Mind-blowing sex happens when two people are so in sync that they completely lose themselves in each other; both individuals temporarily free themselves of the endless to-do lists and frustrations from work as they fully give their mind and body over to their partner. It’s an erotic, intimate experience.
It’s no secret that married couples have sex, yet few married people talk about their sex lives. How often do other couples have sex? Share secrets on different positions? What do you do if you woke up at 5 am with a sick baby, were puked on all day and you’re just plain not in the mood when your husband comes home from work? I smirk as I think, Tell us! Tell us! The people want to know! But no one will—not one word—even though it is a shared, universal act. Why do you think that is?
Maybe it’s due to cultural traditions or proper etiquette to remain mum. Either way, the sexual experiences people have are incredibly personal, private and are considered sacred to many. Intimacy occurs when you expose the tarnished parts of yourself and are undoubtedly accepted by your partner. It is the rare occasion when you voluntarily reveal your raw, vulnerable self to another.
This discussion is not a foray into my personal sex life. In fact, it’s just the opposite. My sex life is private; meant for my husband and I. Sorry, not budging on the particulars there!
So, where does running fit in all of this? Allow me to explain.
A couple of months ago I met a young male trainer (early 20s or so) at my gym. We received our spin certification together and have bumped into each other a couple of times since then. Despite being a nice young man, every single time I saw him he criticized how I lifted, did push-ups and even jumped rope. Once he was on the second floor and yelled down to me (on the 1st floor) to negatively critique my jump squat. Then he just disappeared! If you are going to criticize me at least stick around to show me how to do it correctly!!
While these criticisms initially irritated me, I started to accept that this trainer was actually trying to be helpful and friendly—in a somewhat socially awkward fashion. I really believe that he means well and that I probably have been overly sensitive (wouldn’t be the first time). In short, all was forgiven—UNTIL that fateful day when he harped on my running.
The Scene of the Crime
I decided to jog around the track in between lifting sets: four measly laps for kicks. Nothing crazy. No fast pace. Just for fun. As I trotted along I looked up to see the little bugger staring at me. “Relax your arms when you run. You’re holding them too high,” he called. Oh no you didn’t! I fumed to myself. B**ch, puh-lease!
I totally got my panties in a bunch. Couldn’t help it! Four silly little laps and you are going to correct my form? What? But we barely know each other! In my mind I was going to round-house kick this kid to the curb, Kill Bill style right there and then. (Now would be a good time to mention that I was an overly emotional, estrogen-filled wreck that day.)
Disregarding the irate ramblings of my inner monologue, somehow I managed to calmly respond, “I’m a runner. This was four silly little laps. Please don’t correct my form.” He looked at me with a blank expression and said, “YOU? A RUNNER?” The steam started to rise again. Oh hell no, kid!!!!!! You are KILLING ME TODAY.
I thought to myself, YES—ME—a runner! Is it so hard to believe? The trainer’s statement was followed by another winning declaration, “Oh, I don’t run, but my friend does and he suggests to always keep your arms loose and lowered when you run.” My thoughts erupted into a sea of expletives. WHAT THE F*@K?!?! YOU DON’T EVEN RUN! Why am I still standing here talking to you! Bah! Go away!
Before I spiral off into full blown rant I want to circle back to my point: how running and sex are similar. After “the incident” occurred, I spent the rest of the day thinking about this young trainer and what he said to me. Moreover, I spent most of my time thinking about why I took his comments so personally. Why did I care so much? (Aside from the obvious answer: I am an overly sensitive, overly emotional, hormone-crazed woman.)
Like sex, everything about my running is personal, private and sacred. Albeit strong, my running self is vulnerable and emotionally raw. Any critique against this part of myself feels like an assault against everything I strive to be. You have to earn the right to correct me about my running style. I have to invite you in, ask for tips and pointers and be open to hearing what I’m doing wrong or could do better. Anything new I want to try in terms of training has to come from my personal desire. My husband is the one I am open to hearing from when it comes to sex; this young trainer was not that person when it comes to running.
Running is a skill I have been honing for over 10 years and right now, with a toddler, it’s the only time I have to myself. It’s my happy place, and I guard it fiercely. Running makes me feel strong, invincible and free. I can be anyone and accomplish anything. When I run I let go of all my stressors and worries, and I become the confident, capable woman who usually only appears in my dreams. In many ways I view my running self as the best version of myself. This woman is driven, focused, passionate, strong and confident. The other 23 hours of the day are comprised of managing a household (laundry, diapers and cooking, oh my!); my mommy and wife selves draw strength from the resilient running alter-ego who resides somewhere within my bones.
Yes, running can be as sacred as sex.