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.
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)