Tuesday, May 8, 2012

okay, i'm ready to take the name

I am a runner.

I am done referring to "real" runners as someone other than myself, even when I try to funny it up, as in "real runners, whatever THAT IS."

This is not because I've done any official event.  I haven't yet.

It's not because I reached any distance or speed goal.  I haven't yet.

Not because I've reached peak fitness and *look* like a real runner.  I haven't yet.  

I am still Karen, who barely picks her feet up when she runs (and thus is in constant danger of tripping and falling over a sidewalk crack).  Still Karen, whom the power-walkers passed easily on the Chicago lakefront path - and I expect more of the same, come Bix time.  Still by any doctor's definition "morbidly obese" - I'm guessing the scale would STILL report I am at least 75 pounds overweight at this point, if I wanted to sabotage myself and step on it. 

Still a long, long way from any finish line.

So why am I calling myself a runner NOW?

A friend who has been a HUGE encouragement for my writing and for my running stamped me with the "runner" title quite awhile back.  I was encouraged when she said so.  But I didn't feel it yet.

But yesterday morning I woke up to pouring rain at 4:45 AM, and I joyously slid into my running clothes and out the door, excited to be out there.  I ran my full 40+ minutes, 2.6 miles, in rain and some wind.  I got soaked clear through - clothes, hair, shoes, the whole shebang.  

I realized that not so long ago, on a rainy day I'd have taken the day off and tried again tomorrow.  That wasn't even a thought that crossed my mind before yesterday's run.  I just had to get out there.

I thought about that while I ran.  That I have run for a full year as of later this month.  I have run in every kind of weather.  I didn't let winter push me off the street.  I didn't let moving derail me.  I'm not doing this because I "should."  I'm  no longer in the place of having to dress quickly and go, to trick myself into not skipping it.  

I'm running because I love it. I'm pushing into the wind for the joy of the challenge.  I'm choosing to run up hills just to prove I can.  I'm totally grooving on the way my leg and butt muscles feel when I move. 

I don't know if I'll ever get better than a 15 minute mile.  And since that's not the point of the story, it doesn't tax my love of being out there. 

I am a runner.

I thought I never, ever, EVER could be.  

What if you're a runner too, and you just don't know it?  What other unknown passions might be there in you, just waiting for a bit of stirring?

Just asking. 

In other news, another pictorial celebration.  Today I was in a "thrift store style show" for an organization I'm in.   I got to wear a smokin' hot dress.  I bought the thing.  Where will I wear it?  I HAVE NO IDEA.  My daughter tells me to create an occasion, if necessary.  Hey, I'm willing!

Check this out:  here I am in August 2009 at my daughter's wedding.  I was all dressed up.  I felt pretty darn great about the way I looked (I mean, other than totally hating and being ashamed of my body):

Here I am today at the style show:

It ain't only POUNDS falling off.  

It's years falling off.

It's self-hatred falling off.

It's doubt falling off.

And get this:  tomorrow, I get to wake up and run again!

How cool is THAT?!

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