Ever since I started running last winter, I've always had difficulty with declaring I'm a runner. I had always felt that I wasn't strong enough, fast enough or "hard core" enough to be considered a runner, especially because running has never been easy for me. It was always a source of punishment while playing high school sports or something I just needed to do to be part of the varsity team. It was something I pushed myself to do because I had to, not because I enjoyed it. I tried to pretend I enjoyed it throughout college, but I did it mainly to ease my mind because I was no longer involved in sports and knew I needed physical activity.
As I said before, I made the decision to follow the walk-run method because I felt stronger and was able to accomplish longer distances than if I just ran the entire distance. When I made this decision, I really struggled with calling myself a runner because I wasn't technically running the entire distance. I love Twitter and have found some amazing runners who inspire me to be better every day. On the other hand, seeing their amazing feats, that involve NO walking, made me question if I was a runner even more. You'd think after finishing my first half-marathon, I would be able to definitively say "I'm a runner," but no such luck.
The last few weeks I've begun a program to help me get quicker and stronger in time for the Disney race. I'm finishing more miles a week and building my endurance so that 13.1 miles doesn't feel like I've reached my limit. My goal is to cross the finish line and still have energy to party at the Wine and Dine after party! Yesterday I was running at the gym (school started again so week day runs are on the treadmill again... boo!) and I realized I only had 10 minutes left on my workout. For the first time since I began training for my Disney race I realized what it felt to be a runner. It didn't matter that I was doing walk-run intervals... I was a runner. I was getting stronger. I was getting faster. Best of all... I was gaining confidence!
I may not be the fastest runner or the most decorated, but I am a runner. I no longer fear saying that phrase and I look forward to growing as a runner and becoming a better athlete.
Did you ever feel like you weren't good enough? Did you have a moment when you knew you were a runner?