Attitude Adjustment

I am a runner.

Those aren’t particularly easy words for me to type as I don’t really believe them.

Yes, I run. I even enjoy running. But I don’t think of myself as a runner. It is something I am working on changing.I started running back in 2009. It wasn’t something I enjoyed, but something I felt compelled to do. I ran to relieve stress. Call it a quarter life crisis. I was done with college. I’d had my fun in China. I knew I didn’t want to go to law school, but had no idea what I wanted to do instead. I ran until I was too tired to think about it all.

The problem was that running didn’t actually solve anything. It provided temporary relief but when I stopped running, all of my problems were still there. As time passed, I found myself having to run further and further to escape. I wasn’t eating well, wasn’t sleeping much, wasn’t wearing the right shoes, and wasn’t stretching. All these factors took their toll and I found that the further I ran, the more painful running became.

Eventually, I stopped. What was the point? I didn’t enjoy it, I was in pain, and it wasn’t solving any of my problems.

From that point on, I ran sporadically. A few days here. A week there. Punctuated by months off in between. I did it because it was good for me and to make amends for the pint of ice cream I’d eaten. In many ways, I saw it as a form punishment.

It’s only been two months since I started running consistently and less time than that since I’ve learned to enjoy it. Even so, I don’t always come home from work excited to run. I resent that I have to wake up early on Saturday mornings to get in my long runs before it gets to hot. Once I find my stride, I enjoy it and I’m always glad I went after I’m done, but I still have to talk myself into getting started each and every time I run.

All of these things – my inexperience, my frequent lack of enthusiasm, my not toned legs, my slow pace – tell me that I am not a runner. Not a real one.

But I am. I run, therefore I am a runner. What more is there to it? When I run in the park, I consider everyone else who is out there running to be runners. For all I know, they could be on their first run ever. They could be hating every step. But in my mind, they are runners. If they are runners, why not me?

I run. I am a runner. Perhaps if I say it enough, I will start to believe it.

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24 August 2012. Tags: . Running.

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