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My Funny Valentine by Megan Conner

Photo by Sam Carbine

A relationship is like a house.  When a lightbulb goes out, you don’t go and buy a new house, you fix the lightbulb. - Author Unknown 

I’m single, and seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day soon, I thought I would talk about relationships.  Since there is no BF in my life, I’ll just talk about my relationship with running, which has been very soap-opera-ish and quite up and down.  (Also FYI guys - I am available.)  

I do want to give you a little background on my relationship with running, how we met, made out, broke up, but still like each other a lot, then got back together, broke up again and ultimately ended up in a long-term committed relationship.  Oh, and let’s not forget about how running changed my life and how it continues to change my life daily.  I will get to the sappy stuff later.

What would a good article be without a juicy relationship? Let me preface this by saying that I have been very single for awhile.  I’m one of those people that posts annoying memes on Instagram about being single, yes - that’s me, but although being sans human man relationship, I sometimes I feel like I’m married to running.  I mean that in the best way possible minus the diamond ring, 3 kids, 2 dogs, a cat, and the white picket fence.  Our relationship is a rollercoaster, but like your favorite one in the theme park that you scream “can we go again” while jumping up and down after you’ve ridden it once.  

My relationship with running takes work - but its the good kind of work - the rewarding kind. Running can get you high on happiness or break your heart.  Sound familiar to all of you lovebirds out there?  There are I love you’s on some days and I can’t stand you’s on on a few days.  There are I miss you’s when you’re injured, I need you’s when you’re stressed out, and I want you’s SO BAD when you see a finish line or you’re closing in on a PR.  All the feels.  

Oddly enough, running and I met on (not behind) the bleachers in the Texas summer heat with my high school sweetheart.  He was an avid runner and athlete.  Me, I was the choir and drama nerd, but he was the first person that took me on a run.  It was love all around. He was definitely my first love, and I’m not sure if I started liking running to impress him or if it was actually because I did, but I’m glad that I did.

Running and I kept hanging out as I went to college - I’d clear my head by jogging around campus.  We (running, not my high school sweetheart although we are still friends to this day) stayed together as I moved to NYC and taught fitness all over the city.  It’s there that I discovered that I could run decently fast for my age having never stepped foot on a track or never having any training.  It was pretty much all love back then. The love/hate/mostly loverelationship with running began with a 5k and then a 10k and then a half and then placing in my age group, then marathons, then BOSTON.  Through all of those goals, there were many ups and downs, and the relationship has changed over time.  It became familiar, and I depended on it to not let me down.  It did sometimes. We grew together, and I craved it every day.  I’ve also burnt out for awhile, took a step back, but I’ve always come back to running.  Always.  

In any good relationship there is trust.  Even on the days that you hate each other, there is still trust.  I always know and trust in the fact that if I go out for a run - I will come back home a better person.  I will never regret a run.  (Unless I turn my ankle or get hit by a car, but let’s be honest - you can do both of those things just walking down the street).  Maybe that’s why I’m still single and married to running, because I KNOW at the end of the day that this sport will always be there.  It’s not going to cheat on me or yell at me or make a mess in the kitchen and not do the dishes.  It’s not going to leave me or not pay for dinner or not make the bed or not text or call me. It will however create a lot of dirty laundry.  And sometimes it hurts.  

Along with trust and love comes heartbreak.  Running might bring a few of these your way as well, but again - that’s what makes a good story.  The heartbreaks are where we truly learn about ourselves, and where we grow.  In heartbreak you learn your strength and your worth, what you’re willing to do and how far you’re willing to go.  You learn about sacrifices and compromises and what it means to want something in your soul.   Heartbreaks teach us what to fight for and what to let go of.   Man do they hurt, but man they are worth it.  

Go back and re-read the quote at the top.  It’s so true, right?  If something falls apart in your house - you don’t just go out and buy a new house, you fix it, you mend it.  It’s the same with relationships.  Even with non-human relationships.  I think one of the things that running has taught me that applies directly to life is - don’t run (pun intended) from the problem, run TOWARDS it.  Head-on. Face it. Fix the problem. Grow from it.  Running has simply taught me how to think differently and approach obstacles from a different angle… Change your mindset, it'll change your heart.  

Now let’s take a minute for all of the married or committed folks. Don’t get me wrong with all of this single talk… you can be happily married or in a committed relationship and also love running and have the exact same relationship that I have.  Funny though, I have heard that sometimes a spouse will start to think that their husband or wife is having a heated affair with running…they sneak out of the house early in the morning or stay late after work to get in a run.  They sometimes forget to call because they were out on a run… I’ve heard it all.  However, FYI I fully support this type of affair, and to my future boyfriend or husband - be prepared for me to have this affair often.    

This particular relationship that I have - that many of us have with running - is one that I’m so grateful for.  We’ve been through a lot, but it has brought hands down the best people I know into my life and has given me confidence that I can do anything.  It has led me around the world and taken me places that I would have never seen or experienced in a car or other vehicle. It has given a new perspective on life and living and constantly makes me see things from a different view. Running has inspired me, broken me, loved me and hated me.  There is just nothing like it.  Knowing that each step you take is doing good, and that you’re getting stronger…  Every move is moving you closer to your goals….There are literal peaks and valleys. It’s amazing.  It’s beautiful.  It’s ugly.  It’s heart-wrenching.  It’s not easy, but it’s always worth it.  Just like any relationship worth having - it takes work and faith and patience and investment.  

So, running, if you ask me to check yes or no if we should keep seeing each other - I’ll always check yes.  I’m IN.  I’m all in, and you can totally be my Valentine.  

- Megan Conner.  Run Coach and Personal Trainer.

For additional information, please visit inspireatrun.com

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