and she's not backing down

I will never be a runner.

I may be able to run, but I will never be a runner. 5Ks may be in my future. 5Ks that include more walking than running. 5Ks that are for fun - like Color Runs and maybe another Dirty 30 without completion of all the obstacles. But anything outside of a 5K is out of the future.
Growing up, I took 20 minutes to complete one mile. There was very little running and a lot of walking and talking with friends. I could have walked faster I'm sure, but what I know now is that it is not my fault that I couldn't run a mile in under 12 minutes.

I was born misaligned. I am biomechanically challenged. Knees are meant to move laterally, and for me, that's a struggle. My hips are wide, my knees more bowed, my feet flat. It's an entire issue that runs from my hips down.

I never knew this until Wednesday. No surgeon has explained this to me. No surgeon explained it to my parents either. Previous bouts of physical therapy focused on strengthening my knees but not my entire leg.

Knowing what I know now, I feel lighter. I can finally let go of the failures that trailed after me. Not just the failures of walking a slow mile as a child and adolescent but also the failures of not being able to keep up with friend's paces while running on the treadmill. The failures of having to walk more than I run. The failures of never being able to complete the Couch 2 5K program because my knees simply couldn't handle it. The failures of being a clutz with ankles that twist easily and knees that dislocate often.

I've let go of the dream of running a half-marathon. I've accepted that running will not be my sport. That there will be no easy weight loss attributed to pounding out miles of the pavement or the treadmill. I've forgiven myself for how hard I was on myself for all the things I couldn't do as well as others. I've released the frustration I had and accepted more self-love.

I will never be a runner. I will never be a weight loss success story because of running. But I will be an athlete. And I will be a weight loss success story. I'll just fight harder, bike harder, and swim harder to get there.

Knowing what I know now, I feel excited. Because I let running identify who I was (or was not) for a long time. I saw myself as a failure all because I was never created to run. And that was a lie.

Now I see myself as a success and as someone who has a lifetime ahead of her to figure out what she enjoys. I see myself as an individual - a person who can fit into whatever mold she wants to.

And I'm stronger for it - this biomechanical mess that I am. I'll always be stronger for it because I'll have to work harder than most. And work hard I will. This will not defeat me. It will not define me. Instead I will define myself.

(title from "girl on fire" by alicia keys)

Linking up for Fitness Friday with Desirae and Fitness Friday with Jill!


  1. I really understand this. I played soccer for years and I hated the running part. I don't run, I never will. I told my husband I'd do a 5K with him and probably end up walking some of it, but I'd never marathon train and/or run for exercise. Other forms of cardio are better for weight loss/maintenance anyway! You might initially lose weight while running, but it takes more calories to sustain that kind of training so it kind of evens out.
    Like you, I firmly believe that my body just isn't designed to move that way.

  2. Good for you to be nicer to yourself. This was a great post!

  3. I have tried and tried to be a runner, but it's very much a love/hate thing for me. Anything over a 5k is out of the question because of my feet and knees (maybe we have similar problems?), but I've found myself feeling much the same as you. I want to be a runner, and I feel like a failure when I just can't. Lately, I've decided to focus on being healthy instead of a specific sport, and I love working out so much more!

  4. You know those days when you read a blog post that you were pretty much in your head yourself?

    Yup. I just had one. :)

    I struggle with running. I know my exercise joy comes from other things. But yet there is still something in me that wants to explore it. Yay for you for seeking your exercise joy. :)

    I'm about to do my first Colour Run in Sydney, Australia tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to it. I have this plan to do 8 of them before I turn 40 at the end of next year. Not specially to run the 5km each time - although that would be fun - but just to enjoy the 'Hurrah-ness' of the day. :)

  5. I know the feeling about wanting to run and do a marathon. I would love to do it too. I try to run and I look funny. I at least try to a little bit. I did the color run and just talked to people too. At mine it was pouring down rain. I'm so glad because I don't think I could have lasted if it wasn't. Because it was Sept. and alabama's weather is cray cray!! Haha.

  6. Great post, but I Have to disagree: do you run? Then you are a runner :) It doesn't matter how fast or slow or how many miles you are a runner.

  7. Loved reading this! Girl on Fire is my daughter and I's theme song :)

    I agree with Marathon Mom. I'd definitely say you're a runner!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...