ChAoS in MOtiOn
It is amazing how the right words, at the right time can change a perspective. At the Bill Jansen Road Race this past June, a group of us were standing talking pre-race. Mostly we were discussing how unfair some brackets were, like the 30-39 women’s bracket. A 30 year old woman with no children who still gets to take naps and sleeps through the night, who has never had one or 3 c-sections, and can party until 2 and show up at 7 to run is not the same as a 39 year old Mom with 3 children, who has gone through pregnancy and then surgery 3 times, has slept in the “H” position with her husband and toddler 6 of the last 7 nights and hasn’t had a nap since Monika and Bill were current news are not the same thing.
As we were chatting, I had mentioned I had already done 3 miles prior to the 10k we were waiting for, because my training schedule called for 9 miles that day. A woman asks me, “So you’re a runner?” I uhmed, and ahhhed…. and hesitated, and “well” and “uh…” and finally a fellow Mom runner called me out on my behavior exclaiming, “Diane! If you are training for a marathon I THINK you are a runner!!” Thank you Kalyn for the call out. After so many years of running and racing, I still have struggled with labeling myself “A runner.”
Labeling individuals is something I consciously try shy away from. Johnny Cash felt a good song was a good song regardless of the genre. I try to view people the same way. People are people. In avoiding slapping a label on their forehead, I am making a conscious effort to get to know the true individual, not the individual others have presented to me.
Labeling myself has also been a task I have purposely avoided. I am ever changing. Obviously there are some labels I would wear as tattoos: Wife, Mother, Daughter, and sister. They are certain and unchanging. But life itself is ever changing, as is the book we are all writing with our lives, everyday. I resemble the 20 year old version of myself, but in a way that sisters resemble each other. One can tell they are related, but they are different. Because I am still learning about myself, I hesitate to label myself; I more than one thing, I am many, but not a runner! No way!
Runners are sinewy. They are long and lean and have abs that I could wash jeans upon. They eat bark and grains I can’t pronounce. They measure weekly miles by numbers I measure highway speeds. They run, think about running, talk about running, eat so they can run, don’t drink so they run, and sleep so they can get up to run some more. They are disciplined and type A. They love the checkable tasks a training schedule brings.
Me? I’m a mom who runs. I run because I like to cook with butter, and like beer with my chicken wings. I run to keep at bay the alien who lives in my face that explodes out on that school morning when for the fourth day in a row we can only find 3 shoes, none of which match and the cat has puked 3 times since last night on the white carpet, and the toddler and his feet are why I even know there is cat puke in the house. I run because so far the children can’t catch me.
That night I laid in my bed and looked at the race “bling” I have hanging on the wall. It is a colorful and ever growing lot. Every one of those medals was a symbol of someone’s desire to train for and finish a race, someone who put in the miles and had set a goal to finish, and someone who was a runner. I accepted I am that someone. I am a runner.