I turned a corner recently. I don't know when I did, but something changed. I think now I'm ready to admit that I'm a runner. Previously, I would have just said that I run. Why? It was because I thought if I professed to be a runner then I would most likely stop being one. Runner suggested a title rather than a constant doing. I figured if I became a runner I'd then sit on the couch eating bon bons. My card would be punched, and I'd have arrived, sat down, and stopped running.
I've run for a long time. I've never been on a track or a cross country team. I took a running class in high school. I don't think I threw up in class, but I'm sure I threw up sometime in the semester. At the end of the class we had to run a 10K. I had wonderful friends who paced with me at the back of the pack and talked about what kind of food there would be at the finish line. At the end of the semester, I got the "Most Improved Runner Award." I called it my "I Don't Suck as Much Medal." Same def. I thought the runners were the kids in the class who ran a half marathon instead of the 10K.
In college I took a 10K running class. I also took dance classes and ice skating. My 10K class was taught by a wheelchair runner who came in third at Boston that year. There were plenty of runners in my class. No throwing up here, just a good in class dry heave. When asked what my favorite distance was, I defaulted to the two mile because others had said it, and it was the shortest. Our final was a 10K. I'm not sure why, but I had to take my final at a different time than everybody else. I ran my 10K on the indoor track alone, which for me was nice. When I finished, my instructor told me that he was glad that people like me took the class. Me, the running nonrunner.
There have been periods of my life that I ran a race every weekend. It has always been theraputic, even when being passed by an older women in polyester pants and Rockport shoes. Even when I had to ask the high school kids on bikes following the last runner in the race to move back a little to give me space, it's been good. I was running when I met my husband and have been running through the birth of our three girls.
About that corner, I noticed that I've rounded it twice recently, once when talking to my husband and once when talking to a friend. I asked my husband about buying gear. It was something I felt I needed at the time, and it seemed like a bigger purchase. He said, "You've been running since I met you and you're still running so I think you'll use it." Oh. I guess I do have a running history. And when talking to a friend about a race, I realized I didn't really care about the swag. I know. It was a shock to me too. Maybe I run because I am a runner.