I identify as, and am, a lot of things: Christ follower, wife, mother, homeschooler, daughter, friend…but one thing has escaped me. No matter how hard I tried, I could not bring myself to say I am a runner.
I get out there, I run, but I see other runners, moving so much more easily and quickly and I think, “now that’s a runner.” I was even, after doing a 7-mile run, saw a picture of someone running, and thought, “I wish I could run like them.”
I ended up frustrated and looking for reassurance, so I took to one of my fitness groups on Facebook–“when do you feel like a real runner?”
Unanimously, they reassured me I was a runner…someone who runs is a runner was the message. One lady even pointed out my pace is 2 minutes faster than what is required for most races (I had no idea–glad those races I did early in my running didn’t kick me out!)
I walked away feeling better, but still a little unconvinced.
I kept turning the thought over and over in my mind.
Would I want my girls to ever doubt their efforts? Sue is doing her second play this weekend…do I want her to doubt the hard work she has put in? Does her lack of a union card make her less of an actress, singer, or dancer? No! Caitlyn runs on her own and with me. Am I going to tell her she is not a real runner? Never!! Patrice loves to create. Am I going to tell her she’s not a real artist? Not in a million years!!
As P!nk says “You’re so mean when you talk about yourself, you are wrong. Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead…” And she’s right, I am. I am very mean when I talk to myself, I internalize the bad and the ugly, and that is what I hear, what I listen to.
But yesterday, I decided to change at least one part of that broken record.
I am a runner. I ran 11 1/2 miles+ last week. I am at 10 so far this week. I am training for two different races (a relay in April and a half marathon in September), I am working on improving distance and pace, my mind is either thinking about my last run or planning when to fit in the next one, I consider my running jacket and pants one of the best purchases I ever made…AND…I ran two miles back to back under 13 minutes (12:27 and 12:32 if you are wanting to know as badly as I am wanting to tell you!).*
If all of that doesn’t convince me I am a runner, nothing ever will.
*Just a few notes concerning that pace to put it into perspective for you: I am only 4 ft 9 inches tall, my pace in August when I started running again was a 19-minute mile, and I am carrying about 35 extra pounds. No excuses, just perspective on how far I have come.