A picture I took this week while running made all sorts of terrible thoughts run through my head, and while luckily I knew enough to swat them away in a millisecond, the fact that I even had them made me do some reflection.
When I saw this picture (even on my tiny iPhone screen), I thought, no one who doesn’t see me out on this street right now believes that girl is a runner.
Look at the cellulite on those thighs!
And one of my most common thoughts of my running pics: What the heck am I doing with my arms? Chicken wing! Terrible form!
I’ve always noted the look of surprise on their face when I go to a new doctor’s office and they record my weight and ask if I work out: I run half marathons.
Another one that gets me is when I’m talking about running a race at work, or in conversation with someone I don’t know well:
You run?!?!?! (Note: the eyebrow raise)
Followed by: How fast do you run? – Why do you ask? So you can be surprised when I don’t say I run a 6 minute mile? Nope – sometimes its double that, baby. I believe I’ve only ever been asked this question by non-runners. I can’t say I’ve ever had another runner I don’t really know ask my pace in a casual conversation as a measure of my worth as a runner (you know, the kind of convo when you’re not lined up together at a start line, or wearing running clothes). Distances, sure, but never pace. What do you run, sure – not how fast.
So what, then, does a runner look like? Well, if you’re a part of the running community then you probably know this: there is no mold. If you run, you’re a runner. Old, young, thin, heavy, thigh-gaps, chub rub, tall, short, baggy t-shirt wearing, midriff bearing, and every variation in between.One glance at the hashtag #irunthisbody is all I need to remind me that we’re all kinds of wonderful, we runners.
In those moments when I doubt myself, when I look at one stupid picture and it makes me think, what am I doing out here?? I remember that my running community gets it. They get that if you put in the work, and you make the effort, you’re a part of it. Just for trying. No matter how fast or slow, first, last, or even if you’ve never raced a single race. That is what gets me out of that momentary funk: that my running people get it: come as you are, bad running selfies, faults, and imperfections welcome.
Just get out there.