We made it. And when I say “we,” I mean it. I couldn’t have done it without you. I really didn’t know what to expect when I signed on to write this column. I love running, of course, but there are plenty of things I love that I cannot put into 700 words every week. I usually write features and profiles for that very reason; it’s difficult to write about something you love. That’s why my sorry excuse of an essay for the New York Times’ Modern Love column will remain buried deep within a forgotten folder on my computer.
This column is different, though. I didn’t write an ode to running for myself. I wrote it for you. Perhaps you’re bored of running or perhaps you’ve never really given it a fair shot. Perhaps you needed a little extra encouragement from a friend. I wanted to be the friend that could set you up so that you can fall in love with running the same way I did.
It wasn’t always easy to explain the things I wrote about. Love and running are both so irrational that it was hard to capture them on paper. Anyone who has ever been in love understands. The little reasons you fall in love never seem to fully add up to why you feel so strongly.
This column was a semester-long challenge to find the little reasons, and I hope at least one meant something to you. It gave me a whole new approach to running, like my own version of 50 First Dates. Every single time I went on a run, I was looking for a new thing to love — wthe shorts tan, the community, the burn in my legs after five miles. It was amazing how many I noticed once I kept my eyes open for them. So yes, it was you who made every time I laced up my shoes feel like the first time.
We’ve been through a lot together. Maybe you remember my struggle to find time to run during spring break or how I got sick the day before my half marathon. You were there when I had to admit to myself that I may not ever be fast enough to qualify for Boston, but you were also there when I broke my personal record. There’s ups and downs in every relationship, and running is no exception. What matters is every Tuesday, you were there, and I have to thank you for keeping me accountable.
You told me how impressed you were that I could come up with something to write about every week. Even though it was hard sometimes, I feel the same way now as I do at the end of the race. I could do it all over again right now. Because right now with you feels really good. Whether you made it to the end of a 5K or simply the end of the semester, you should be very proud of yourself, too. There’s no accomplishment too small. We make a good team.
From here on out, the rest is on you. I’ve done my part. For this to work out, you need to put in the effort. The weather is getting nicer. If you have a few minutes, grab your running shoes and get outside. Go somewhere together. Get to know each other a little better. I can almost guarantee that it’ll make your heart race.
Meghan Coyle is a senior majoring in print and digital journalism. She was also the online managing editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Chasing Pavements,” ran Tuesdays.