At least a few times a week, I will read a post by another blogger and think to myself “I need to post on that” but then I get all sidetracked with other posts and forget about them. Or I start a post and it stays in my drafts so long that I end up never finishing it. Well folks, all I have is time right now since I am not actually working-out in any capacity; I figured now is the time to get writing on those posts!
Today’s Topic: Friendships and Running
Over the last few months, I have been giving a lot of thought to how much my life has changed since the awful break-up in 2007 that led me to change my life and begin getting healthy. There have been so many changes, it is hard to even remember the person I was then. There have been ups (PR’s) and downs (injuries) but I have loved this ride and I am such a better person now than I was then. I like this girl a lot!
I noticed that one of the biggest changes in my life has been with friendships. I knew that when I joined a team I would make a lot of new friends but I had no idea how much my relationships with old friends would change. Instead of being happy for me and embracing my new sense of self and healthy life-style, there were a few friends who downright dissed me. As if my positive change was negatively affecting them. That really surprised me and continues to surprise me.
(I should stop and mention now, that when I say friends…it wasn’t all my friends; it was a handful of acquaintances and more specifically three closer friends…I certainly don’t want to lump them all together, as many have and continue to be very supportive.)
When I first expressed interest in triathlon, many people doubted me. And trust me, I was not shocked- I didn’t know how to ride a bike, I hated running, I smoked and I preferred to spend a Friday night drinking rather than going to bed early in preparation for a weekend morning workout. I’ll admit it, even I was a bit skeptical! But I stuck with the working out and really devoted myself to learning all about triathlon.
The first time I realized that my friends didn’t “get it” was when I had a girls night at my apartment and my one friend picked up my Triathlete magazine and sarcastically said “cool mag Jill” as she rolled her eyes. This was just the first of many comments that were to come. I would get comments like “guess you can’t go out because you have to go to the gym” or ”I just figured you were out with your team” or my favorite “you don’t know how to have fun anymore” which bothered me for two reasons. 1- what I was doing was fun for me and 2- I still liked to have a good time, just not an every-night-of-the-week good time.
For the first year, when all I had on my schedule was one tri and a few small road races, I think my friends really just saw this as a phase. Since I wasn’t training hardcore, I still did a fair share of drinking, going out late and yes, even smoking. But eventually the working-out began taking precedent over the late nights and drinking. Something inside changed.
Things really began to change in late 2008, when I was going through some knee problems and couldn’t run for eight weeks. I noticed I was down, depressed and moody. I noticed that I liked running. I knew then that this wasn’t a phase and that I would make this my lifestyle. Additionally, I decided to quit smoking and seriously tone down the drinking. The year 2009 was a tough one for me, and I am so thankful that I had my sports of triathlon and running to keep me balanced. I am an all around better person than I was, and more importantly I am healthy and happy.
I know that the reality of it is that I am better off without negative, non-supportive people in my life. I know that when people change, things change. When the drinking/partying was taken out of the equation, there wasn’t much left. It isn’t so much that they couldn’t understand my lifestyle changes, they just didn’t want to understand. And worse, they simply didn’t care. What I have come to learn is that often friendships are based on common ground…and for myself and some of my friends at the time, partying was the common ground. Sad, but true.
For the most part, I am okay with the losses because the gains have been so big. But it doesn’t make it any easier to understand.
My changes have all been for the better, whether people choose to see that as a good or bad thing is beyond my control. What I can control is how I deal with things; I understand that not everyone “gets it” but I do not think it necessitates rude and sarcastic comments. There is no reason to keep people in my life who bring me down, when I have so many that lift me up. When a friendship ends, it’s like a break-up…sad, but for the best.
Positive in, negative out!
Have you experienced any changes in friendships throughout your tri/running journey?