I can barely believe I’m typing these words, but I do dare say I have become a … *gulp* runner?
Waaaaay back, which feels forever ago but it’s really not been, in February 2020, I set out to sign up and train for my first ever half-marathon. I documented the journey (read here and follow the trail) and after much starting and stopping (injuries…a whole global pandemic, etc) on October 24, 2020, I ran a half marathon. I did it alone, and I just ran a back and forth loop in the neighborhood, but I did it. I also didn’t have an official “timer” but I did the 13.1 miles in roughly 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Ask “me” 5 years ago and I would have scoffed at someone who said “future me” would run a half marathon, and THEN turn around and exactly a year later do ANOTHER?! Yeah, I would have done more than scoff, I would have called you straight crazy. Old me is clearly long gone, because I am doing just that. Earlier in 2021 I signed up for another half marathon, and while it did get delayed due to COVID earlier, the darn thing got rescheduled for exactly a year to-the-day after my first.
Back to the fact I now call myself a “runner”. It’s a weird and hard pill to swallow. Not because I don’t want to be – but because I had mentally resigned myself to never being capable of “running” … and certainly not half-marathon distances. All while I fight the feeling to “accept” that I am a runner – I am also so very proud.
Reflecting on my runners journey, I remember all the little wins and milestones and I can’t help but feel my heart swell with pride. Some of my faves:
1. I started out only being able to run (jog) a couple of blocks without being winded; I now routinely go out for 4-9 mile jogs (anywhere from an hour to 2 hours) and only slow down for the rare moments of refueling or drinking some water.
2. When I started I wore knee supports, ankle braces and compression leggings; nowadays I don’t need any of those support mechanisms.
3. After long runs (starting) I felt achy and pained for days following. I needed to use ointments, pills and other anti-inflammatory tools to ease my pain; now, while I still have aches and pains for sure, I recover within a day or two, and really don’t require any of the pills or creams to get by.
Running has been an epic test of my patience, as I do not typically allow myself much grace when it comes to “learning” new skills that I am not “immediately” good at. I have grown in my capacity to accept and sit in discomfort. I have learned how to identify pain versus discomfort, and when to stop. I now exercise restraint and recognize my body telling me what it needs, whether that be sleep, a day off of training, more water, or any other combination of indicators. I have now (twice) gone out with a local “running club” and even signed up for my local area “Triple Crown” which means I will run 3 half-marathons between the span of January to September next year.
All that to say, I am a runner! Whooooo!