July 15 2016
When Teri Griege was diagnosed with colon cancer, she set three goals. One of those was to finish the Ironman World Championship.
I am a runner and have been for the better part of 15 years. I’m not fast, nor am I breaking any records (other than my own personal bests), but I don’t really care much about that. Sure, I include speed work in my training routine and try to improve my turnover rate so that I can shave minutes off my finish times, but I do this only to be the best version of myself that I can be.
It took me a long time to admit to people that I am a “runner,” but only because I didn’t feel worthy of the title. I’d show up to races feeling slightly out of place when I saw women warming up. Everyone seemed to have more toned legs, fancier gear, and projected confidence that I was lacking. I’d hide towards the back of the pack, hoping not to get in anyone’s way as the starting gun sounded. I desperately wanted to join the ranks of the runner girls I put on a pedestal, but wouldn’t allow myself entry into the club.
With a few more years under my belt, I now realize that I was always a runner and any doubt of that label was unfounded. My legs still aren’t as toned as I’d like (but who cares anyway – they’ve carried me over distances I never though imaginable) and I still lust after the latest gear, but somewhere along the way I found the confidence. It might have been at the finish line of my first 10K, or the time I scored a new PR – no matter when it was, I’m so happy to proclaim that I AM A RUNNER!
I’m now a strong believer that you are a runner if you run. Period. You don’t have to run a marathon or a 6:00 minute mile split to be part of the community that I’ve grown to adore with my whole heart. You just have to lace up your shoes and RUN.
So I’m issuing you a challenge: next time you’re out on a run or at a race, find the woman standing off to the side and spark a conversation. If each one of us took a minute to spread a little run love, we’d inspire others to believe that they, too, are part of the club.
At what moment did you know you are a runner? Let me know here or tweet me @KaraDeschenes and I’ll share my favorite moments in a future post!