Running is Cheaper Than Therapy

I hate running. If you are to understand anything about my blog, it is this. But running saved my life. Literally. And it continues to keep me sane (well sort of…) each and every day. I guess you could say I have a total love-hate relationship with the sport/hobby/addiction that is running. We all have a story. You know…the reason we torture our minds, bodies, and lives with running. The reason we get up at 6 am on a Sunday for the “long run” while everyone else is still snug in their beds. The reason we push our bodies past the point of absolute exhaustion when our muscles are begging us to stop. Well…here is my story.

At age 35, I was living “The Dream”. I was married to my best friend, had a big house in a suburban neighborhood, and had recently given birth to my second child. I had a job I loved and great friends. Life was good. Until. Until the day I walked in on my husband in bed with an ugly chic. (I realize the “ugly” part is irrelevant, but for some reason, it makes me feel better to include that fact in my story. Don’t judge.) There he was. The love of my life. With another woman. I was paralyzed. Devastated. Completely and totally blindsided. I never saw THIS coming. This was something that only happened to other people. This was something that happened on TV or in the movies. THIS could not happen to ME. THIS could not be my life. But it was.

The next couple of days/weeks/months are a complete blur. I went throught the motions of living but I was barely breathing. I went to work each day, but I wasn’t there. I took care of my two babies, but just barely. I could not believe that my world was ripped out from under me. That my marriage had been a lie. That my fairy tale life, was just that, a fairy tale. That I would never have my happily ever after. That I was all alone. With two babies that needed me. I could barely care for myself. How was I supposed to take care of two kids?

Then one Saturday, when my kids were with the “paternal unit” (as I now refer to the ex), the loneliness set in. Hard. Saturdays in the suburbs are reserved for families. As I mentioned, I have great friends. They were amazing to me through my struggle. “T” my BFF would do anything for me. And she did do everything for me. But all my friends had full time jobs, husbands, kids, and household responsibilities of their own. I didn’t want to be “that friend” that kept imposing on their family time. I felt needy. And pathetic. So every other weekend I would find myself alone…and depressed. Depressed beyond what any words could possibly describe.

On this particular Saturday I found myself with a bottle of sleeping pills in one hand and a pen and paper in the other. I began writing my two beautiful children a good-bye letter. I fumbled to find the words to explain why wasn’t strong enough to be here for them. That I hoped they could forgive me. That I was sorry. A tear dropped on my paper. And then another. I sat and just stared at the pattern they made. I wondered if my children would know that they were tear marks on my suicide letter. My suicide letter? I stared at it for a long time. The longer I stared the clearer it became. I knew I needed to stop what I was doing. I couldn’t do this. I need to go. I didn’t know where…I just needed to go. I needed to go for a walk. Clear my head. This was crazy. So I put on my sneakers. And I walked. And I walked. And I cried. And I walked faster. And I began to run. And I ran. And I ran. And I ran…I just kept running. I didn’t know where I was going, but It felt good. I just kept going. It’s like I was running away. Away from my life. Away from my pain. Away from everything. And it felt good. The pain in my heart had been replaced by pain in my lungs. And I welcomed the change. So I just kept running. And it felt good.

When I finally got home, all sweaty and out of breath, I saw the letter sitting on my coffee table. I crinkled it up (though I still have it today), and flushed the pills. It had been a moment of self doubt and extreme weakness. A moment of weakness that somehow seemed to be cured by running. And each time the pain and loneliness became too much to bear, I strapped on my sneakers and I ran away. I ran as far away from my life as my lungs would let me go. And each time it worked. I would feel better.

And so began my love-hate relationship with running.

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