But I’m Not a Runner

There are people who love running.
Maybe you are one of them.
These people willingly lace up their shoes and run for miles–and they say it feels amazing.
They run in clubs, or alone, early in the morning, late at night, for exercise, for therapy….for fun!
I just never understood those people.
I wanted to understand them.
I wanted to be like them.
I wanted that runners high experience avid runners talk about.
I wanted to run miles, or even a mile.
But all of it remained elusive to me.

Every time I tried to run, it just felt awful.
I couldn’t breathe, I was covered in sweat, and I’d get a side stitch immediately.
My booty, stomach, even my arms, were jiggling enough to remind me of the line from “The Night Before Christmas”:
“he had a little round belly, that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.”
I wasn’t sleek or fast.
In fact, I felt all kinds of ridiculous and self conscious when I ran.
I did not feel awesome.
And I didn’t like it.


Probably the last time I liked running was in elementary school.
Even in high school, before the bowl full of jelly issue, I just didn’t like to run.
So after years of wishing I was a runner, and trying it here and there, I finally gave up.
I just decided, “I’m not a runner.
Some people are and some people aren’t.
There is nothing wrong with not running.
I don’t have to prove anything to anyone.
I’ll do other things.”

It’s true, there was nothing wrong with me deciding that I wasn’t a runner.
However, I wasn’t being entirely honest about the situation either.
I hadn’t ever given running a real chance.
I gave up every time it started getting hard–usually after about 3 minutes.
And I never stuck with it for more than a few days.
You see, I was under the impression that I was just going to start running and instantly be one of those people who could run 5 miles effortlessly.
I’m sure there are people who can do that.
But I wasn’t one of them.
Most of us probably aren’t.
Most of us have to train, and work for every mile, and we will want to quit when it gets hard.
I thought that because I had to work at it, it meant I wasn’t a runner.
And that I never could be.

With all that baggage, you can imagine my horror to find that running is a significant part of Boot Camp.
Even a short run around the quad at Wilson left me breathless.
I didn’t like that feeling.
But I pressed on, because I was there to work, and to do the things I thought I could not do.
I went to my first bleacher class, and could not run a quarter mile around the track without stopping to walk at some point.
I admit, I was disappointed with myself.

But I kept going to Boot Camp, and I kept running. (because Sami would yell at me if I walked)
And soon, I could run farther.
It was still hard, and I didn’t like it much while I was doing it, but I kept on.
It was the first time I had ever kept running, day after day.
I ran the hill.
I ran around the track on bleacher day.
And as I continued getting into better shape, I found I could run farther than I ever had.
That felt good.


I vividly recall the first time I ran a mile around the track without stopping.
Part of me was embarrassed that it was so hard for me to run 1 measly mile.
But another part of me was so proud of every hard fought step of that mile.
I was on my way.

And then there was the day I ran 4 miles on the hill.
I didn’t run it without stopping.
There were water and heavy breathing breaks.
But I had covered 4 miles, and for the first time ever, I dared to call myself a runner.
There was no runners high, it didn’t feel effortless, and I still wanted to quit at some point during every run, but I didn’t!
I finally understood an important truth about running: if I wanted to run 1 mile or 10, I was going to have to work for it.
Running wasn’t going to be easy for me, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t a runner.
The only thing that meant I wast a runner was not running.

6 months after starting Boot Camp, I signed up for my first race–a 10 K trail run.
I ran it, and nearly cried when I crossed the finish line.
But I haven’t run a race since.
Next week I’ll be sharing that story and talking about set backs, and fear, and giving up, and new goals.
And I’d love to hear your running stories too!
How you started, how you came to love it, your triumphs, and setbacks, and why you keep doing it.
If you’d like to share, find me at Boot Camp or on Facebook (I’m Greta Eskridge) and let me know.
Pretty please?

And, if you’re craving a bit more fitness inspiration, along with a dash of healthy meal ideas, and great hiking spots, and lots and lots of pictures of my kids,
you can follow me on Instagram.  I’m @maandpamodern
I’d love to see you there.
Now keep on Living Fit!