Thursday, April 12, 2007

When a good run can break your heart

I have a confession. I'm a runner.

No, I'm not confessing to slipping on my pink and silver Nike's at the twilight hour and running until a thin film of sweat covers me and my body aches in appreciation of being tested. My running isn't healthy and doesn't do anything positive for my heart. I run from people. Problems. Discussions where arguments hang heavily in the air like the smell of a burnt dinner that's ruined the night.

I don't run from every argument, every person. Just the big ones. The really big ones. The ones who matter, the people that earned an explanation before the shotgun goes and my legs start. The ones who deserve you to plant your feet and have the talks you don't want to. The talks where your awkward fingers dance on tabletops giving you a focus other than someone else's apologetic eyes.

Running doesn't mean I don't say sorry. When I feel something is my fault, when I have been in the wrong, chosen the thoughtless word rather than the the thoughtful act, I apologize. And I mean it. But when someone has hurt my feelings, suddenly my only option is to throw on my sneakers and sprint to a safe spot, avoiding the hurdles that come with a healthy relationship.

Perhaps running would be fine if I wasn't the type of girl who liked to look back, but I do. I like seeing where I started, how far I've come. I need to see my progress, whether it's the distance between me and the starting line, or me and a boy who broke my heart. But lately, looking back has only shown me how little I've moved. Instead of running on an open track, where the perspective changes with each step, I've been on a treadmill- pretending. Pretending that my aches and breaks, pains and gains have been worth something, and you know what? They haven't. Running only works if you feel better from it.

I don't feel better.

So maybe it's time to hang up the sneakers and try something a little better for my health. Something that doesn't promote regret and make my heart ache in a way that only making a big mistake can. Perhaps table tennis.

* I got a few emails about people asking why they couldn't comment on the previous post. I accidently had the comment section turned off. Sorry.


Beth said...

I know what you mean. I also like to run when I've been hurt. There are times when I think it's good to run. There are people who are not good for you and you should run far, far away.
But most of the time, I think that we run because we are scared of confrontation and reality. And also, it's so much easier to run that it is to stay. But when you run, you could possibly miss out on something good. Look at Jim and Pam. I had to throw something abou The Office in there!

e.b. said...

Being a fighter I have the opposite inclination. To be honest neither is particularly healthy.

Eileen Dover said...

I'm exactly the same. I instigate and point fingers, demanding to get attention and get a reaction and a fight.

As soon as it crosses the line, though, I'm running to save my life.

The trouble is, it's always the healthy relationships I'm running from.

I thrive on the ones where the guy is more fucked up than me. But when it's normal and we're all copacetic? I can't handle it.

Carrie said...

I've often wondered myself why I run from the important people in my life while I stay and fight to the death with people who really make no difference in the end game. However, you put it far better than I could have.

megs said...

I relate girl, I completely relate.

K.I.D. said...

I do the same thing. Totally.

Jennifer said...

Great post, Brandy! If it weren't for blogging, I'd have my head in the sand after having run away from any conflict I'd encountered!

aRbit said...

Very well said...Somewhere along the way I stopped trying to figure out why running away from the big things comes so naturally - and when there are things that I should avoid, my feet refuse to budge...(sigh) Maybe I should try table tennis too

JustRun said...

Ironically, I think most literal runners tend to be figurative runners, as well. The number one thing I hear as an answer to "why do you run?" is that people need to sort things out and get time to think. I think the key, as you said, is not staying away. Where ever you go, there you are, right?

Also, I thought your previous post was wonderful!

Trixie said...

i love this post, brandy. you wrote it well and hit it on the head.

i've to confess that i do that too, and with people i care about. i dont like confrontations at all. but when i'm wrong, i apologize and mean it as well.

thanks for sharing your post and it is making me think about my own running past.

HippieChyck said...

speaking of table tennis, I just took Lionel Shriver's Double Fault out of the library. It's a "Novel about marriage. The ultimate sport."


Anonymous said...


I can never figure out if I equate the running... or leaving someone behind... to strength or weakness. In myself, that is.

It's always the difficult part for me.

Ruchika said...

When I started reading your post, I was wondering whether I can relate to it.. by the end of it however, with a little moment of reflection, I realised I'm almost exactly like that! I'm an escapist, through and through.. escaping from the real problems and real decisions.. So you really hit home! Hmmm.. I've got some soul-searching to do!

brandy said...

beth- Scared of confrontation? totally fits. This is why I never watch 'the apprentice' boardroom meetings...

e.b.- i wish i was a bit more of a fighter. Do you have any tips besides cementing my feet in place when the going gets tough?

eileen- It's frustrating when you realize you are willing to give a jerk 800 chances and the great guy just 1. Sigh. I need a self help book. Or a snack.

Megs/k.i.d.- It's nice to know other people are getting good use out of their sneakers..

Jennifer- thanks! And if I didn't read your blog, I would have no idea that pregnancy shirts can be so dang cute! ;)

arbit- if you take up table tennis and ever visit Canada, we would probably have a great game!

justrun- Maybe I should start doing more actual running, my heart would love that! And thanks for commenting about the last post! I liked the one you wrote too

Trixie- Oh, thanks so much for reading Trixie!

hippichyck- that made me giggle..

kitliz- Maybe I need to start seeing the positives of running, the times where it IS the good choice..

Ruchika- I'm glad you got something out of it!

HippieChyck said...

p.s. did you like the way i ran from the intimacy of your post by commenting with a random tangent?

You should read some Lionel Shriver - she's good. And just put out a new book about choices and the path not taken called The Post-Birthday World.

Another novel with themes about running away, personal growth, and confronting your fears/worries/feelings - An Urban Affair by Daniel Stern.

I'm a huge runner - just bury it in my 'love for travel' persona. I suppose we all have our ways of trying to turn the instinct into something constructive...