...been a runner. In fact, if you knew me in high school (or, let's be honest, anytime before I was 30) you might be fairly surprised to see that I call myself a runner. That girl, a runner? The one who, you know, never ran? Huh. But I am. I'm a late bloomer. (In fact, discovering running at 31 is one of the many reasons I'm excited about my 30s. How many other kick-ass things am I going to discover the older I get?) Anyway, yes, I'm a late-bloomer runner. A lot of things held me back over the years...
I made the field hockey team by default when I was a sophomore in high school because the coach took pity on me (I can only imagine it was so - I certainly wasn't good at it). I was never fast and I tired easily. One day as a team we decided to cut our warm-up run short and hang out in a local park for a little bit. On the run back to the practice field I was in the front of the pack. One of the girls said to another, "The coach is going to know we cheated if Gloria's the first one back." Maybe I wasn't meant to overhear, but she said it pretty loud. Message received, I hung back and trotted behind, in my rightful place, the last to arrive. I guess I wasn't a runner.
I was always jealous of runners. I would watch runners pass by when I walked, I would envy them as I drove by. I just didn't have the running gene. I'd get winded. My knees would hurt. I could only go a few blocks before coughing and sputtering.
When I signed up for my first half-marathon last year, I was tired of being jealous. For crying out loud, if you're spending time being envious of something just go try to do it instead. Stop wishing, start doing. (Thanks for the motivation, everyone who posts "motivation" quotes onto Pinterest.)
So I started running. A mile one day, 1.25 the next, 1.5 the next... Little steps. Slowly. Then it was 5 miles... 8 miles... 10 miles... finally, 13.1. Next up? 26.2. Who would have thought?
I get a little misty-eyed when I think about how for 30 years I didn't know this huge reality about myself - that I could be a runner. This runner has been inside me for 30 years and I'm only just getting to know her. She amazes me every day we run and can go a little bit faster, and she amazes me on the days when we need to go a little bit slower, too. Because she's running. I'm running.