I am a runner.
If you know me or have been following my running adventures on Instagra/Facebook, you probably think this is a ridiculous announcement. Because obvious. But hear me out!
I’ve often shied away from identifying as a runner. Even though I’ve run close to 800 miles this year alone, and I’ve spent the last 3 months running 30-40 miles a week, I didn’t think I deserved the label “runner.” I don’t really know what qualifications or prerequisites I thought I needed to call myself a runner but I didn’t think I had them. I mean, I didn’t even like running – hell I still don’t like it. I was just doing it to see how far (and eventually how fast) I could go. I was (am) slow, didn’t know anything about running form or any of the mechanics needed for short versus long distances.
Whenever I’d run around my neighborhood, or along the waterfront, or down a trail, I’d pass by people who, to me, looked like runners. People who looked like they were in good shape and knew what they were doing. For some reason I’d feel self-conscious, like an imposter, trying to be like them. But not them. Could they see the distress on my face? Could they tell every step burned but I was too stubborn to stop? Did they worry I’d pass out on the path and force them to hurdle over me? Most of the runners I’d see looked like they ran with ease and I felt like I was barely surviving.
But it was all in my head. Cuz ain’t nobody thinking about me!!!!! #NobodyCameToSeeYouGemmie
Once I started training for the half marathon I signed up for in June, I got out of my head (and my head out of my ass) and started running with a kickass-take-names attitude. Thirteen point one miles is a long time to be running and worried about something that just did no exist. The only way to conquer the distance was through confidence and determination. My body was clearly capable of carrying me the distance, but it was my mind that had to do the hard work.
And, as I’ve eluded to in previous posts, my mental space has been on fleek lately. So I was ready to put the uncertainty, self-doubt, apprehension to the side and embrace who I was: A runner.
I’m not a runner because I can run 14 miles without needing to walk part of it. I’m not a runner because I like running. I’m not a runner based I have knowledge about running. I’m not a runner because I’ve run in races. I’m not a runner because I own 5 different pairs of running shoes (that I rotate mostly based on the outfit I wear to run). I’m not a runner because I run with running groups.
I’m a runner because I run. And running is part of my world, and part of how I see myself in it. Plain and simple. I don’t need qualifiers or any special credentials.
And as a self-identified runner, I will run my first half marathon tomorrow, September 19 with a winning attitude. I won’t be a wimp, I will be strong. I will do more than just finish, I will set my personal best for distance runs. I’ve worked my ass (and legs and lower back) off preparing for this day and I’m both nervous and excited to meet the challenge and reach the goals I’ve set for myself. I’m so thankful to have had so many people in my corner cheering me on. My heart is full to know so many people support me and want to see me do well.
I’m ready to push past my limits, to challenge what I thought possible, to be great! Because greatness is what I do and who I am!
I am a runner. And come tomorrow morning, I’ll officially be a half marathon runner 🙂