Valentine’s Day is this week, that wonderful day when we thank the special someone in our lives (and Hallmark, Godiva chocolates and florists nationwide make out like bandits). And for us avid runners, that means our appreciation for that significant other who supports our sport or pounds the pavement right alongside us.
Well, this year I’d like to give thanks to a forgotten group of people… or should I say those people we’d like to forget… the “exes.” These are those previously exceptional people whose appeal wore off over time to the point where we scratched our heads while wondering, “What the hell was I thinking.”
Just as we draw inspiration from our wives/husbands/girlfriends/boyfriends, the former flame can also motivate us to better ourselves (in between shredding their pictures and “unfriending” them on Facebook of course).
When love dies, or in some cases is put out of its misery, people can respond in a myriad of ways. Sure a period of mourning can be therapeutic, and often necessary, but what about after that initial shock wears off? What you do then is up truly up to you.
Everyone has their own coping mechanisms, some positive, some negative. If your natural inclination after finding yourself newly single is to play “your song” on an endless loop while wearing sweatpants and diving face first into yet another half-gallon of Chunky Monkey, I’d say it’s time for that “pity party” to come to a swift end. Put your energy into something more constructive than willing the phone to ring and hoping your ex has realized the error of his/her ways… put it into yourself.
Remember the old saying, “The best revenge is to live well.”
One of the reasons I became a marathoner in the first place was in part because of the actions of an ex. Back in October 2008 I had just run a 10K and was on the fence about training for a full marathon when I discovered that the girl I was dating at the time had a very different definition of “monogamy” than I did. I decided I needed to do something just for me, and that “something” was distance running. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.
And just this past year I was dating a girl who I had helped inspire to become a runner too. We even ran a few half marathons together… you know, the couple that runs together stays together. At least until they don’t. Well, when the curtain came down on that Broadway show I focused my newfound freedom on three people: me, myself and I. Jump ahead six months, I’m 50 pounds lighter and running my fastest races ever. I even ran into the ex during a half marathon last October, pausing just long enough to say “Hi” before I blew past, leaving her in the dust (physically and metaphorically). Thanks for giving me the extra push.
In all seriousness, I don’t hold grudges against old girlfriends. Dating is tough stuff and I sure come with my own quirks and idiosyncrasies. I’m actually good friends with many of my past partners. Several of them have even contributed to my charity fundraising for this year’s LA Marathon. I’m grateful for the time spent together and the lessons I’ve learned.
They’ve even made me a better runner.
Of course, at this rate I think I’m only a few dysfunctional relationships away from qualifying for Boston.
Happy Valentine’s Day and Run on!
(Share your dating/running stories)