Today, I ran the Heart and Sole 10k, the furthest distance that I’ve ran since Grandma’s Marathon. This was an important race for me, not because I was trying to get a person best time, or because I had trained really hard for it or because I trying to win. (ha ha) I was running this race simply to run and prove to myself that I could run again.
When my knee completely blew out and my illotial band was screaming in agony during Grandma’s, I had some serious doubts about myself as a runner. What if I just wasn’t meant to do distance races? Would I ever complete a race injury free? (I ran through severe knee pain in my first marathon too.) Running is a part of my identity; it’s who I am. I started running all on my own, first to get more Weight Watchers points so I could eat more, but slowly it became something I did because I loved it. I watched myself change, my legs get more muscles, my metabolism shoot up and my confidence in myself grow.
I still remember the first time I ran for over an hour. I felt so good, I decided to extend my run a little bit. And it turned into my very first “distance run.” I was cruising down my street, flying in my mind, and high on the endorphines from running. I wasn’t winded. My legs felt great. I was at peace. I ran by one of my room mates on the way up to our house and I shouted, “I just ran for 77 minutes!!!” I was beyond thrilled with myself.
Running’s been pretty good to me, beside the lingering knee injuries that keep plaguing me. I keep going back for more. And more. And more. 5k. 10k. Half marathon. Full marathon. Finishing the Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon is one of the proudest achievements of my life. I have to run, you see. Running keeps me sane, or at least saner than I would be. It makes me a happier person and helps me keep my emotions in check. I’ve pushed my body to the limit running and it felt good. Even when I limped for a week straight after Grandma’s Marathon. It was still worth it.
So, here I am. Running a 10k this morning to prove to myself that I am still a runner.
I am an athlete. I am strong-these legs can run 26.2 miles. I am confident and walk with my head up. I am beautiful. I am a runner.
And I will keep running, “…even if my knee cap splits in half and I have to crawl across the finish line, I will finish this race!” (Direct quote from me during Grandma’s.)