You know that awful feeling you used to get in the pit of your stomach every September when you realized summer was over and you had the go back to school? That feeling never goes away. I might not have to go back to a classroom, but there is still something about the carefree days of summer coming to an end that is very, very depressing.
This past September I was really feeling it hard. Summer was over, I had been working the same job for two years, living in the same shoebox of an apartment. The novelty of living in New York City had all but worn off and I was still single. Life was stale and I was itching for a change, and not just a seasonal one.
Enter Eli. I met Eli while celebrating a friend’s birthday at a bar in the Lower East Side. He was sexy, fun, and just what the doctor ordered to bring some excitement back into my life. We spent a fantastic six months together before he left the country.
Exit Eli, enter crippling anxiety. We were in the middle of a polar vortex, my boyfriend had the audacity to leave me to go finish medical school in Israel and just about every single one of my friends was in a relationship. What was I going to do? Who would hang out with me? Would I make it out of this winter alive?!
I needed an activity to fill the void Eli had left. A goal to work towards. A light at the end of the polar vortex. Something I could do while my friends were brunching with their boyfriends. The criteria for this activity were simple: I had to be able to do it alone and it had to cost little to no money. The low cost thing seemed impossible since I decided to call New York City home, but I was determined.
I settled on training for a race. I entered the lottery for a popular race in my hometown, the Philadelphia Broad Street Run and was one of the lucky 40,000 people chosen to tackle the 10 miles. It was February, so I had a little less than three months to prepare for race day in May. The task was daunting. I have always enjoyed exercise, but my racing experience was limited to a three-mile breast cancer fundraising run. I invested in a polar fleece and began to pound the pavement. With a little help from Beyonce, two miles turned into four, which turned into six and then eight.
I was surprised to see how my training began to affect all aspects of my life. I felt physically stronger, empowered to take control of my career and, overall more independent. And I fell in love with New York again. I ran all over the city, exploring paths, parks and places I had never seen.
When race day finally arrived I felt prepared and excited. No nerves, I could do this. And I kicked ass! There really is no better feeling than crossing that finish line knowing I accomplished my goal. I was so proud that I even posted a less than attractive, sweaty selfie on Instagram to show off.
It has been a few months since Broad Street and I am still single and still running. Only now I run for me. I no longer have that anxious feeling or a void to fill. Running has become a part of who I am. I look forward to putting on my sneakers every day and have started training for my first half marathon.
And if a man does enter my life, I will gladly join him for Sunday brunch. But only after my run.