It's funny how such a little phrase can have such an enormous impact on my identity. I am a runner. I look down at my legs, leaner and more muscular than before, and think of the strength and potential they have - to carry me on paths I have never explored and routes that were, at another point in time, not even a possibility. I think of my body working in cooperation with my mind, and together pushing me, challenging me to keep going. Because I am a runner.
Because I can.
I haven't had much to write about this past week because, honestly, there hasn't been much to say. Like the hill repeats we do every Tuesday, I have been able to take on my training with minimal struggle. On good days, I go to bed tired and satisfied, and wake up renewed and ready to take on the day. My muscles ache with a soreness that tells me I'm doing what I need to do - no more and no less. And on a bad day, I know that nothing will stay miserable forever. I can still smile because I'm out there, running, challenging myself, taking care of myself, doing something I never in a million years dreamed I could, or would do.
I'm moving forward, step by step, and breaking free of whatever has held me back for so many years. The gaping chiasm between "I want to," "I will," "I can," and "I am" has been bridged, and I can look out over it, knowing its depths, knowing the tears and struggles and sheer misery it took to pull myself out of it. I think back to the fear and trepidation of several months ago, when I had absolutely no clue how I was going to step up to this challenge. And as the days and weeks progressed, training for the marathon became a euphemism for so much more; it stood for the courage to face failures in my life, and to own them. To validate my struggles over the years, because they have forged me into a stronger, more determined, more courageous person. When I see myself as a runner, I don't see the fastest, or strongest person out there, but I see this new facet of my identity and a new confidence in my ability to look the unknown in the face and say "I can do this."