Posted on | June 5, 2013 | 10 Comments
In October, when my friend Jana asked me if I’d like to run a half-marathon with her, I was skeptical at best. I didn’t see myself as the sort of person who put on tennis shoes and ran. I was embarrassed to step foot in the local running store because I was overweight and out of shape and, well, just not the sort of person who goes in running stores. I was not a runner. I did not know runner things.
But I agreed to do it because I’m all about taking on more work to do, and I went through the motions of preparing myself to run that kind of distance. I went to the running store. I bought the clothes and the shoes and I got myself off my desk chair and over to the gym near my office where I set out to prove to myself that even “not the sort of person who runs” could be a runner.
Because it’s true, you know, anyone can be a runner.
I am now in my seventh month of “being a runner.” And yes, I’ve lost some weight, and yes I’ve lost some sizes off the pants label. But running isn’t about losing pounds and inches… not for me.
Running is about losing your inhibitions, losing your doubts, losing your “I just can’t do that.” Even if you only lose them temporarily. Even if you only lose them for the thirty or forty-five or yes, two hours, that your feet are tapping out “yes. you. can.” against the surface of your choice.
When I became a runner, I was a “can not do” kind of person. I couldn’t run a mile without stopping. I couldn’t even dream of wanting to run three miles without stopping. When I became a runner, I was overweight and out of shape not just physically, but mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. When I became a runner, I had nothing holding me together except the threads of can. not. do.
I couldn’t be a good lawyer.
I couldn’t be a good mother.
I obviously couldn’t be a good wife.
I most certainly could not be a runner.
Over the past seven months, running has shaped me into someone else… yes, physically, but more importantly in all the ways that really and truly matter. I am stronger now. Yes, a stronger runner runner, yes… but I am stronger now in every way than I was on October 9th, 2012, when I logged two miles on a treadmill for the first time in several years. Now, when I look in the mirror, I’m not broken or scarred. I’m not divorced or single. I’m just me. I just see me.
And running gave that back to me.
See, when I take those steps, when I am outside and I feel the rise and fall of myself against the pavement, I become someone else… someone better than me. I hear the puff of my exhale in the quiet morning and suddenly I’m not overweight. Suddenly I’m not flawed in any way because dammit I am running. I am light and life and I am dancing in every way because I just took that last step. I am the only one who made the movements steady and repetitive until my watch beeps out a minute, or five minutes, or an hour. I am the champion who crossed that line in my mind that used to say “no you can’t” and I crossed it with a loud and reverberating YES I CAN.
I am proud to be a runner.
I am proud to believe that I can be invincible.
I am proud to remember that I can be perfection.
Even if it’s just for thirty minutes.
Today is National Running Day. And in honor of that let me tell you that even if you think you can’t, you absolutely can.
Because I am now a runner… and I know runner things.