A Love Letter to Running

18th of October 2020, Munich

Dear Running,

I hope you don’t mind if I address you as a person, which I think doesn’t do justice to your perfection. In this letter I would like to thank you for the incredible change you have facilitated in me, the emotional support you provide; day in, day out. Maybe you can still recall the first time we met as vividly as I do.

It was about a year ago that I stumbled upon you, slowly trying to familiarize myself with the new scene. The incredibly specific vernacular, the complex facets of training but the fact that I didn’t think we would fit together was most daunting. I was unsure of how to approach you… we met in middle school but back then I couldn’t find the confidence to commit.

I didn’t think I was worthy: disrespecting my body’s clock, smoking a pack a day and indulging in other mental poisons. Effortlessly gliding through the air seemed like an insurmountable task. In my delirium after a binge to cope with the pain of personal failure, I did what I thought was right. You gave me this moment of clarity: balls to wall, all in, now or never.

I signed up for my first marathon.

You aligned the stars and allowed me to get a taste of the “Runner’s High” I still chase to this day, I was HOOKED. To feel closer to you I dropped the cigarettes immediately, got sucked into the vortex of the YouTube algorithm and meticulously planned out my battle strategy to survive 42,2km.

3 weeks pass, I just wanted you to accept me.

However, up until then I still didn’t feel I was adequate. Carrying 87kg of meat, poor running form and having just completed the ab initio course into running vocab, I felt small in my rather large frame. I gave 150%, ramped up the mileage hard and the inevitable happens to anyone who doesn’t respect you enough: Injury, excruciating shin splints, swollen tendons – the whole deal. I was majorly fucked; 7 weeks completely out from training.

10 gels, 5 protein bars, 3 salt pills, 4 bananas, 3000mg OTC pain-killers and an unhealthy dose of psychological tricks I consumed in:

5:13:10

I misjudged you, so you brought the wrath to those who don’t respect. The sledgehammer decimate my knees at kilometer 29, you stripped my ego away until I crawled into the finishing line feeling minuscule but free. Although the unbearable shame of my time made me deleted my first race off Strava, I never thought this was in the realm of my abilities.

This was exactly a year ago. You truly bring out the best in me. A lot has changed since, yet you still guide me through the gloomiest hours. I will elaborate the next time I write you, oh how great of a debt I owe you.

The day I loose you my will to live will cease to exist.

Yours truly.

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