Do I qualify?
A few weeks ago I was out at a festival when I ran into a friend and her mother. I was clad in a tank top and jean skirt (it was hot out) and working on getting a nice burn (sunscreen, I should learn to wear it). Somehow it was brought up that I ran my first marathon and am planning to run another. At this point I noticed my friend’s mother. She was looking me up and down with an odd look on her face. She was judging me. Hard core.
No, I’m not the smallest individual out there. I run next to plenty of women who are 30+ pounds lighter than me and this is something I’ve always struggled with. I’m not particularly quick and I don’t have the physique of a runner. So, should I be allowed to identify as a “runner”?
Now this is something that I struggle with frequently. I will never have that skinny runners body. Non-existent thighs and flat chested? Yeah right. When I watch others running around me, this is something I always look at.
That and their form. I constantly check people out as I drive by to see their body positioning. Are they over striding? Heel striking? Arms flailing? Does proper body movement make someone a runner? If so, then I don’t qualify on that account either. Although I will admit mine is getting better, I’m more aware of my high arms and make an effort to relax my shoulders.
And then there is the speed debacle. In college, when I was training for 5ks (on a dreadmill), I was able to keep up a much faster pace. I set a 5k PR senior year of college and haven’t come close since. I’ll never qualify for the Boston Marathon (thank goodness I finagled my way in this year), but I’d like to see myself improve.
So what am I? Who knows. For the time being I plan to keep getting out there and doing my thing. People are bound to judge me for it, but such is life.
What about you, are you a runner? What do you think characterizes a runner?