I Stopped Running….Hello, Old Friend


I have a confession to make: I stopped running. Somewhere between September and now, I lost my passion for it. Even doing a fun 10k across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge last November didn’t revive it. There was no revival of it. Until tonight, which I will get to in a little bit.

It’s very odd how you could give up something you once enjoyed. It’s one symptom of depression, that much I do know, and I think that played some role. And yes, also the winter sidetracked me and I used that wicked season as an excuse to hibernate for the most part. But this was not just about the weather. The longer I stayed away from running, the more I felt one thing in my desire to get back to running: Fear. What if I just couldn’t “do” it any more? What if I just was fooling myself during all those previous incarnations of my running club meet ups, all the 5ks, the 10ks and yes, even the one half marathon under my belt? What if I was just an imposter really? Only signing up for these things for the fun of the event, a new shirt and a medal vs. any true desire to run?

Have you ever had a friend you lost touch with but thought about all the time? You want to pick up the phone but are afraid of how it might go, the awkwardness, the potential silent gaps that may exist because you stayed out of touch for far too long. And so you put the phone down and let another day go by. And another and another. And all those feelings that kept you from reaching out continue to keep you away for that much longer. This is your FRIEND we are talking about. A previous source of JOY.

That is where my head was when it came to running. Just last weekend I saw some relatives I had not seen in awhile. “Hey, are you still running?” they asked. Then this from a neighbor I hadn’t caught up with in a while “Are you still running? I don’t hear you talk about it much anymore.” My answer was always to change the topic quickly.

I’m proud to say, tonight I laced up my sneakers and got outside for a run. I recently joined another session of my running club and our first meeting was tonight. I had not been with a running group since last spring or so. I’m in the “walk-to-run” group, which is similar to a Couch to 5k. We meet once a week and then have running “homework” to do on our own twice during the week. I saw some old friends and they welcomed me with open arms. They didn’t say “where have you been?!” They said “Welcome, it’s great to see you here!”

I was nervous about going tonight. Afraid, really. Afraid I would not enjoy it.

I was wrong.

We are getting reacquainted, this running thing and I,  and I look forward to making up for lost time.

If you’ve been away from something you once enjoyed, please reconsider before you walk away, before you hang up, for good. You may be glad you reached out again.

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