For years (actually decades) I have thought of myself as a runner: I hit the roads on a regular basis, I raced (well), and my closest friends were runners.
This year, that all changed. Perhaps it was due to my change in job, the family stress, or being i-listed most of the summer. Perhaps it was the self-imposed pressure of wanting to be the best. Or was it simply because I am getting older? Whatever the reason, I felt my performance drop in the fall and, while I was building mileage, my running seemed to be getting worse. To make things even harder on myself, I started to run with guys and gals – fast guys and gals – from the Toronto Olympic Club; for several weeks, I got home from practice wondering what I was trying to prove by running with them.
By mid-January, I was ready to quit altogether – Boston and running competitively. Running had become stressful (one of the reasons that I stopped writing regularly). But my supports – my family, friends and coach – pulled me back up.
I thought I was a runner before but I wasn’t. In the past three months, I have learned to stick with a training plan; I’ve missed one workout in the past 2 months of training 6 days a week. I am understanding pacing and am no longer afraid to run slow, even if I don’t like it. I complain when I get to a traffic light when I use to love using them as breaks, and I’m learning to push myself into the wind, not slow down and let it force me back.
Mostly, though, I am noticing a change in my gait. I can feel my legs stretching out; I’m starting to lean into the turns in the same way I do on my bike; I feel natural; I feel strong. \
Somehow, sometime, over the past three months, I have become a runner.