I am not a runner.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times these words have come out of my mouth. Oh, I run, I guess. But I am not a runner.
But yesterday, somewhere around mile 15, I got upset with myself for being stuck on that. I am not a runner. I put my shoes on 4-5 times a week. I place one foot in front of another. I get myself out there. I try things that used to terrify me. I stake my claim on roads, dirt paths, paved trails. I’ve found myself sobbing endlessly halfway on a route. I’ve been filled with the most unimaginable joy possible. I’ve challenged myself. I’ve wanted to give up more times than I can count. Yet, I have wanted to keep going more times than I have ever wanted to quit.
I have clothes that will never smell normal. I have calloused covering my feet. I have tired legs. Yet, a strong mind. I foam roll. I plan my meals around what will best suit a run. I cut my hair because before it was too long to run in a ponytail comfortably. I spend three hours of my Saturday maneuvering through rain, hail, and wind, just for the promise of the sun on the last mile. I have given blood and sweat to the roads. I have found myself in ways I have never imagined. I have grown as a human. I find myself having more grace, more tolerance, more hope.
I am never going to be the fastest. And, yeah, some days I don’t want to move. Or I question my hobbies. But I keep coming back. I will always keep coming back. Running is so much a part of me. I am a runner. That is all there is to it.