First Comes Love

20120717-213825.jpgThey were the blooming days of youth, full of vigor and promise, ripe with delicious zeal.

I couldn’t wait to do it again, to get out there and be with my new love. You know those nights where sleep is elusive, so filled is your mind with your beloved, and those mornings when waking in the pre-dawn deepness is normal. Not even exhaustion can keep you from the one you love.

When I began running, I was the young maiden, naive and open. I didn’t need a training plan, because you can’t confine love to a checklist. I didn’t want a plan because love flies by the seat of its pants. It runs three or six, fast or slow, depending on what mood strikes. Young love is wild and unpredictable; decisions aren’t so much made as fallen into. Everything seems possible. Everything is possible.

Oh, and you say let’s get married! Let’s do this thing forever and ever, and it will be marvelous, and our lives will be marvelous, and we shall climb mountains, and the people shall bask in the glow of our perfection.

And so I married running. I bought the shoes, and the tights. I started the training programs, and I made my way to track workouts. And I still woke early, but maybe made use of the snooze button more often. I bought a journal to track my workouts, my times and distances. I invested in chia seeds and avocados. I learned to sample different gel-based nutrition sources.

I ran the half marathons and the full marathons. I turned up my nose at paltry 5ks. I don’t get out of bed for three miles, I bragged.

The people didn’t necessarily glow in my perfection, such as it was imperfect. But they did a polite golf clap for me, and maybe some of them gave me high fives that they really and truly, genuinely felt. Mostly, though I think the people grew tired of my saccharine love and my 26.2 magnet.

But I channeled my guy Fred Armisen. “So what? Who cares?” I bleated. I’m committed and haterz gonna hate.

The alarm seems to ring much sooner and much louder than back in the days when an alarm was superfluous. Sometimes, I can’t find my shoes or my Garmin isn’t even charged. My love and I have settled into the later stages of commitment, that place where first blush is replaced by┬ásore knees and other distractions. Love at this point takes so much time.

Rather than waking fresh as a new day, I heave out of bed. Rather than springing out for however many miles I feel like going, I remind myself what the schedule says. Rather than having a late night cocktail with my real true love, I drink a glass of water, because it’s good for me.

I’ve been literally married for 20 years, and I’ve been married to running for 5. Those wild and vivid first days? They were amazing, but they really can’t beat the day to day, tender approach to culling and caring for something with so much possibility, so much hope, so much good.


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