May 21 2018
How running after losing my leg has helped me find my identity and purpose.
“Just because you have to walk during your run doesn’t mean you’re not a runner.”
Since reading this passage, I’ve started to give more attention and recognition to all the things I do that truly make me feel like a runner and has become what it takes (for me) to be a runner:
1. Running. This one is pretty obvious and straight-forward, but if you’re dedicating time to running on a regular basis, you are a runner.
2. Eating. Some people run because the calories you burn add up quickly, and they think “I can eat these fries because I ran today” or “I’m going to lose so much weight since I burned an extra 500 calories,” but I’ve learned this isn’t how you approach this at all. The calories you burn while running need to be replenished, and with food that helps fuel your body. Protein, fat and carbs in the right ratios.
3. Listening to your body. This can be applied in so many ways, but here are a couple of the key ones:
4. Running despite weather or time. Being a runner takes waking up at 5 a.m. to run during training, but it also takes knowing when to sleep in and hold yourself accountable to completing your run after work, even when that is 6, 7 or sometimes 11 p.m. I did almost 2/3 of my training on a treadmill, and boy, do I not recommend that. When I started, I was able to do my first week of training outside, but it became too hot and humid to continue so I started doing my runs on the treadmill. I liked having my water always within reach and knowing I’m maintaining a consistent pace, but once I went back to running outside around week 7/8, I couldn’t bare to go back to the treadmill. What I started doing instead was running outside despite rain, shine, heat and humidity. My 8-miler was run with 100% humidity (even at 6 a.m.), and mornings I woke up to rain, I held myself accountable to run after work.
5. Commitment. The first time I tried to train for a half marathon was August of last year for an October race. I decided that even though I missed the first couple weeks, I could still do this. Then I had two 90-hour work weeks between my two jobs and just did not have the time to dedicate to it (I didn’t make the time). This time, I didn’t let anything get between me and my training. I’ll admit I have slacked a bit on cross-training but have yet to skip a running day and I’m nine days from race day. When my car broke down at the gym, my boyfriend asked me, “What are you going to do?” and my response was, “Run my 3 miles and then figure it out.” When I went to cross my legs on a Thursday evening after a rough run week (with shin splints and knee pain) and a sharp pain went shooting through my entire leg, I got chiropractor recommendations from coworkers, found one that was open on Saturdays and made an appointment so I didn’t have to skip my long run that Sunday. When the last thing in the world I wanted to do was run, I made running dates with my training buddies to hold me accountable. They say the things in life that are truly important to you, you will always make time for.