Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lost in the woods with out a compas.

Three years ago when I started this journey to become a runner, I cared a lot about impressing my then just recruited coach and
semi love interest, Larry. He was super fast (at least in my eyes) dedicated, determined, and the most hard core running I had
ever met in person and had the pleasure to train with. So dedicated in fact that training me ended up being more important than
dating me. Though at the time I agreed this was the best path for us to go down, and we ran side by side every week for two
years, I still was always in the quest for his approval. This meant I had to work my butt off. When I did something that was
normal or expected there was no praise, praise was not to be expected. But when I did something extraordinary there was
always a little bit of contratuations and I lived for those moments.
I started dating his roommate, not as a way to get him back but it just so happened he was the complete opposite of Larry.
Lazy, unmotivated, immature, and yet somewhere in there was a little bit of fun. In the end it clashed with my desire to
push myself and get the satisfaction from a hard workout that I craved and that ended. In the moments that I was single,
and even in some of the moments when I was not, my mind would wander back to the possibility that Larry and I were just
good for each other. He was the only person I had ever met who understood what I loved about running. No explaination was
needed, we didn't have to talk about it, we just went out and did it. And he taught me so much. How could I spend the rest of
my life with anyone that couldn't understand that.
But in the moments where I was smarter than that I realized he was an amazing coach - and little more. All the reasons that
made him such a strong runner were the same reasons that made him a bad boyfriend. He was emotionally distant, painfully
shy, and somewhat social awkward.
As we grew out of our college lives and into the real world, Larry moved onto Med School and I to a new boyfriend. This one
was the real deal, the nicest guy I had met in a very long time. But the more we met up for weekly runs, and the more Larry
talked about his life in med school the more I started to wonder if his drive and passion fell in all the wrong places. He loved
running, but he wanted to be a doctor. He wanted to be a doctor so badly he spend a whole summer studying but now that
he was there it didn't seem to be going to plan. After my second marathon I put a lot of focus into my relationship and not so
much into my running. Larry and I feel out of touch. Every now and again when I felt like I wanted to get back into running
I would text him and see how life was treating him. Out of the blue one day he told me he had moved out west to Idaho or
somewhere equally as rural and boring. I guess the med school dream was over, but he was still always there when I had
training questions for myself and others. He even wished me luck on the day of my most recent half marathon which was a
particulary large dissapointment.
Recently I found out he was joining the marines at the start of the new year. It seemed as though he was still searching
to find his place in life, as if running alone could not bring him the happiness he wanted. How funny that the one person I
used to look up to for motivation in life was now the one person I wanted to reach out and help. How did this happen?
How did the roles suddenly get reversed?
A week before christmas my phone died - leaving me recollecting phone numbers I needed and happily leaving out people
I had cleaned from my life. Larry's number was lost, and the only way to find it again (since he was always anti - things
like facebook) was to dig back into my past to his ex roommate and my ex boyfriend. A place I was SURE I never wanted to be
again. And search though I might I wasn't even able to find so much as an email. It looked like I had reached the point in my
life that I always knew would come but never really wanted to happen. I was left to fend for myself, plan on my own, run as my
heart told me. In a way I was a small bit relieved. I always knew that I had great potential somewhere inside me.
But I also knew I was not a natural. It took a lot of work to get where I have been. It meant giving up a lot of
things in my life. So maybe this was my blessing in disguise. My get out of jail free card to finally run on my own terms and not
have to worry anymore about that praise of a job well done. I knew when I needed to work hard, but I also knew when I needed
to take a time out and enjoy my friends and family.
Whatever it was - it wasn't like I would ever stop running.


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