“It never gets easier, you just get stronger” has become my motto lately. I’ve never trained for something like this marathon before, but I find myself pushing beyond boundaries I didn’t know I could breach.
photo provided by the awesome runselfierepeat.com
The other day I did what I thought was impossible for me to without dying, I ran 7 miles. I ran it, and I ran it the whole time. I quit smoking a little over a month ago, and as I was feeling myself getting pushed I was able to take a deep breath and keep going with no problem. This is something very new to me. Before, when I was an on-and-off runner, the most I ever ran was four miles, and I struggled. It had taken me almost a year to get to that point. But two days ago, after three months of training and quitting smoking so far, I ran 7 miles. I understand that to people have always been runners that this does not seem much like a victory. I have a distant relative who runs 6 miles every other day and has been doing so for years. But the moment I left the park after running the course, I thought “my knees are a little sore”, I thought “for a long run, I made good time”, and then it hit me at the stop light five minutes later “Holy shit! I just ran 7 miles for the first time in my entire life!”
And I believe that these (small) victories are what keeps me motivated for this marathon that I am running in two and half months. Each week I add more mileage to my running shoes. The small runs throughout the week do not feel as much of a victory, I guess, because they’re smaller amounts. But then I think that at this last year, running four miles would have not been something I could do. I mean, I technically COULD, but I would not have done it with consistency and would not have been able to run the whole time. Now, I’m running higher amounts every week, eating better than ever, and feeling energized.
One thing that I have struggled to do during this intense training process is actually calling myself a runner. I haven’t changed much as far as size. I have lost a few pounds, and a couple of inches, and my butt is practically a shelf since I’ve been running and mixing in kettlebell sessions throughout the week (Kim Kardashian has nothing on me). I do feel stronger, my legs are getting more muscular, I am running further and further. I call myself focused, determined, maybe a little obsessed, and hungry…I’m hungry a lot after my runs haha! But calling myself a runner has not been something that has even crossed my mind.
For so many years I have thought that being able to consider yourself a runner that you are a person who has done it every damn day of your life, or close to it, for many many years. And while I have ran on and off for about five years now, and am now consistently running and training, I have still been reluctant to call myself a runner. I also thought you had to be a certain body type, that all runners are small, muscular individuals. But thanks to an awesome blog from women’s running, plus this awesome cover photo they featured a few months ago:
….calling myself a runner is becoming something that I’m okay doing.
So when finishing my 7 miler on Saturday, I kept saying to myself, “It never gets easier, you just keep getting stronger”, and when running the trail in the park, I kept getting a supportive thumbs up or wave from hikers, for the first time I said “yeah, you’re a runner. It’s okay to say that now”. I felt proud to say it finally. That we all are runners no matter how small or large of distance we cover or how often. Put yourself in some clothes and sweat while you are jogging, run/walking, or sprinting=calling yourself a runner.
And it’s a wonderful (small) victory to add to the books.