An Open Letter to my 5K Training App

Dear 5K Training App,

I feel guilty about the way I handled things. I do. I’d give anything to go back to those blissful first days of the new year—the honeymoon period, if you will—when we sailed along, steadfast in our mutual commitment to a physical transformation not unlike that of Eddie Murphy’s character in “The Nutty Professor.”

We were so good together, 5K Training App. You gently suggested that I alternate between walking and jogging at 60-second intervals, and I cheerily obliged. “Start running,” you murmured encouragingly. “Set your mind free.” I felt like an Adidas model as I pranced down the sidewalk, a thin stream of sweat dripping appealingly into my pimply cleavage zone. “I can do this,” I thought, visualizing myself completing a 30-minute run with ease.

We took things public during our second week together. I joined several local running groups on Facebook and purchased a gel anti-chafing stick. I began telling people to “be well.”

You coached me through slightly longer running intervals—three minutes, this time—and I accepted the challenge. “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you,” you noted. “This is what athletes feel like,” I thought to myself, gritting my teeth and bellowing “ON YOUR LEFT!” to strolling passersby.

After each running interval concluded, I hastily glanced around the park to make sure no one saw me slow to a walk. Once, I noticed a middle-aged couple watching me from a park bench. I sauntered over to them, massaging an imaginary shoulder cramp. “Shoulda packed an extra hydration gel chew,” I joked, hanging my tongue out of the side of my mouth. “Runner probs!”

Our relationship began to sour during the third week. Halfway through one particularly grueling session in a crowded park, I noticed my headphones were slightly unplugged. I realized that, for the past 20 minutes, the entire park had been privy to your commands, including that one time you told me to “START RUNNING” and I just—well, I just didn’t. With that, the leisurely park-goers had become privy to our deteriorating dynamic. “Attitudes are contagious,” you proclaimed passive-aggressively. “Make yours worth catching.” I went home and sat in my empty bathtub for 45 minutes, staring at my blurry reflection in the faucet.

On the second day of our fourth week together, you betrayed me. You cruelly proposed that I jog for five minutes, walk for two minutes, jog for three minutes, walk for 90 seconds and jog for five minutes. “I’m not ready,” I stuttered. “I think I need to repeat last week’s intervals.”

You wouldn’t listen. “Let’s dust off those running shoes and do your body some good,” you demanded. I attempted to complete the intervals, giving up halfway through. 5K Training App, I walked back to my car and went home. I ripped off my sports bra, cracked open a beer and threw my phone against the refrigerator. That was the end for us, I think.

I feel sorry for you, 5K Training App. Don’t think I haven’t noticed the daily notifications you sent trying to guilt me into coming back. “It all begins with one step,” you whisper cheekily. Well, 5K Training App, I took at least 450 steps during our time together and not a thing has begun—except my inevitable spiral into self-loathing.

This morning, I woke to find you gone. “These notifications don’t seem to be working,” you muttered. “I’ll stop sending them so I don’t bother you.” I placed my phone gently on my pillow, releasing a shuddery sob of relief. I was free.

What have we become, 5K Training App? I’m a mere shell of my former self, left with acute tendonitis and an extra layer of abdominal fat resulting from overzealous Luna Bar consumption.

That’s why, 5K Training App—my baleful, unforgettable tormenter—I’m deleting you. I’m casting you back into the sinister depths of the App Store to rest alongside my hydration reminder app, my calorie counting app and my positive affirmations app. I’m enjoying a gentler approach to wellness these days, treating myself to novelty teas and satiny neck pillows. You will trigger my obsessive self-care tendencies no more, 5K Training App. At least, not for a while.

Who am I kidding? I’ll see you next January.