Lament of the Lonely Runner

IMAG1673

 

She runs alone

with no partner, friend, coach or team

to while away the hours

as the kilometres plod by

 

Time in her head

her own company she keeps

She sings to herself

to keep the rhythm in her feet

and silently screams at the voices

that tell her to stop

that she can’t do it

that she shouldn’t be there

 

She revisits past troubles

and reviews ones yet to come

She rewrites past conversations

and rehearses ones that have to come

 

It has always been thus

and she has met the challenges

she has set for herself

and overcome them

Alone

 

And she has not minded

the time alone

She is alone

but not lonely

 

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Until today

 

Today the loneliness strikes hard

Even the usual fleeting connections

with strangers on the track

a smile, a wave, a breathless ‘Hello’

are rare on this cold and blustery winter day

as sensible people stay indoors

curled up on the couch

watching their footy team play

 

Perhaps, in these days of reduced social interaction

this introvert has had too much of a good thing

like an overly restrictive diet

As coffee dates and drinks and dinners out

have all but disappeared

perhaps loneliness has put a foot in the door

 

The loneliness in her life

finds its way onto the track

 

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As the kilometres of bitumen

pass endlessly by

under her pounding feet

she questions this life choice

this pursuit of isolation

And she knows

 

Because loneliness is hard

but also all too easy

 

She questions her value as a friend

to all but a tiny few

Reaching out is easy when one feels

one’s value to the other

 

She knows she is appreciated

for her willingness to help

and her acts of generosity

She knows she is respected

for her tenacity in the face of challenge

and her passion for justice

 

But she longs to be loved

for her sense of humour

and her addiction to American late night talk shows

for her innate childish silliness

and her ridiculous dance moves

for her love of cosplay

and musicals and themed birthday parties

 

She wishes her annoying traits

that keep her from friendship

could be softened and understood

couched in an understanding

of her shyness and social awkwardness

her need for order

and her belief that life should be fair and just

 

IMAG1139

 

As she reaches the end

the thoughts ease for now

and she knows

tomorrow she will lace these shoes again

and run

alone again

 

Always alone

but not always lonely

 

 

48 thoughts on “Lament of the Lonely Runner

  1. Well nice post and very different halfway through when you changed the tone.

    I liked hearing more about introverted info because you showed the very real need we all have for human connection- and There
    Are myths about introverts and high extroverts.
    However – and i do not want this to sound wrong -‘but the whole
    Post reminds me as to why I don’t like running -‘yawn -‘yawn yawn – glad I found yoga to fill my exercise need and while i do recall thinking a lot on my jogging runs – there was something about this post that made me want to tell the runner here to start getting some awesome podcasts and educational stuff to soak up – it could bring so much richness and really add zest to the soul – rather than so much idle musings that seem almost the faucet or downness – hard to say from a post – but as I finished reading I felt as if the runner here needs a hobbie ((a real ones that brings flow and engagement)) and needs to tap into things that engage the soul and essence – because some of the bland might not find the remedy in only company –

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment. Lots of good things in there.
      1. I’m not much of a fan of running myself. lol I mostly like that it’s a quick way to stay fit and burn calories so I can eat chocolate. I’ve also become addicted to shiny finisher’s medals. 🙂
      2. I should be using the time more productively but to be honest, I can’t find headphones that are comfortable to wear when I’m running. So I tend to go without.
      3. I do actually have other hobbies. I sing, write songs, do crochet, draw, write and sew. I also teach special ed which I love. Hey, it’s winter and I’m not coping well with being cold. Downward trending thoughts are inevitable in a two-and-a-half hour run in the elements.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Again – so sorry for any rudeness – and the start of winter indeed has so much to toss our way – and don’t forget how crucial vitamin d can be to mood – as well as lots of good b complex -‘and have you ever heard of
        “Facial hypothesis feedback” by laird? Check it out….

        Liked by 1 person

      • Heather, you have multiple talents and multiple commitments. I’m glad running meets the “alone-time”, “thinking-time” needs for you, even if I do worry it – the running – might sometimes be over intense. Yes, the weather’s a shocker. Personally, I’ve barely stepped outdoors – that blast’d heath! – and I’m depressed as all hell. Have a hot chocolate and crumpets. Or maple-bacon. Let me know when it’s cappuccino time again xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m not coping at all well with this weather. I feel cold all the time. I sat in the spa for at least half an hour after the run and still felt cold. It affects my motivation which then loads on stress (fear of failure). I really need to stick to the half marathons. Therein lies the joyful part of running. 🙂
          Let me finish this current project and in a couple of weeks we’ll do that cappuccino. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • I just went to Pasquini’s in Point Lonsdale – snug and warm inside, but a young tradie type waiting on his coffee was shaking with cold and hugging his torso. I could almost see “DON’T MAKE ME GO OUT THERE AGAIN!” writ across his forehead 😄

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I felt as though I was running with you, except that I’d be walking, I’ve never been very much of a runner.
    A very heartfelt post and one I could relate to in parts. Thanks for sharing yourself so honestly. Take care x 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is as close to running as I’ll likely ever get, but I’m glad you brought us along. I’m a little winded.

    I sometimes have similar thoughts when I go for a bike ride and pass a group of riders. Then I hear one of them barking orders, of yelling about the pace. Then I stop to take a picture and realize that wouldn’t be permitted. And then I am fine again.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I well remember the endless ‘thinking’ while running Heather. I will say I wore one ear phone for music and switched them back and forth for comfort. I hope the benefits of running outweigh the loneliness. Xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve tried three different lots of ear phones and just can’t seem to find ones that sit comfortably. I’ll keep trying because I think prior’s idea of podcasts is a good one.
      Whenever I really get over it all, I eat a chocolate bar and remember I can get away with it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sigh… Ah, MOSY you spend too much time listening to your inner self. Just look at that wonderful countryside you are running in? I’d be a rotten companion, because a) I can’t run and b) I’d be stopping all the time to take photos but I can help you eat the chocolate!! 😀 😀
    BTW you have just reminded me of ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’ that we read in school. At the time I did rather like cross country running except that it was always done in winter and we weren’t allowed track suits…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha. Yes, perhaps solo long distance running is not the most ideal pursuit for an over-thinker. 😉
      Those photos are from previous (happier) runs. As M-R has pointed out, I should have taken one of the conditions yesterday for perspective.
      I actually hated the cross-country at school. (And we didn’t have to run in a Northern winter.) Just another of those ironic anomalies in my life. 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow MOSY, your poetry is amazing and far more reflective than my little rhyming couplets. I’m sorry, but I can’t offer to be your running partner because I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to run and talk at the same time. How about you run and I talk. That would work for me! Also, never forget your blogging friends. We are always eager for your next post. Perhaps you could compose them in your head while you run and think of us all reading them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s difficult to choose between a passion and the rest of life, especially when it comes to the flesh and blood we call family and friends. I admire your passion with running, because I’ve long desired that kind of dedication to my own physical fitness. Other than the ocassional biking, I’ve been choosing the dinners and friends lately…

    We have to take care of ourselves physically and emotionally, so I think you should do what makes you happy. If it’s choosing a run over pie and coffee with a friend, then so be it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m definitely at that “this is the last time I’m doing a marathon” stage when I realise just how much time it takes out of my life. Of course, I’ve said that before so we’ll see but right now I really want some of my life back. But I’ll still be running. Too many positives to abandon it completely. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The lovely photos are misleading, H darlin: they should show the weather as it was yesterday – rain, rain and more rain, accompanied by gusts of horrible cold bloody WIND. Therein lie the origins of these thoughts – yesterday …
    Remember what I said to you a while ago: “I do love you, H – you are so very loveable …”

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I don’t eat chocolate and as a result never run. Instead I walk and eat copious quantities of pumpkin soup which I bake first with leeks, onions etc. I walk mainly with my wife Helvi and Jack Russell, ‘Milo.’ Loneliness or feeling lonely is not the same as being alone as you pointed out. We all need time to be alone and one can achieve that even when surrounded by people. In fact, it is a good thing when one can be happy with own company. It is something I am still working on. As a society we seem to be stuck too much on ‘privacy’. All those blinds, curtains and fences, why?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the reason I felt compelled to write about my experience is because, despite spending a lot of time alone, I don’t often feel lonely so yesterday was a bit of a shock really.
      My blinds, curtains and fences come in the form of shyness and social awkwardness. I’ve always found it difficult to initiate social interactions and tend to wait for others to invite me.

      Like

  10. I often do the same when I’m walking, Heather, though for me the camera intrudes on my thoughts. (just occurred to me you must have paused to take the shots- or are they from the archives? 🙂 ) Know that you are loved, hon. We all have to find a way.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am so glad you did not delete this post as you mentioned in your comment to Su. Your words so beautifully describe feelings that so many carry. Although I don’t run, I often cycle on my own. I enjoy the alone time, often the only chance I get to allow my brain to think in a quiet space, but I can certainly appreciate if one was feeling lonely, this might be the best kind of scenario. I would like to echo the thoughts of so many here, know that you are loved & cared about Heather, even on those days that you feel unlovable. Be exactly who you are & keep tilting your face towards the sunshine my friend. XXX

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a close thing… but I’m glad I kept it up too.
      I’ve run alone a lot (well 99.9% of the time really) and it’s never really bothered me. I enjoy the time to think and just be with myself but for whatever many reasons, this one was a difficult one. I’m sure I’ll get my balance back.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This was so eloquent – and relatable. No, you aren’t alone in your feelings. There are many of us out there … so much of what I do is done alone – like right now. I’m sitting alone in a b&b in Quebec having just finished day 1 of a 4-day cycling trip. The company of a good friend would be nice, but I’d rather do it alone than sit at home not taking the adventure because no one would come with me.

    Liked by 1 person

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