I Never Considered Myself To Be A Runner...

"I always tell beginning runners: Train your brain first. It's much more important than your heart or legs." - Amby Burfoot

The hardest part about exercising is not the beating of my heart, the sore muscles, the pounding of the pavement as it reverberates my bones.

On the contrary, the hardest part is getting up, getting started, getting going. Once my feet hit the sidewalk, I can run. I can fly. I can strive.

It is the choosing - the deciding - that is most difficult.

I used to think that I wasn't meant to be a runner. I am not tall or lanky. I don't have that lean composure, that elegant stride, that controlled breathing - characteristics that are so common among runners.

img_0530I am actually rather curvy, a Marilyn Monroe type figure. And my stride is a little funny. And I run pretty slowly, one foot in front of the other, methodically.

I took up running in 2006, not because it is an innate talent, but because my heath is extremely important to me...and running is one form of exercise that doesn't allow for excuses.

Running only requires a pair of tennis shoes, a good sports bra, a sturdy jogging stroller (if you want to include your baby), a pair of legs, and a beating heart. No babysitters! No gym fees! No pricey equipment! No gas/driving! I just have to lace up my shoes and head out the door.

I started running with my firstborn baby in 2006 and, since then, I've completed two 5Ks (see above left: that's me after my first 5K in December 2007).

5Ks are fun and inspiring and, strangely, addicting. There is something so thrilling about crossing the finish line and about watching the other people out there - and they're not all just Olympic gods and goddesses. The people on the track are ordinary people. Young. Old. Short. Tall. Thin. Stocky. 5Kers are diverse, to be sure.

I never would have pictured myself as a runner, as a racer. But now - now, I proudly say that I am. I run. I breathe. I soar. My heart is strong. My body is strong. I am strong.

And that feeling is truly one-of-a-kind.

the gigantic book of running quotations***For more running inspiration, check out "The Gigantic Book of Running Quotations," edited by Hal Higdon. The GIGANTIC (yes, it really is huge...as in, dictionary huge!) book features hundreds of quotes to inspire, challenge, encourage, and humor runners. I am a "quote collector" so I love having this book on my bookshelf. It really is motivating and would be a fantastic gift for any runner in your life. Only one thing could make it better: pictures. Maybe a few photos of Richard Whitehead or Team Hoyt, for starters.

YOUR TURN: How do you get motivated/inspired?

WIN IT! One winner will receive a copy of "The Gigantic Book of Running Quotations," edited by Hal Higdon.  To enter, leave any topic-related comment on this post prior to Monday, June 1 at midnight (Don’t forget to follow the rules…all generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified.).

*UPDATE* The winner is #37 Erma. Congratulations!

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46 comments on “I Never Considered Myself To Be A Runner...”

  1. Just posting to say that I am inspired by this post. As I mentioned before...I am SO NOT A RUNNER, yet I have had the itch to get started. I just purchased my first pair of 'real' running shoes...got fitted and everything to find what type of shoe is best for my foot and stride, etc. I also signed up for a little race here in town called the Wharf to Wharf (just six miles). Should be fun!

  2. For me, running equals sanity. Everyone who knows me likes me MUCH better when I'm actively running. I took up the sport in Jr high, and I'll always call myself a runner, even when I'm not consistently doing so. I'm no speed demon (waddle on!), but I love the sense of accomplishment that racing brings.

  3. I guess I would say that my husband is the best inspiration for me. It's so great living with the person who inspires you the most (= We just recently signed up for a 10k run, and I have never ran a race in my life- maybe this book will help keep me motivated!

  4. I can only imagine the spirit of the quotes in the book. They must be completely motivational and uplifting.

  5. I am very inspired just reading about how you inspire yourself to get up and going! I can not
    be a runner because of osteoarthritis in my knees.
    My two sons and sister are runners, though! Both of my sons have been state qualifiers in some track and field events. My oldest also is a cross country runner. I have noticed that there is a special camaraderie among athletes who run together!
    This book would be a special gift for my sons or sister. Please count me in. Thanks very much!

  6. I only get motivated when I have someone to work out with me. I just can't seem to get moving otherwise.

  7. I recently signed up for a health-plus type deal at work that requires me to work out a certain number of times a week in exchange for a discount on the deductible of my health insurance. I've always sort-of wanted to run, but been dreadfully out of shape. I decided to try the couch-to-5K program as my "work out" instead of the cost of joining the gym. I made it through half of day one - embarrassing - then came down with some awful flu like illness. Once I'm well, I'm determined to hit the pavement again.

  8. My husband is a marathon runner. He's been loving running for years. I finally gave in a few years ago and trained for and completed a 7 mile race. I run/walk now for fitness.

  9. Motivation is my problem right now. I want to be healthier and more toned, but I equally want to sit on my booty and eat ice cream. I always feel good after I decide to get up and move, but it's ridiculously hard to get myself to do it. In high school I ran track and cross country and danced, so I was totally fit. Since then I still look fit enough, but I'm really a softy and I could stand to lose a couple inches here and there. I don't really want my hubby to be my motivator, because I love that he thinks I'm hot no matter what, and I'm afraid I'll feel like he doesn't if he's encouraging me to work out a bunch. I know that's dumb, but it's true. So I'm working on self-motivation right now.

  10. Getting out the door to exercise is certainly the biggest hurdle to overcome! I always feel much better when I do! And, you are right - it is a decision, something we choose to do!

  11. My husband is the best motivator ~ with both encouraging words "you can do it" to words like "isn't that part of your body getting bigger". He watches our little one so I can go out!

  12. I have always thought of myself as a jogger - because of how slow I am. Then in one issue of my runner's world magazine it addressed runner's vs. joggers. It said that runner's hate joggers because someone that considers themselves a jogger is someone who could take it or leave it and were not serious about it. It also said that is you love the sport and enjoy running and it is a must have in your life then no matter how slow you are you are a runner. So now with my slow 10 to 12 minute miles I am a runner because I love it and must have it.

  13. I love this post. I just started running, about 3 months ago and now I am training for a 1/2 marathon. I never would have classified myself as a runner and now, just 3 short months later, I can easily run 3 miles and actually enjoy it. Running makes me feel empowered and there is something about just getting out there and taking it one step at a time. I am not a fast runner, and my running form leaves little to be desired. I'm short and have short little legs, but I just remind myself to keep those little legs moving and it's amazing how quickly those miles tick off. Running is simple and in this crazy life, I like how it quiets my mind and reminds me that I am powerful.

  14. Well....... I definitely need the motivation. I was an athlete in my not so distant past, but it seems like I've slowed down since baby arrived. Now that he's almost two, I need to quit making excuses!

  15. Congrats to you for running in 5ks! Truly inspiring. I've been told by a foot doctor not to run, so I don't, but I walk very fast. :-)

  16. Ohmygoodness I could have written every word of this myself Stephanie. With the exception of the Marilyn Monroe figure; I wasn't so blessed in that department. I'm working with more of a pear-type figure. All the more reason to hit the pavement if you ask me!

  17. I adore running and haven't been able to for the last two years due to severe pain. I had a hysterectomy 5 weeks ago today and I'm looking forward to running again!! This would help me lots!

  18. I'm impressed (and a little intimidated) by your two 5ks. I have just recently started running again (first time since high school track) and I can honestly say I'm loving it. Once you get done, its strangely refreshing. I run on my lunch breaks at work and its a good mid-day destresser for me.

  19. my husband just completed a half marathon based on hal's training schedule, he'd love this.

  20. I am a track runner - hurdles and 400m dash primarily - but I have a good friend who is an obsessed cross-country runner, so if I win, I would give this book to her!

  21. I've never been a runner, despite a year in track in high school (for fun, NOT competition!), but you have me rethinking this. Maybe I DO like to run. Getting out and just *going* sounds really nice right now.

  22. I am not a runner, but work in a gym (go figure). This book could provide many bits of inspiration to the friends I have made there.

  23. My husband and I were just talking about running last night! I ran varsity cross country all four years of high school...and continued to run while I was in college. I never was or will be a record setter. But it is something that I do enjoy.

    After my pregnancy with my first daughter it just didn't come as easily and I slowly started a walking/jogging routine. (I figured that it was better than nothing!) I've kept up the walking part for this pregnancy so far...but would really like to get serious about running again after the baby arrives.

    Great post! This book sounds great! If I don't win, I'll have to get a copy for my youngest sister who will be running cross country in the fall.

  24. You are so right in that it's all about choice. Keeping motivated to work out is tough for me, but each day, when I try to make excuses not to get healthy, I will think about the "choice" I'm making. Because excuses are just ways of choosing not to do something.

  25. We did the Couch to 5K program last year and we're doing it again this season. It's amazing how much better I feel knowing that I'm strong enough to run (no matter how slowly!) for as long as I am able to. There's something almost spiritual about it. Even though I am totally NOT a runner. More of a jogger with insanely labored breathing. Ha!

  26. I truly was not cut out to be a runner. My feet are very wonky, and it's really painful for me to run. However, health is important to me, and my child is my main motivator. Having a baby makes me want to be healthy. I get most of my exercise through gardening, walking, and dancing around the house with Levi. I love all of those activities, so I feel a little like I'm cheating. But, I weigh 35 pounds less than I did before I got pregnant and feel better than ever. Guess I can't be cheating too much!
    My dad is a runner, and I think he'd love this book. If I don't win it, I might have to look into buying it as a birthday present for him.

  27. my main motivation for getting up and out to run/excercise is a healthy body... my goal is a toned, healthy body. it won't miraculously happen by itself, so i run and have started lifting weights again. another motivation is that i want my kiddos to see that excercise is part of maintaining a healthy body. they enjoy going with me in the jog stroller... especially when we run to the park. when i run (or go to the gym) by myself, i have time to think or listen to music... some "me time" as motivation. another motivating factor is that bathing suit season is quickly approaching... yikes!!! : )

  28. I can't run right now due to knee and weight issues but I want to try once I lose more weight. Doc says gotta be lighter before I put that kind of pressure on the knees. However I do other exercise like walking, spinning, etc.

    Our Jamaican vacations motivate me every year to keep going with my healthy lifestyle!

  29. Well this post is so motivational is almost makes me want to pickup my tennis shoes and head out the door right now. :D

  30. That's what I love about running over any other form of exercise....lace up the shoes and out the door! I don't even own a decent jogging bra...

    I'll never be a record setter but every day that I get out and run I thank the Lord that I can run.

    That book looks amazing!

  31. Oh, but the cover pic is great! Prefontaine running at Hayward Field, all in Duck colors...quintessential running cover! I'd love to have a copy!

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