I often don’t feel like a “real” runner. as if there are fake ones! I have raced over 204 miles since I started running two years ago. I have absolutely no idea how many miles I have run in training. Some days it feels like a million! I have done a lot in the past 2 years. First and foremost, I got my butt off the couch! But, I’ve also completed a marathon and set some significant personal records and overcome a lot of mental crap. Yet, even with all of those miles under my feet, I still feel like a fraud when I line up for a race. I imagine looks and whispers – “what is she doing here?”, “I hope she doesn’t get in my way!”, and maybe “oh my God, Becky, look at her butt!”
On Sunday, I ran a local trail race called Hemlock Overlook. It was a 5.5 or 10 mile trail that had a reputation for being a real bitch. I have been sweating it for a year and finally screwed up the courage to try.
It was everything that was promised, and more! Tons of massive climbs, thick mud, exposed rocks, the works!
Even more important than tackling that beast, though, was the fact that I felt like I actually belonged. I wasn’t intimidated by the super fit cross-country boys nor did I feel like I stuck out like a big n00b. I just jumped in and did my best. The race director had to adjust the course because of ice (no falling off cliffs, please!) so the 5 milers did one big and one little loop while the 10 milers did one big and two little. There were so many people passing and being passed that it was impossible to worry about your place in the pack. I didn’t worry when others passed me or became too cocky when I passed others. It was so nice to just run my own race and not worry about imaginary whispers and looks! Okay, so the ten year old who finished in 45 minutes kinda pissed me off…;)
My next race is the Rock n Roll DC half marathon in two weeks. It is (obviously) a road race with very clearly defined corrals. Even though I will be more aware of the others, I will do my very best to keep my head high and “own” my place at the starting line.
I run. I am a runner.