Looking for Love: If Running Were a Tinder Match

Friday, May 22 2020 5:09 PM

Woman lacing up running shoesWith butterflies in my stomach, I read the bio again and again, “Slow and steady or a sprint to the finish line; either way, we’ll take it one step at a time.” Although this potential suiter seemed a little out of my league, the words ignited the feeling I get when I hold a 4th of July sparkler—alluringly simple with the potential to burn me. Like a sprinter poised on the starting blocks, my thumb hovered over the screen. I took a deep breath and swiped right. Instant match. Running was a huge step out of my comfort zone, but I could already feel the thrill of changing my Facebook status to “In a relationship” as I planned our first get-together.

The First Date

Running on a treadmill at the gymPer usual, I was a little self-conscious. I wished I were in better shape and was worried that I’d do something that would register an 8.9 on the Richter Scale of Embarrassment. Regardless of my insecurity, I double-knotted my laces and set out on my first date—running on the treadmill at the gym.

The setting couldn’t have been more perfect. My messy bun was on point and my sports bra was as supportive as my lifelong bestie. Our date began and immediately my strides fell in perfect time to the best Spotify playlist for runners the internet could recommend. Everything seemed perfect from the outside looking in, but there was something missing…I wasn’t feeling “that spark”.

The time progressed much like the calorie counter on the console, not fast enough. I ducked out as soon as I clocked the one-mile milestone, listening to the treadmill motor winding down as if it were heaving a sigh of disappointment.

Take Two

Running app on cell phone for motivationAlthough our first go was lack-luster I decided I would give running another try, but not before consulting with my girlfriends who were already in serious relationships with running. Everyone doled out helpful tips they swore were tried and true, but one recommendation stuck out. Endomondo, an app for your phone, tracks your workouts and basically acts as the social media source for the runner’s world. Since my first date fell flat, I wondered if this would be the extra spice I needed to add to my running life to make it more exciting.

Changing it up couldn’t hurt either, so I got outdoors and hit the track. Armed with a positive attitude and inspiration, I knew there was nowhere to go but up. One lap in, my motivation stalled like a buffering YouTube video. I stuck it out for one more lap so my run would last longer than the time it took for my new tech to download before saying goodbye for what I thought was the final time.

Third Time’s a Charm?

The next day I was ready to ghost running once and for all, but as much as I tried, I couldn’t get running out of my mind. Endomondo kept sending relentless notifications on how my friends were doing with their running relationships, and all I wanted was to find love like theirs. Always the hopeless romantic, I decided to give running one more chance.  

Without a Runner’s Horoscope to consult, I took to the internet and found some helpful tips that gave me the push I needed to rekindle my affection. Just like every other fitness format I've participated in, if I wanted running to work I needed to find what motivated me.

Listening to music while runningMusic has always been what moves me and gives me the power to change my attitude, so I put on my headphones and drowned out the noise of passing cars and my internal hesitation with a playlist of my personal favorites. Feet pounded the pavement, I tried to escape the doubt that followed me like my shadow. The struggle was real, but my music was better. Before I realized what was happening, I had logged three miles on my app and had no desire to stop. 

“It’s Not You, It’s Me.”

While running and I have had some great times together, we have decided to just be friends. (By “we” I mean “me”.) I still enjoy taking a lap or two or twelve around the track from time to time, but my passions fall more along the lines of Group Exercise Classes or fitness formats that push me past my limits like working with a Personal Trainer or hitting the courts for some Extreme Cardio Tennis.

Even though I’ve come to realize our love wasn’t written in the stars, that doesn’t mean running isn’t for you. So if you want to fall in love with running, my advice to you is this—be brave. Lace up. Swipe right.

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