Comfortable with the title

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June 18, 2013 by Amy B

The bonus of being obsessive in tracking your workouts in an application like Map My Run is that you can go back a few years and check your progress.

This morning I had a five miler planned. Scott’s finally gotten back into running again, so Tuesdays and Wednesdays are super early days if we both want to run in the morning.

When I started out, I planned on taking it easy, but after a few minutes I settled into a pace that felt good. I looked down at my watch and it showed a 9:30 pace. I decided to see if I could keep it up for the duration.

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 9.57.00 AM

This morning, somewhere after mile one, I thought about what it means to be a runner.

I have called myself a runner to friends and family, but deep down I felt like a fraud, despite having run countless races – marathons included (!) – and have been using running as a primary method for the last ten years.

I think I was chasing a pace. If I could only run a X:XX pace, then I will really be a runner.

I can’t believe I was buying that load of bullshit for so long.

I love and hate social media most days, though I find myself slightly addicted to Instagram in the recent months. I love to follow other runners as inspiration in my own running. And as stupid as it sounds, sometimes it’s hard not to get down or feel inadequate about your own efforts when you see others post about workouts that you’re pretty sure were achieved via motorized power.

I might not be the fastest runner out there, but I’ve come a long way in the last year.

A year ago today, I was two months post-childbirth and visiting my family down in Detroit. I decided to get out for a run on a loop I like to use near their house – generally flat but with a fairly decent climb at the end.

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I remember that run like it was yesterday. (It’s also easier to remember when you find you actually blogged about it.) It was probably somewhere in the high 80 degree F range. Sunny. Hot. I somehow squeezed myself into either a pair of shorts or a skirt and one of Scott’s old marathon training shirts; all of mine were too small.

It was hot. I walked a lot. I may have even cried at one point. I couldn’t remember the last time it had taken me so long to run three and a half miles.

I was entirely focused on how I felt at the moment. I felt like I should have been doing more during my pregnancy, even though I had been restricted to only walking based on placental issues. When you can’t even cover a mile in a time that is excruciatingly slower than your normal pace, you feel like you’ll never get back there.

It’s so easy to focus on feeling like a failure instead of what you’ve accomplished thus far. It’s easy to forget that it’s also about how far you’ve come from your starting point, be it from a permanent butt print in the couch or childbirth or a 10:00/mile to a 7:00 min/mile.

I’m finally happy to call myself a runner,  an average recreational runner, who enjoys the sport for fitness and general health. And it’s not because I achieved a particular time – not that I’m not proud of the improvements I’ve made in speed – but because running is what I love to do, and I do it.

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Runner, Eater, Mother, Tweeter

Amy, July 2013

I'm a thirty-something suburbanite turned ruralite living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Wife, mom of two, eater of all things delicious, and a runner. This is where I blather on about running and health. Baby Number Three will be here in November (so yes, I'm a little crazy), and I'm running through my pregnancy for as long as my body's willing and able. There's also more of me at amyupnorth.com. Read more here.

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