I Am Not A Runner

Every day people come into the store where I work and introduce their needs with “I’m not a runner.” They go on to explain that they only run short distances or they run long distances but not fast or heaven forbid, they run with some walk breaks. Because of these shortcomings, their thoughts, not mine, they are not a runner. I always respond with some variation of, “Of course you are a runner. You put one foot in front of another. That makes you a runner.”

But suddenly I find myself believing that I am not a runner. After almost 25 years of running I find myself with a major injury. One that leaves me thinking my running days are over or at the very least, my long distance days are over. And even as I write this I want to cry. Even as I write this I feel my shoulders droop, my chest ache, and my feet itch to get out there and run again.

Am I really done? I don’t know. What I do know is that I have to practice what I preach. I have to give myself credit for what I have done and be nice to myself about what I cannot currently do.

Running has been a huge part of my life for so long and now that I work at Fleet Feet, helping with the group runs and training programs, meeting with runners on a daily basis, not running is harder. Not running defines me in a whole new way. A way I don’t like, a way I need to correct. I was a runner. I am not a runner. Hopefully, with physical therapy and lots of work I will one day be a runner again.