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  • Writer's pictureMorgan Atkins

A Love Letter to Running

Updated: Mar 12, 2022

If you have ever had a love affair with any sport, this one’s for you.

Dear running,

Around seventeen years ago we began our relationship. It’s been a tumultuous one I must say. But today I write to you with love.

When we began our relationship, it was fire and passion. You were the reason I felt alive and what I was excited for. You were everything I worked for as just a tiny eleven year old. You gave me new friends, young and old, and coaches who pushed me to be the best I could be. You allowed me to have deep conversations with my friends for hours on the trails. I worked hard in school, but I usually caught myself daydreaming about you. You were everything. But deep within that fire was so much pain too. You made me believe that life was running. When running wasn’t going well, life wasn’t going well. When I became injured and couldn’t run, I felt like my whole life had been taken from me. When I was no longer that tiny eleven year old speeding through the trails, you made me question my body and if it would ever be good enough for running or for anyone. That led me to do some crazy things. I did crazy things to try to change my body for you.

In some ways, running, you led me farther and farther away from who I really was. Who was I without running? In college, I tried to find myself beyond running, but ultimately, you stuck around. YOU were the reason I made it there and yes, for that, I was grateful. You kept bringing me the achievements, the drive, and the amazing people. For you, I kept striving. Yet, somehow, it wasn’t enough. I still didn’t know what I wanted. I drowned myself in food, alcohol, sex, and late nights, all hoping that I could take away the pain and confusion; I thought we could form a distance between each other, but still get along. That didn’t help either. It made our relationship harder and strained. I tried to bring more intimate things into my circle beyond running, but still, you had to be at the center of it all: the reason I couldn’t go to Buffalo Bills games, eat too much junk, party on Halloween, or love my body. But at the end of each season, I still really loved you. Because who was I without you? You allowed me to push my body farther than I ever could. You showed me what it meant to set goals, work for them, and achieve them. You got me out into my favorite places in nature. You showed me that sixty mile weeks maybe just weren’t meant for me. Slowly, our relationship was loosening. By the end of college, we didn’t have a chokehold over each other anymore. We loved with a little less intensity. I ran four days a week instead of seven and I started to see that we could love each other again. I was running better and feeling different.

But it all came to a crashing halt when I graduated college. We didn’t have to “decide” to part ways; instead, it just naturally happened. For the first time in my life, I was able to walk away from you, and I didn’t have to look back. I found other forms of movement like yoga and spinning and walking. I started meditating. I was moving on. But you were always there, around the corner, trying to peep in to say hello. When the gorgeous autumn leaves started falling or on a sunny spring day, I would try to rekindle the flame. I saw others loving you and I guess I kind of got jealous. I missed you a little bit. I missed how you pushed me. So, I tried to run a couple half marathons. The first one felt a little bit like fire again. I could feel our flame reigniting, but it was short lived. I needed it only for that moment. I was scared of jumping in so deep with you again and letting you take so much control of me. A little time passed and I decided to give it a try anyways. I started training for another half marathon, which meant that we were getting back into a committed relationship. Yet, it still didn’t feel right. It felt better when we had our quick fling. That race ended up being a complete disaster and in that moment, it felt like our falling out. Sometimes I would find you again on days where I would think of you and miss you, but then I would feel your judgment creeping in. I feared my body changing and the commitment, and so I put you down again.

Well here we are again. Fast forward to 2022. The last time I ran a half marathon was in 2019. Today, it feels like we’ve spent enough time apart. I signed up for another race because some new friends brought me back to you. We were reintroduced and I welcomed you with love and open arms because I’ve come to a place where I finally know who I am. I know you can’t take that chokehold over me anymore. I’m the smallest I’ve been since I was eleven years old but it isn’t because of you or for you. When I began healing my mind, I began healing my heart and my body. My mind, my heart, and my body are finally in sync. They aren’t fighting each other anymore. My body is at peace.

So, just a couple of years ago, you might have been that crazy ex I wanted to stay far away from, but now you are starting to feel like more of a close friend than a lover. You are someone who is there to support me and my growth, but you aren’t trying to change me. You will always feel a little like home to me and bring me back to old memories; you are reminding me of why I loved you in the first place. I am not going to attach to you and need you everyday, but I am happy to have you back in my life in a better way. I am excited for our newfound blossoming friendship.

Love, Your friend, Morgan (Mo Mo)

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