Monday, September 23, 2013

I am a runner

The definition of a runner is: 
runner: noun
 a person who runs, esp. in a specified way.

Until recently I have struggled with this definition. I have always thought that in order to call myself a "runner" I have to run marathons or something. Part of the problem is that I am an overachiever. Like...really badly. I am one of those people who will actually not do something if I don't think I can do it best. The sad part is that my version of "best" is sometimes defined by what someone else has done, and I HATE that. I hate that I would actually let myself be discouraged by doing something because I may not be able to do it as well as someone else. Don't get me wrong. Not everything is this way, but I do struggle with this on certain things. One of those things is running.

When I was in high school I played basketball and softball so running was a given, but it was never something I enjoyed. However, I did it all summer long every summer so that I didn't die trying to get back in shape when we started conditioning for basketball in the Fall. I continued running for a bit after graduation, but you can probably guess what happened as I got into college. Life got busy. I stopped running. Before I got married I ran occasionally, and I don't remember it really being an "issue" then either. However, in the last few years I have developed this love/hate [mostly hate] relationship with running. At the beginning of this year I was determined to get back to it and drop a few pounds so that things didn't get out of hand around here, and I did. Things were slow at work so I was home a lot during the first part of the year. I had time to get on the treadmill, and I ate better, pushed myself, and drank a lot of water. I was feeling great, and I was satisfied with what I was doing on the treadmill. Then the weather got warmer, and work got busier. I tried running outside, knowing that it would be more challenging than my treadmill run, but it was even more difficult than I had imagined. I got discouraged. Instead of kicking butt, I allowed being busy to take over. I just stopped.

Despite how it may sound, my biggest struggle is not with the on again/off again running cycle that I seem to be stuck in. It is my attitude in comparing myself to others. Before I got back to it this month I would see what seemed like everyone and their dog running 5Ks ALL.THE.TIME. My struggle has been with the fact that it seemed like everyone in the world is able to do it, and they were able to do it [what seemed like] so effortlessly. It has always seemed, and still does, that running comes much easier to others. No matter how hard I work and how much I push myself it is always a fight. It still seems like every day I see another person that saying, “Yeah, I just woke up and decided I wanted to run a marathon, so I did!”  In the past instead of using these people as inspiration or fuel to get going I would secretly get mad [and jealous of] them. I chose to sulk on the couch instead of doing something about it. But recently I had a change of heart.

I have been jogging for only a short time this month, but just like I mentioned here, my outlook is different. I am improving both my endurance and my way of thinking. Before, if I had a slow day or didn't make it quite as far without stopping I would get discouraged. Before I had to force myself to get out for a run and often looked for any excuse not to. Now I actually want to run. Now I am scheduling other things around my run so that I am sure to get it done. Now when I feel like I might die I just walk for a few seconds-even if it is only half a mile in. Now when I finish, and I have only ran 1.5 miles total-I am proud that I did it instead of disappointed in what I didn’t do. Now when I see that someone ran a 5K-I am proud to say that I got off my duff and ran that day too. I have never had this feeling towards running, and I am so thankful that I am at a place where it doesn't matter how far anyone else runs. It does not affect me. I know that every mile I run, no matter how slow, is better than no miles at all.

 I will actually consider it a miracle if someone has made it [reading] this far, but this was kind of therapeutic for me to write. Today's run was hard, and tomorrow's will be too. But I am proud to say that I look forward to getting out there tomorrow-and that is a big deal, folks, a really big deal.


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