I run, I don't know if I would call myself a runner yet, but I run. Multiple times a week I tie up my laces and make my feet move, one in front of the other, as fast as I can for as long as I can, at least once each week going further than I think may be possible. Most weeks I go further than most people I know, but still I don't consider myself a runner - not yet. Many of my runs I feel like the little fat girl, onlookers regarding me with this mix of amusement, sympathy and support, in a bless her heart for trying sort of way.
Every week I do this thing that I both hate and love all at the same time, and every time I go out I don't know which it is going to be until I start going. On the easy days, the love comes in the first mile and carries me happily through the distance, other days it takes a little longer, but on the really hard days the love doesn't come until the very end, when I can look back and say to myself, slow or painful you finished.
Last Sunday was a hard day, I had been sick two days before, and my body was still reeling from it all. The last 2.5 miles were a hard and lonely trudge, fighting tears as my ipod gave a last weak whimper and left me running in relative silence, providing no inspiration or, at the very least, distraction. The 7 miles behind me were no consolation, all I could see was the long road ahead, with no reprieve. But I kept on, knowing that no matter where I chose to stop I still had to get to the end so I may as well run. It was a personal (albeit momentary) hell, but I did it. Looking back, as a write about it now, I see the lesson there, I have a greater understanding of what it really means to push through and endure (for 2.5 miles anyway). And I have to admit there was this great sense of accomplishment, knowing that I fought for those last few miles and I earned each step. Sitting there with my son, taking of picture of our feet together, I was proud.
Yesterday was the complete antithesis of the run just seven days past. Eleven miles run, 9:25 min/mile, by far a personal best for me for ANY distance greater than 3 miles. I was rested and prepared, and inspired by the marathoners racing on my regular running route (my path intersected theirs at several points). Even with my husband's ipod as my only other inspirational source (sadly my ipod was sitting at my desk at work), relying on his music to carry me through the harder moments, I made it. 11 miles. The fact that I can even say I ran 11 miles shocks me.
So here I sit, a little sore, but very happy....and yet.....
I still question whether or not I can call myself a "runner". I guess it really doesn't matter what I call myself, or how others view me, not at this point anyway. For now I will keep this love hate relationship going, if for no other reason than to finish my first half marathon in a little less than two weeks. After that, we'll see what happens.