The Running Partner Breakup

Originally posted on SaltyRunning on April 8, 2014

The Running Prtner Breakup

Life is full of ups and downs, but I did not see this one coming. Or maybe I ignored the signs. I have heard that there are always signs…I guess I didn’t pay close enough attention? I didn’t think I had to; I mean, we were just running together. He wasn’t my lover, he was my running partner.

I asked him if we would still run together when he got a steady girlfriend. He looked at me funny and said of course.

I honestly cannot tell you what happened, because I have no clue. One day we were on our way to an out of town run and when we got back I never heard from him again. Yes, I reached out to him numerous times trying to confirm our runs. I tried for a week straight to no avail. Finally I accepted the fact that we were no longer running partners.

Yes, it hurt my feelings in the beginning. I mean how dare he walk away without saying a word? And no, he was not dead, in fact he was alive and very active on Facebook. I quickly skimmed his posts to see if I could figure out what happened. And then I just did not care.

I continued to run. I just ran alone. It was easier to focus on my surroundings than when I had been running with him. I noticed more birds, trees, squirrels, and so on. I could run longer, later, slower, or faster without consulting anyone. I could think about whatever I wanted to think about.

And there were the lonely times as well, the times when I needed a little motivation to get out of the door. The times when I needed the push to run faster. Or when I did not have to think about my safety when running before the sun came up.

Three weeks later he called. He asked if I wanted to go for a run. That was it, plain and simple. I hesitated for a moment…and then said yes. I was still angry. He never said what happened or who happened. I asked, and he did not want to discuss it. So we just ran and talked about everything else. I figured if he wanted me to know eventually he would tell me. I was just happy to be running.

I now realize that a running partnership is a relationship. It is not only about me and what I need to get from it, there has to be give and take. I need to pay attention to what the other person is saying…or not saying.  How he’s acting, or not acting. Sometimes words have to be spoken and expectations discussed.

I know, I know, it sounds so much like work.

I have other running relationships, but they are with women, and it seems as if running with women is so much easier. I wonder if it because we simply focus on the running. But I thought that was what I was doing with him.

Have you ever been on the outs with your running partner?  Do you ever feel like your running partnership is more than just…well…running together?

One Comment

  1. This happened to me, and at about the same time (early 2014). But I was the guy that got dropped. We had run together for six years, but only about once a month. We did, however, ride to races together. She would knit and I would drive. Almost every day we were texting or emailing each other about running. If she needed to know what her PR time was for a 10K, I could tell her. She was sort of like my muse. If she ran 6 miles before work, she told me and I was determined to do the same. We remembered each others birthdays. Just before she dropped me I took her a bakery-made cupcake. She seemed so appreciative.
    The month before she had scheduled a new race without telling me, so we were unable to run as a team in the annual Valentine’s Day 8K. (We usually finished first in our age group.)
    (I should have told you we always ran at about the same pace, so no one was holding the other back.)
    And then one night I was watching Downtown Abbey and she texted me that she had invited a guy over for Easter lunch after church. They had been kayaking together.
    (He’s not a runner, btw.) I knew then it was over. A few months later I emailed her and said, “In the past, when you dated “Walt”, we continued to run together and it never interfered with our races, but I’m sensing this is different.”
    She responded immediately and said, “WE STILL NEED TO RUN TOGETHER.” But she never made the effort.
    Now, 2.5 years later, I only do about a third of the races I used to do. One particular half marathon was the Thanksgiving weekend, and I can’t motivate myself to do that one anymore. We always rode together, and I don’t want to go alone. She’ll be there, and I just don’t want to see her again.
    Running used to be a lot of fun, but it’s diminished for me these days.

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