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  • Writer's pictureRachel Bennett

When do we become....

This past weekend I did my first in person race in over 5 years. It was a 10k with mostly trails. I was nervous about it because it was my first time running with other people and I didn't know the course. The unknown can make me nervous, but it doesn't stop me in my tracks. I started toward the back because I know I'm not the fastest runner and I had a goal of just finishing. I pretty much have resigned myself to being a finisher and not a winner. And that's 100% ok. When I run, I don't usually zone out and just run. My mind races and I think about things. Sometimes it's work or rehashing a conversation I wish had gone a different way, but this time I began to really think about how I knew I'd become a runner.

Some people will tell you, if you put on running shoes and run around the block then you're a runner. But, for me, I never felt that for myself. I would believe that for a client. I would believe that for a friend or a family member. I would believe that for a stranger I'd never met. But I wouldn't believe that for me. Why wouldn't I give myself the title of a runner even after running at least 15 miles a week for the last two years? Instead I would say that I'm training to be a runner. Girl, if you're training then you're running??? You're a runner! But still I don't know that I ever believed that until today. In the last year and a half I've run at least 5 5ks, 3 10ks, and a half marathon… and a whole lot of training miles in between, but until today I didn't consider myself a runner. What's up with that?

Here's what I realized. Sometimes we don't recognize the status we've achieved because it's not as far as we want to go. Or as far as we think we should be. I may be a slower runner than half the people running the race with me today, but I'm a runner. And those faster runners… many of them have been runners since they were kids. I was not. But does that make me not a runner. Nope. I also passed a lot of people. Just because I passed them does that make them not runners. Nope. I wrote a few months ago about comparison and how it can steal the satisfaction of what we've accomplished right out from under us. And that concept plays into this right here. Just because I'm not the best doesn't make me not the thing. And today that thing was a runner.

I remember when I started lifting weights, I wanted to be really good at it. I wanted perfect form and be strong enough to lift heavy. But I didn't feel like I was a lifter because the gal (or even guy) next to me had a better physique or lifted more. I didn't know what their goals were and I definitely didn't know how long they've been working on their form so why do I take comparison and cancel out my own journey. DO NOT LET COMPARISON CANCEL OUT YOUR SUCCESS.

I think this can resonate in almost anything that we do. In our jobs, in our relationships, in our journeys as mothers (or fathers). We may not be the best and we may not be perfect, but we are what we do. Everyone has to work every day to be better than they were the day before. And better than the next guy if we're competing. And competing is ok. That's how we push ourselves and grow. There's nothing wrong with being the best. That's not what I'm getting at here. What I'm saying is that just because we're not the best doesn't mean we're not the thing that we are.

I have a girlfriend of over 30 years that I was rehashing this with after the race and explaining what was going on in my head. I told her that I just find it amazing how we don't believe in ourselves as much as we should. and don't give ourselves as much credit as we should. Her response was "It's human nature I guess…", but why is that. Why is it human nature to doubt ourselves? When we were kids we went at everything like we were superheroes! When did we learn to constantly criticize ourselves and looks at our flaws before celebrating our beauty.

All of this to say… We may be working toward goals and somewhere along the path to that goal we transform. Through that transformation we see changes and achieve so much. Celebrate those beautiful things along the way. Don't look at them as not good enough yet to be celebrated. Progress is still progress even if it's not the end goal. You're still better than you were the day before. And if you've been on your path for a while you've covered a lot of ground. That's nothing to snub your nose at. So today, I'm intentionally celebrating all of the progress I've made on my path.

  • I'm a runner

  • I'm a lifter

  • I'm a healthy woman

  • I'm a great mom

  • I'm a strong leader

  • I'm not a quitter

A few things I will leave you with as I finish these thoughts.

  • Affirm yourself daily. You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are a gift.

  • Do not compare your journey to someone else's. Your journey is sacred to you.

  • Set goals and work toward them daily. And even if you don't achieve them the way you want to, you'll achieve more along the way than if you'd never started in the first place.

  • Be kind to the person next to you and build them up. They may be comparing themselves to you and feeling less than.

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Nov 14, 2021

It’s funny, I was having some of those thoughts yesterday during my run too. I was especially thinking about the title of “runner” because I have never thought of myself that way. My reasoning has always been that I’m really sporadic about running, and I don’t really identify as a “runner.” But yesterday, toward the end of a 12-mile run that was faster than I intended and much more enjoyable than I would have thought it could be, I realized that anyone else would call me a runner.

At the same time, I realize that I have never considered myself any of the labels/titles that others have for me. I never like being called the smart kid. I did not…

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