I am a runner…

I’m not a runner

How many times have I heard this statement? A lot. I’ve actually muttered it a few times. But, guess what? Now, I’m a runner.

Okay, so I’ve never competed in a race and my max is 3.5 miles at 5.5 miles per hour on a really good day. But, I can run without stopping. When I first began this journey a few years ago, I couldn’t handle the distance between two telephone poles (which I’ve just googled and is 75 feet). I would huff and puff and get this sharp pain under my ribcage. Not now! I can run and keep pace, I’m even thinking of doing a 5k.

Here are the small accomplishments that kept me going:

First, when I completed my first mile in 12.5 minutes, I nearly did a victory dance. I was so excited! But I needed to walk to recover. That was at least two months in. Then, I got distracted and forgot that I love running. A few months later, when I picked it up again, I had to start over again- but this time, I was doing my mile in under two weeks. My body was like, “Hey, I’ve done this before!” I started decreasing my time for my first mile- I made it in 12 minutes a few months later. Then I did something I never thought I could do- run half of ‘the mills’ (if you’re from Fort Kent, you know what this is, but if you aren’t, it’s a 2.8 mile loop around town). I did it! I was so excited.

Then, I got distracted again. When I picked it back up, I was able to run two miles, then I completed the whole mills, then I started shaving time off and I can do it in 30 minutes where before I couldn’t imagine doing it in under 35. Then I did something I never thought I’d do- I ran in the rain.

Now, all of you who only step outside when it’s 75 and sunny, I get you! I was you. I still am you at heart. I was a fair weather runner because I hate to be cold and wet. But the day I ran in the rain, I felt exhilarated! I no longer had an excuse. Then I ran in 86 degree weather. I was unstoppable.

Okay, so what’s my point? I’m not really sure, but I think muddled in my narrative is this pure fact: You can if you say you can.

When I said, “I’m not a runner,” I proved myself right. I counted out the times that I could hear boiling water overflowing all over my newly cleaned stove and flew across the the house to stop the damage. I overlooked the time I raced across the street to stop my (then) 3 year old from getting hit by a car. I forgot about the time that I ran to forget my heartache as a teenager. I let myself believe something that wasn’t true. I let myself think that I was not good enough.

Here’s the difference between then and now: I’m the same weight but I can freakin’ run. During my fitness journey, I have had the pleasure of watching some people beam with pride after they ran for the first time and they said, “I’ve never been able to run before.” Well, guess what, ladies, we can all run now! We may not be speedy and we may make silly faces when we do it, and we may sound like Darth Vader, but we run. We run for us and who we want to be. We run for strength and we struggle for endurance. We run to be strong. We run together.

So, please, next time you tell yourself, “I’m not a (fill in the blank)” remember that we are who we want to be and if you want to be a runner, be a runner. If you want to be an honest, loving person, be it. If you want to be happy, be it. If you’re struggling with all of the above, try running. It will be the hardest, yet most rewarding thing you will ever push yourself to do. If you can’t physically run, do something you can. Whatever you do, don’t make excuses. Please, remind me of this this winter when it’s 45 below, okay?

Run (or something like it) today!