November 7, 2011

Runday Monday: i AM a runner

I started running back in 2002 when I got the notion of running a marathon stuck in my head. Before that, not only did I not run, like at all, but I barely did any physical activity. Yet somehow, I managed to go from completely sedentary to completing a marathon in just over five months. Crazy? Yes, and a good story for another time. Smart? Probably not given I sustained a few injuries in the rigorous training program that could have been avoided with a more phased-in approach. But worth it?  Absolutely without a doubt. You see, that process jump started my journey into becoming a runner, though I've only recently been able to acknowledge that personal identifier.

After running the marathon, I took some time off from running. My body and my brain needed a break. Yet, it wasn't long until my body and my brain were craving a run and I started back at it again. I focused mostly on short runs, 5km or so, certainly no more than 10km. I wasn't interested in another marathon, unlike my training partner who went on to run a whole bunch more in the past nine years. Never again, I said. Nope, I was running because it was good for me, for my health, for my body, for my mind. That was all. I never considered myself "a runner".

A runner in my mind was someone who loves to run, who heads out there with vim and vigor every day and can race with the best of them. I was so far removed from that image I never considered myself a real runner. Every once in a while, someone would see me running and comment something to the effect of "oh you're a runner?" or "I didn't know you were a runner." To which I'd reply, "I'm not really. I _____" and I'd fill in the blank with any number of minimizing statements such as:
... am more of a jogger than a runner.
... just do it for exercise, not really to run.
... don't race or anything.
... am not fast, can't keep up with real runners.

And so the list goes on. The reality is I am a runner. I lace up my sneakers a few times a week. I put one foot in front of the other. I run. I may not be fast. Most days I may jog more than I run. I may walk a little bit too. I may run on the road by my house, not in a road race. I may run to stay healthy and fit, not to achieve a specific speed. I may never pass you in a race. I may never again do another marathon, but I did run until I was six months pregnant. I may not love. it, but I do it. I run. And that alone makes me a runner.

I think too often we all do it. We limit ourselves and minimize what we do because we don't live up to the perfect image we've created. Oh, I'm not a quilter I just stitch old patches of fabric together to toss on the family beds. I'm not writer, I just journal for my own interest. I'm not an artist, I play with paint and canvas for fun. It's unfortunate really as acknowledging who we are and what we do makes us stronger and more confident. Enough.

Today, I'll lace up those sneakers, grab the jogging stroller, and I'll hit the trail. Today, I'm happy to say I AM a runner.

sneakers for mom, check. water for mom, check. diaper bag for the boy. check.
we're geared up to go. run, run, run :)

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