me. It's hard for me. I struggle. I suffer. I get discouraged. I get mad. I celebrate, sometimes. I love it the way you love a rivalorous sibling, a deep-tissue massage, a session with your therapist, childbirth, or a big fight with someone you love. It doesn't always feel good in the moment, but ultimately you are a better person for it. (pg. 231)

There is a unique beauty to pursuing the glow that resides just beyond our reach. (pg. 231)

It made me feel so good to read this, because I do love running, but I'm not very good at it and sometimes I get frustrated. The book wasn't all good though, something irked me all the way through. Armstrong talks a lot about loving yourself and setting a good example for children - especially for young girls developing self-esteem and self-image. Yet, throughout the book she talks about how she's not a great runner, and really struggles at yoga and isn't so good at.... It got old. Give me a break, she runs marathons! In my mind she is in a different category of runner and it was annoying to hear her talk of herself as 'ordinary'. I didn't feel closer to her when she talked this way, but instead felt a bit, well, mocked. I doubt that was her intention, but it's like your beautiful who always says they are ugly and fat. I get it that they probably believe that, but for those of us who really do have love-handles and muffin-tops, it's simply frustrating! Still, I encourage you to read the book. It's a quick, easy read and definitely one with words of wisdom. 


  1. I think everyone gets frustrated at some point, but the point that you do LOVE it makes it so worth it! I always talk about stuff going on in the blog world, at least to ryan. I absolutely consider everyone I talk to on a regular basis through blogs a friend! I would be so unmotivated without you guys, so that feels like friendship to me!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this. I know what you mean about missing having girlfriends close by... I moved from CA to FL about 7 months ago, and it has been a giant pain in the butt to find new friends (and especially to find new running buddies)! For me, running was one of the "good friends" I took with me, but I've been running for more than a decade. I'm past the "seven year itch" that happens in some relationships. I'm at the point where running keeps me sane. ;)

    I started blogging as a way to keep in touch with everyone (and to fill all that extra time in my schedule).

    (PS - I think you have a point about the self-deprecating tone in the book.)

  4. I started my blog for people I didn't know... you can only have so many pregnant runner's in your own circle of people. But I agree with you that you start to feel like you really know these people. I don't think it's weird. Hopefully we all have at least a person or two we can connect with in real life, though. Keep running! You're doing great!

  5. I know what you mean about sharing stories that I read on blogs. I love the blogging world and while I do have lots of friends here, there aren't any that I run with or share this experience with. In fact, my IRL friends who read my blog tell me they tune out when I get all into running stuff.

  6. @Beth - I am glad to hear that you felt that too about her self-depreciating tone.

    I am also glad to hear that I am not the only one who gets so much from reading blogs. Thanks y'all!