I think about this a lot. I am still quite overweight, I run very slow, and I am still pretty new at this running thing. When do I get to call myself a runner? Is it a speed thing? a time goal? a distance? I'm not really sure.
I thought when I hit the running for 30 minutes straight I would feel like a real runner. I am still not going far though because I am slow. So I set a distance goal of 2 miles, still not 100% feeling it. I signed up for a 5k, too scared to think about it, not a runner. Set a run outside in my neighborhood goal, done, still not there. I ran on a popular running path, still not quite it.
I still feel like a liar when I say I went for a run, I still feel completely inadequate shopping for running gear at sporting stores. I literally feel like someone is going to come tell me to leave because there is no way I could be a runner. I felt/feel awkward talking about running and felt like I was an imposter.
I huffed and puffed my way to where I am. I ran through aches and pain. I push myself every time I run to do better and be more of a runner. I signed up for a second 5k before I even had reached my goal of running 3.1 miles. I put myself out into the world and ran. I stopped hiding behind my treadmill and it was really hard.
I wondered if people were judging me. I took their smiles as encouragement but also wondered if they were pity smiles. Were they just thinking that I would stop in a few feet? Were they laughing in their heads at how hard the running was for me? Did I look stupid. At the end of my run, I didn't care. I had run and I felt good. Was this my first step in accepting myself as a runner?
Last night a set a goal for myself. I would run 3 miles straight, no breaks. Now this may seem like a small goal but considering that my longest run to date was 2 miles, it felt like a mountain. I had planned to run outside but the wind was blowing so hard and I wanted to set myself up for a victory, so to the treadmill I went. I knew my treadmill held all of my cheesy motivation post its and that I would have all the time I needed without worrying about it getting too dark outside. I was locked into this goal. I would run 3 miles. My mantra was unless you puke, pass out, or die keep running.
I wanted to give up on mile 1 but I pushed through and by the time I hit mile 2 I knew that I had made it too far to even think about stopping. When my watch hit 3 miles I knew what I had to do. I pushed that extra .1 and had officially run my first 5k.
So what about now? Am I a runner?
I'm still not quite sure. Perhaps I need to run along side someone I consider a runner? Maybe after my first 5k I will feel it? HOw do you define being a runner? When did you first feel it?