My Identity Crisis

[Originally Published 04.24.2013]

I’ve been feeling conflicted for a while now. For the last couple of years I’ve considered myself a wannabe or novice runner but the last several weeks I’ve been struggling with even calling myself that. I’ve spent far too many days and weeks telling myself I should go for a run, then later psyching myself out and not running… not even trying to run.

Then I heard the news on April 15th. The bombing of the Boston Marathon awoke something in me. Although I’ve never run competitively in my adult life, I felt an affinity to the runners of the Boston Marathon. When I got home that evening, I felt like I had to run. No excuses. It was only a couple miles but it was a run.

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The next evening, I went for a run again. I saw everyone posting their runs and workouts in their race shirts. I didn’t have one. But I did wear the “in training” shirt I bought when I registered for the 2011 Long Beach 1/2. (I never ended up running it because of injury.). A short, slow run but I felt good.

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Then I went for another run on Saturday. Is this a comeback in the making? Can I start calling myself a runner yet?

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On Friday, I heard about how @pavementrunner organizing #BostonStrong solidarity runs and saw that @RunEatRepeat was coordinating a #BostonstrongLB #BostonStrongOC run in Long Beach Monday evening. I pushed my insecurities aside and RSVP’d.

I was looking forward to running with the group but throughout the day I was experiencing some self-doubt. Then I saw this tweet:

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Now, I had an even greater resolve to run and not chicken out. So after work, I picked up the kids, fed them dinner, changed, and made my way out to Long Beach.

Sadly I missed the group start by about 15 minutes because of SoCal traffic… Doh! But I decided to run anyway. I ran 4 miles for Boston and met up with the group at the start of the trail. It was nice to be recognized by a couple of runner/bloggers I met before and to meet some new people. Everyone was nice enough to get together for another group picture with me.

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I’ve learned that the camaraderie that runners share transcends distance and speed. Although I don’t run very fast or very far (yet) I am thankful to be part of the community of runners.

I am a runner.

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