I am a runner.
This is a fundamental piece of the puzzle of me.
Running is not just a way for me to keep fit. It's not just a hobby.
Running is a way of life. It affects what I do and don't do, and when I do and don't do it, on a daily basis. It affects what I do and don't eat, when I go to sleep at night, when I wake up in the morning. I just turned down a chance to earn some extra money at work because I need to do a long run that morning. It affects everything.
Running is one of my greatest joys and greatest frustrations. Most of my favorite "life stories" involve running in some way. Most of my proudest accomplishments involve running. The only magazine I subscribe to is Runner's World. If I listed my top five happiest moments, three involve running.
And I've spent years pretending it's not such a big thing.
I never wear running related apparel or running shoes if I'm not running. I never wear race shirts if I'm not running (even the ones I love and don't want to wear to run because I don't want to ruin them because I want them to be "real" clothes). I have a box in the basement filled with medals from marathons I've run. I have another box in the basement filled with other assorted awards (like wooden shoes, random trophies, stained glass pine trees, etc.). There are no race related photos or posters on display in my home or classroom. If someone asks how a race went (if there's even any knowledge that I ran a race at all), I say "fine" and move on.
Why? Why do I do that? Why do I give no credence, no respect, to something that is so vital to my existence?
Because I don't want to seem like a show-off. And I don't want to seem like a poser. And I worry I'm not good enough.
That's the reason. That has always been the reason. And you know what? It's a stupid reason. Because I'm not a show-off. And I'm not a poser. (And I'll always worry I'm not good enough.)
I see runner people who are show-offs. I see runner people who are posers. I see runner people who are just runner people. Lots of people in all categories.
And I know what category I fall in to.
So those really awesome race shirts I've got? I'm going to start wearing them (like, out in public!). And that really cute photo of Hubby and me where I've got a medal around my neck? It's going in a frame. I may even turn a wooden shoe into a pencil holder.
I'm going to stop denying my love and just be a runner.
Because I am a runner.