This last week I have really been struggling with this. Since I have been injured (ITBS-see last post) I’ve dropped way down in my mileage. I ran a grand-freakin-total of 3 miles this week, (6 total running and walking). I hate it. Like it’s really been dragging me down and I’ve had to step back and figure out why that is. Get a little introspective with me here for a sec.
So here’s my struggle. I am a runner. I don’t have security issues with whether or not I’m a runner. I am capable of running “fast” with training. I haven’t achieved a BQ, but I’m not concerned with this because I know it will happen. I’ve run over 20 years, countless races, been through countless pairs of shoes, 3 watches, I spend my free time listening to running podcasts and browsing running social media, I know what a fartleck is, heck I have a blog about a running 😉 so yeah I’m a runner. I feel confident telling people that.
Sidenote, if you don’t run like me, or you run more or less, faster or slower than me, that doesn’t really matter. If you run, you’re a runner. If you think what you’re doing is just jogging or the question even circles your brain that you might not be enough to be considered a runner, sorry, but according to me, you’re a runner.
K back to my topic.. Where I don’t feel as confident is where my identity goes when I can no longer do this thing that I love! My identity has been unconsciously built around this idea that I’m a runner. As a new-ish mom, running has been the only space that’s just for me. Couldn’t live without it. I wanna scream it from the rooftops and convince everyone that they can love it too. That it can change their lives. But I definitely don’t want them to experience the identity crisis I’m quasi experiencing right now. It sucks. I’m not really into anything else. I used to rock climb, but I really prefer running. I sort of like yoga, but meh.. nothing compares with the runner’s high. I like reading, but not enough to etch out time in my day for it the way I try to sacrifice to get the run in. I recognize the importance of alternative hobbies—luckily writing this way does satisfy pretty well too. Guess you could say I’m lucky to even have something I love so much that I’d want to write about it!
One thing that definitively ranks higher than my runner status and that I’m infinitely proud of is being a mother. I love it. I wouldn’t go to the playground by myself for fun, but I absolutely love taking my daughter and genuinely enjoy it because she enjoys it so much! I think I’m in the minority that feels I don’t really need adult stimulation. Not trying to toot a horn or anything. And parenting tap-outs are something entirely different. I’m no saint. But this is one key aspect that emblazons me even when I feel like such a disgrace to runnerdom. So I’m a good mom. I’m not defined by this, but it is a good thing.
I’m a good employee. This doesn’t define me either, but it makes me feel good about myself. I’m honest and dependable, I work hard to make things better than they were before I touched them, I try to influence others around me for good.
I take care of my body. Not a defining characteristic, but it’s important to me to try and stay as healthy as possible for my family through managing stress, getting enough sleep, eating healthfully, and exercising. This usually makes me just feel good too.
I give back within my church. Not as much as I would like, but as a young working mother (who trains for marathons), I feel I’m doing what I can. My beliefs are corralling me around to a tighter definition of who I am and what the purpose of my life is. I’m a good, kind person, who takes care of others. I’m also making a difference in my community by being an active voter and relatively aware of what is going on in society, and on a micro level I feel I will make a difference as a mother raising good children who care about these things as well.
My injury is still pretty minute. I doubt I will be sidelined for any significant length of time, but it’s a struggle right now. Who am I? I am Ashley and I also run, I am also a mother, also a hard worker, a trained belly breather and pretty good at painting my own nails, but mostly I’m me and that is pretty great. When I am unable to run, I am not ruined because all that I am is a runner. So no I’m not a runner or at least not just a runner.
QOTD~Have you ever had to get down and dirty with these sorts of thoughts when something happens in your life that makes you struggle to define who you are? How did you reconcile?