Mur­phy’s Lore

Runner's World (UK) - - Contents - Lore Mur­phy’s SAM MUR­PHY

Sam bares her soul to run­ning. Run­ning re­sponds in kind

I don’t quite know how to put this but, well, I’m won­der­ing if we need some time apart. It’s not you…i just feel like I need to take a step back and think about what I want from our re­la­tion­ship. Things be­tween us haven’t been great for a while now.

Look, I un­der­stand that the first flush of ex­cite­ment in a re­la­tion­ship can’t last for­ever and I’m OK with that; in many ways, I’d say we’ve grown stronger since those heady, un­cer­tain days when we first met – 27 years ago, can you be­lieve it? We’ve been able to de­pend on each other more and read each other’s funny ways. But re­cently, be­ing to­gether has felt dreary and mo­not­o­nous – evenings that start out full of hope end in hurt and dis­ap­point­ment.

I know long-term re­la­tion­ships have their ups and downs, but to be hon­est, I can hardly re­call when we last had a good time. I’ve found my­self won­der­ing whether it’s time we go our sep­a­rate ways. I think maybe some space apart will help us both re­mem­ber what we saw in each other when we first met all those years ago, and help us de­cide whether we have a fu­ture to­gether. Of course I’ve no­ticed that things haven’t been right be­tween us. You’ve barely glanced at your run­ning shoes this week, and last week wasn’t much bet­ter. And it isn’t as if you’ve not had time – you found time to go out on that bike of yours, af­ter all – and did I see you step­ping out to a yoga class last week? It’s ob­vi­ous you’ve been avoid­ing me.

When the go­ing gets tough, the tough give up, eh? Is that it?

Don’t you re­alise re­la­tion­ships need con­stant nur­tur­ing, like house­plants: you can just throw wa­ter on them to keep them alive, but if you want them to thrive you need to give them nour­ish­ment, pick off the dead leaves – and re-pot them some­times. You and me, we’re not thriv­ing, we’re just sur­viv­ing, our leaves yel­low­ing at the edges. We’re in a rut. Out we go ev­ery week, same time, same places, same races – but the old rou­tine isn’t giv­ing you the re­sults it used to – and it feels as if you’re blam­ing me for that. Hell, I’ve chal­lenged you to the outer edges of your be­ing and un­earthed strengths you didn’t know you had. And I still can.

I can’t help think­ing you’re try­ing to hold on to the past – labour­ing to im­prove your PBS year af­ter year, rac­ing too much and pay­ing the price in in­juries when, let’s face it, that era is prob­a­bly over. (Though since we’re be­ing so frank, all that cake you’re eat­ing isn’t help­ing you main­tain your rac­ing weight.) We need to move things on, find dif­fer­ent goals to strive for and new ways of rel­ish­ing our time to­gether.

But spare me the ‘it’s not you’ cliché! I know it’s not me. I am the one true con­stant in your life. I’ve al­ways been there for you – to celebrate with when you’re happy, to com­mis­er­ate with when you’re sad, to find clar­ity in when your mind is clouded and help you stop think­ing all to­gether when your fraz­zled brain hits over­load. You’ve al­ways taken what you need from me and all I’ve ever asked for in re­turn is a lit­tle ap­pre­ci­a­tion – and your com­mit­ment. I’ve turned a blind eye when you’ve got in­volved with other sports – it’s healthy to have other mean­ing­ful re­la­tion­ships in your life – but this time I sense you’re ques­tion­ing my worth, my place in your life. It scares me that you’re so will­ing to con­sider throw­ing away what we’ve built up over the years to­gether.

If you think we need some time apart, go ahead and take it. I’ll still be here for you, as I was when you found your­self all alone in Aus­tralia, aged 19, and took your first run­ning steps on that long white beach, and years later, when you needed the com­fort of our fa­mil­iar rou­tine in the days be­fore and af­ter your dad’s death. It’s not over. Have you by any chance seen my run­ning shoes ly­ing around?

Speedy 22stat The per­cent­age im­prove­ment in V02 max in over­weight peo­ple as­signed en­durance ex­er­cise for 17 weeks – with­out calo­rie re­stric­tion

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