As I was running this morning, I kept thinking about how far I’ve come on my own running journey. When I first started, I couldn’t make it a block. I remember the first time I ran 10 miles – I could not fathom that I was capable of double-digit mileage. When I crossed the finish line at my first half marathon, I was flabbergasted to realize that the fatigue I felt was only half that of a marathoner. Crossing the finish line in 2012 at my first full marathon, the San Francisco Marathon, I vowed to never put myself through the pain and anguish of training and running another full marathon; however, I changed my mind within a few weeks (the reduced registration cost sold me – I can never pass up a good deal) and registered for this year’s marathon.
I’m never going to run an 18 minute 5K. I may never qualify for the Boston Marathon. I have big ankles, big hips, and my legs aren’t miles long. When I run, it’s not effortless, and I don’t have the gait of a gazelle. Genetics can be a terrible thing, and in my case, I’m not born to run. I’m not one of those people who could cease running for months and then pick it up only to run a 1:30 half marathon.
Although I don’t look like a runner and my times aren’t fast, I can compete with myself and beat times I know I’m capable of running. I’m highly self-critical, and it takes a lot of effort for me to realize that I’ve continuously improved since I started running a measly five years ago. I also have personality attributes that help me push through a tough workout. What I may lack in speed, I more than make up in sheer tenacity and willpower.
I may eschew labels, but I am someone who runs frequently. Is a runner someone who runs a lot? I’m not sure, but I’m comfortable in my running shoes.