Kelly Roberts aka My Spirt Animal recently spoke about her lack of discussing her love life in Episode 3 of the Run Selfie Repeat Podcast, she addressed the topic after being constantly hounded about the lack of her discussing her singleness in her vlogs, blogs and social media posts. The Podcast was insightful and while speaking to the fact that she does run to avoid dating she also speaks candidly about how running has helped her get through love and heartbreak to a point where she is owning being single. This sentiment is something that rings true throughout the run community, I know a number of people in my run family who have taken to the sport to find strength within themselves, get over a breakup, distract themselves from heart ache and for the lucky ones they’ve actually found love through running – love for themselves and for some even for another. (Shameless plug to two of my friends Nicole & Richard for this gem of an article in Canadian Running Magazine today).
This year I opened up about my pursuit of finding a human to be my partner, some would call it searching for love, people like my friend Ravi would call it “love on the run“, but don’t worry I wasn’t running away from it, if anything running was bringing me closer to a place where I would be ready to meet someone. In October Ravi interviewed me about my attempt to take a chance on the male runners of Toronto/Ontario when I decided to hold a sign up a the Toronto Waterfront Marathon declaring my single status and who knew it could possibly lead to a connection being made, I’m a Marketer by day so I try to be savvy and unique in my strategies. While the interview was supposed to focus on the ‘why’ of my stunt, we also discussed the run communities involvement in my potential unconventional race day match making. When I read the final article I was grateful that Ravi was able to share with readers the real reason behind my confidence for holding up this sign, because ultimately there was a deeper meaning to what was behind this experiment.
I remember vividly towards the end of the interview Ravi asked, “what have you learned about love from running?” It was a thought provoking question but one that I had an answer for, maybe he didn’t expect me to be so confident in my response but truly I was glad he asked even if it was just for context. I shared with him the following, “There are two types of relationships, I think, those that are needy and where each person needs their self worth validated and those where each person loves who they are already, without a relationship, but both people can complement and support that in one another.” I then added, “You can’t really do that unless you’ve spent time figuring out who you are, which is exactly what running has allowed me to do. I’ve come to appreciate myself and my body in a way that I never have before.”
Why was that my response? We live in a day and age where we have a lot of folks who roll from one relationship or person to the next, a ‘thumb happy’ generation who has an endless supply of options at their finger tips. My analogy during my conversation with Ravi was that of a menu at a restaurant, even though you’ve committed to an order for one night you can’t help but keep thinking about all of the other options if you opened it up again. Society today thrives on gratification, what some have become obsessed with is finding that gratification in others, therefore the endless pursuit of being with someone until you find one who gives you a hint of that gratification can be an endless cycle of left, left, left, left, left, right, left, left, left, right (see Nike video clip below for context). We spend so much time looking for validation from someone else we overlook spending time with ourselves, figuring out who we are and most importantly finding love/happiness from you.
In the article Ravi highlighted that what I said is the most valuable thing that any runner, single or otherwise, can learn – and that’s the truth. I know that we all struggle – we struggle to find love for ourselves and from others, but I truly believe that until you have really learned how to be alone, appreciate yourself and love your body for what it is capable of you will always look for that in another person. As much as it is nice to have someone validate all of this for you – your success, worth and triumphs are not based on one sole person outside of yourself, they come from you. Running is powerful, anyone who has laced up and hit the pavement knows this firsthand. Running has been used to help addicts, people with depression, anxiety and a slew of other health issues, but for many of us it’s therapy that is free and comes without question or judgement. Another thing that comes with running is confidence, it doesn’t come overnight but it slowly builds as you start to see what you are capable off, it’s something that grows as you find yourself surrounded by a community of people who embrace folks of all shapes/sizes/backgrounds/colours/abilities. It is something that is strengthened when you experience first hand what your body is capable off when you cross your first finish line and every finish line after that, providing yourself wrong after thinking you would not be able to do it. Running builds confidence, which for me is more beautiful than a size or number on the scale, it’s allowed me to appreciate myself more than anyone else every has and as a result I have a better relationship with myself which ultimately puts me in a much better place for when that special someone runs into my life. Well they might not run into my life, but you get the picture.
My take home message from all of this is that it’s okay to be on your own, if you’re struggling with being single or find this city lonely at times think about doing something for yourself. Get to know and appreciate yourself a little bit better every day and then when that human comes along you’ll already have a really great idea of your worth, strength and love.
Love yourself today and if you are looking for something to do tonight come join me at 7pm for Tribe Fitness Learn to Run in Canoe Landing Park for run or head over to The Attic at lululemon Queen West for Galintine’s Day Yoga with Heather Gardner.