I’m really sorry, my occasional companion of several years, but I think it’s over. It’s just not fun for me anymore. The first couple of years were great, and I looked forward to all the good times we’d have in the future. And then last year I got really sick and had to leave you for a while. Now I’m better but it’s just not the same between us, so I think I’m going to have to move on. I tried, I really did – this past summer I kept persevering despite my lack of enjoyment. I kept hoping I’d get that old feeling back, but I never did. It’s no use fighting it anymore.
I’ve decided to quit running.
We first met in October of 2008, when I “accidentally” ran a 5k. I meant to walk it, but decided at the last second to start off running and just never stopped. I hurt for days, but it kind of felt good at the same time, and we started our relationship. I started running regularly the next spring, and by September I was running 10-15km per week and loving it. I’d be approaching home after having run 3 or 4 km, my legs sore, sweating and breathing hard but feeling good, and think “do I still have enough in the tank to circle the block once more? Or go around this crescent, just to add an extra half-kilometre?” Sometimes I would go the extra bit, sometimes not, but the thought was always there. I looked forward to my runs and was disappointed when I got up and it was raining and I had to run on the treadmill instead. Each week or two I’d go a little bit longer until one day I ran from home along Dundas to Hollybush to Parkside to Hamilton and back along Dundas home (which I know means squat to those of you who don’t live in Waterdown), a distance of about 5.8 km. I remember the feeling I had coming home from that particular run. It was my longest ever and I still felt great. I started to think that by the next summer, running a 10k wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.
I bought special running shoes and clothes. I ran outside during the winter as long as it wasn’t too cold and the ground was mostly clear. My sister and parents bought me an iPod Nano with Nike+ for my 40th birthday, and I started “broadcasting” my runs on Facebook and Twitter. I subscribed to a running magazine. I brought my running stuff on vacation with me. I was a runner. Me and you, baby, we were going hot and heavy.
And then I got sick. February 5, 2010. Severe acute necrotizing pancreatitis. I’ve written about it before so I won’t go into the details here, but in a nutshell, it was a nightmare. I spent two months in hospital, ate no solid food the whole time, had major abdominal surgery, and was off work for another 3 months after coming home. In the hospital, my exercise consisted of taking my IV pole for a walk around the floor – two laps if I was exceptionally energetic. Once I got home, it was walking up and down a flight of stairs four or five times, and then lying down on the couch because I was wiped out. I got home from the hospital at the beginning of April, and in mid-May, I started walking around the block (less than 1km). By the end of the summer I could walk several kilometres without being exhausted, but it wasn’t until November that I started actually running again. But, my dear, things were different between us.
I started off with the path I used to take when you and I were first starting out. About 3 km, and I’d run until I got tired and then walk for a while, then run again. It wasn’t as much fun as I remembered, but I’d gone through a lot and in some respects I was still recovering, so I figured I’d give it some time. I didn’t go out much during the winter, and I tried to run on the treadmill now and again but you know how it is, dear, I never liked running on that thing. Then spring came and I could run outside again. It still wasn’t great, and it took a long time before I could even run the 3k path without stopping to walk in the middle. I ran a lot in July, then fell off the wagon in August, got back on in September and have been doing OK since then. But I’ll be honest, it really hasn’t been fun for a long time.
I have yet to get back to 5k – my longest this year was 4.12km. Only a couple of times did I finish a run without stopping to walk for a couple of minutes. My stamina seemed to plateau quickly, and I got frustrated with my lack of progress. Not once did I think about running just a little longer like I used to – it was always “how long until I can stop?” Getting up early to run was a chore and I had to force myself to do it. A few times I convinced myself I heard rain so I went back to bed – only to find the ground completely dry when I did get up. Sometimes while running I decided to cut the run short because it was colder than I had expected or my legs were exceptionally sore or whatever, it was one excuse after another. But the root problem was always there – it just wasn’t fun anymore.
So my dear, I’m afraid this is the end for us. It was fun while it lasted, and I’ll never forget some of the great times we had together, but I’ve changed and it’s just not working between us anymore. It’s an old cliché but it’s really true – it’s not you, it’s me. I still want to stay in shape, so I’m going to try and hit the weight bench a couple of times a week over the winter. I hope you’re not jealous. Maybe next spring when the weather gets nice again I might give you another try, but I can’t promise anything. Take care, sweetheart.