I am {not} a runner

I have this dream where I am running on a beach. Damp sand kicking up on my heels, I glide along the misty coastline with the sun rising to my right and frothy sea lapping to my left. My taut muscles flex with every stride like a majestic mare. The skin on my shoulders glistens slightly from small beads of sweat. The air is cool. Each breath is controlled and steady and produces a small cloud in front of my mouth, serving as symbol that I am living my life at full throttle. I run…and run…and run. Not a jog, a full run.

Do you like to run? I do not. Not inside, outside, uphill or downhill. I do not like to run.

I know people who run. As a matter of fact, I know lots of people who run a lot – 5k, 10k, half-marathon, marathon. Even a few Ironmen, those who run after tons of other crazy shit. It seems like there are more people now who run more than ever before. These are the “running people.” They all just run, run, run. They run when it’s hot. They run when it’s not. They run in the sun, snow and rain. Many run for fitness, others run simply because they can.

Sometimes I envision myself as Forest Gump. Not the shrimp fisherman, but the running Forest. I think to myself, “so I just started running.” Then come images of all the majestic things I see when I am running out in the world – across the Painted Desert, along the lakes of Minnesota, through the streets of New York City. In this vision, I can real-ly run. Once I finish running and have seen all that I want to see, I just stop. I turnaround to the group of people that I have inspired to run alongside me on this magnificent journey. They wait with bated breath for me to speak and I say with muffled voice, “I’m tired. I’m going home now.” And that would be it, my running days would be over.

Those “running people” say once you pass the first few miles, it gets easier. They claim there is a point at which running becomes pleasant, even addictive. I think they are lying to me. I have done one official “run” in my life – 12 miles with a lot of obstacles thrown in for giggles. It was a team event so you can ask my teammates about my stellar performance. Then there was a 1-mile fun run. You read that right, one mile. Yes, I walked some of the way. I ran cross country in junior high, but didn’t everyone? I have no idea what that was about. Hated every minute of it.

The marathon is a symbol to me. A great goal, but something I have convinced myself I will never accomplish. That it is not in my cards. I would love to be a a person who says, “oh, I was up early this morning because I had to get in my 15 miles before breakfast. You know, I am training for a marathon.” Or like the young woman I stood next to in line recently. She was sporting a boot brace on her leg, so I asked her how she hurt herself. She said, “I got a stress fracture while running a half marathon last weekend. I overdid it a bit when I got to the finish line and just kept going and ran the full thing.”

Who are these people?

There is a running-friendly mix on my iPod with copious amounts of Usher, Ludacris and Pitbull, which works well for picking up my feet, but nothing for my disdain for the activity. I feel less like the majestic mare on the misty beach and more like a beached seal on dry land.


As you can clearly see, I have convinced myself that am not and will never be a runner. Precisely because I believe in the image of the beached seal, I have little chance of ever becoming the majestic mare. A reality which lies just a few miles and a looping Pitbull and JoLo remix away from where I stand today. Each of us have false narratives. Those stories we tell ourselves so many times that we begin to believe them.

This is {one of} mine. What’s yours?


3 Comments on “I am {not} a runner”

  1. samlowephoto says:

    ::: said in his best Viennese accent while thumbing a pretend cigar ::: But is that a false narrative, or is it a yearning? A goal? A caterpillar’s dream once she’s free of a cocoon? Or perhaps a metaphor for another kind of reality that you are truly exhibiting every single day — not false at all but amazingly, startlingly, precisely true?

    Don’t get me started. I was a psych minor. I work in marketing, plumbing depths so I can extract funds from you for clients who produce things you so totally don’t need. I’m also an astrologer, an I-Ching reader, and a wiz-bang with my multiple decks of Tarot cards. Jung is a personal hero.

    If that’s a “false” narrative, then heck, doesn’t that go along with that whole “if this is wrong, I don’t wanna be right” song? (Oh, no…ear worm!)

  2. You and me both, sister.

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