Guest Post: Jennifer Wilkinson
First of all let me say that although I’m training for my first marathon, I feel like a poser. A fake. A trickster. I find that I cannot utter the words, ‘I am a runner.’ I’m not sure why – I put in the miles, I ‘hydrate’ instead of drink, I ‘fuel’ instead of eat – surely that must mean I’m worthy! A few people at work have found out I’m training and said, ‘Wow, I didn’t know you’re a runner!’ I usually respond with ‘oh, not really’ or ‘I’m working on it.’ I have no trouble admitting that I am many things: a mother, a wife, a friend, an accountant, a teacher, a beer and wine lover, a shower-singer, a car-dancer and a goof-ball who is also somewhat of an introvert. I am also fluent in sarcasm and profanity (run a big hill with me to experience this first hand)!
On the heels of a very enjoyable and uplifting 10 mile run and contemplating the 16/17/18 milers coming up in the next few weeks, I find myself reflecting on the WHY of my journey. I’ve run a couple of long(ish) distance races, but I really can’t say what made me register for my first marathon. I wish I could say raising money for St. Jude was my primary reason, but sadly I’m more selfish than that. St. Jude IS a top notch facility that is deserving of every penny raised and I do hope I can contribute in some small way. The reality is that my motivation was a recent milestone birthday and to prove to myself that I’m not dead yet [I don’t want to go on the cart :-)]. I want to feel strong and alive and vibrant. I want to show my young sons (4 1/2 and 8) that Mom is a badass who can run 26.2. I want to confront the runner in me and tell her that she is tough, that she deserves this and that I will buy her a beer when it’s over!
Although I’m still struggling to identify with my inner athlete (me? an athlete?) I find that since I’ve joined Star Runners this is becoming easier. I have literally fallen on the ground and had a team member pick me up (thanks, Craig!) and I’ve enjoyed the banter and laughter that have made the miles just fly by. I may not join the group for all of my runs (did I mention I’m somewhat of an introvert?), but the group dynamic makes me feel that I’m part of something stronger and more confident than just a solitary person who is still struggling with understanding WHY this marathon feels so important and personal. I believe the answer lies in the many miles I have yet to run, but I do believe I will find it. And I will love every sweaty, exhausting minute of it.
Many thanks to Star, Keith and all Star Runners for helping me recognize myself as a runner, mile-by-mile and step-by-step.