My RBF (Running Best Friend) Janelle and I did the Nike Town run on Thursday, she rolled in right as the group started stretching, and gave me a quick hug and that sympathetic look I’ve been accustomed to getting since my breakup.
We launched into a dynamic stretch routine as instructed by our very excited Nike employee, who between exercises, told us over the PA system about the latest shoe the store had. Some folk from Nike Corporate introduced themselves and asked us a few questions about how I liked my Nike GPS watch and took a few photos (weird, I know), but we soon shot off into the damp night.
As the crowd thinned out a little, Janelle turned to me and asked me what happened with the ex, and I recounted the events of the preceding Friday, warts and all.
“But you don’t even seem angry! Is there not part of you that is seriously mad?” she asked, we had stopped at a red light on Santa Monica Boulevard, too consumed in the conversation to realize how fast we were going and we gasped for air.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me!” I said, taking a layer off and checking the distance on my watch. “I’m sure I should be. But I just think that the very best I can do is to accept it and pull myself together some how and move on. The only thing I have any power over is my choice of thoughts – and I can choose to be sad, or chose not to be.”
The lights changed, and we carried on running up into the residential hills above Sunset Boulevard, through the jagged shadows the palm trees cast on the sidewalk. Janelle was silent for a moment,
“Wow Oliver” she said deliberately, “it looks like you’re choosing a new beginning.”
I knew that she had said something really profound and we got quiet as I digested her words, our breathing was deep but steady and the buzz of the rush hour traffic faded below us. We pushed on together silently up the hill into the night, and for that perfect moment, there was nothing but our running and the forward flow of life.
I realized that new beginnings are something that us runners are accostomed to dealing with all the time. If we train really hard for a race, if we really put the work in, we get a chance at getting some glory. That glory might be a personal best, a medal, or even prize money, but we only really get a shot at it, if we do the work and chose to see the race as a new beginning.
We cannot bring in the past to a race. We can’t worry about what’s gone wrong with our training plan, or focus on that injury we have suffered with. If we are to get that shot at glory, we need a blank slate at the start of each race, we need to see it as a new beginning.
Running has taught me that to move forward in any aspect of my life, if I am to stand even a chance at getting glory in anything I chose, I have to see each day as a new beginning. Janelle reminded me that fixing this broken heart of mine will only happen when I start seeing it as a new beginning for me, and that is why she’s my RBF.
Who’s your RBF or do you prefer to run solo?