40 days without a run.
14 days of nothing but the pool and upper body/core work.
I'm starting to get the hang of the crutches. I take the stairs up to the second floor at the gym. I could take the elevator but the effort of crutching up the stairs seems like some of the best cardio I get these days.
My weight is up. In the past 40 days, despite my best efforts, I've put on 6 lbs.
I feel Every. Single. One.
My body feels heavy and woefully out of shape.
This weekend I signed up for a race that I'm unsure I have a chance of finishing. It's 6 months away.
The trip up the stairs leaves me a little bit breathless.
I make it to the top of the stairs (finally) and look around trying to decide where I want to go first.
"Wait, how do I know you? You're ... you're that runner." It takes me a minute to realize that a woman is talking to me. I'm trying to place her but she doesn't look remotely familiar. Am I wearing a race shirt? No. There's nothing about my outfit that screams runner. In what I have (rather cruelly) termed my "injury chub" I can't understand why she would think I was a runner.
She continues, "you run all the time! It took me a minute to figure it out but I see you run by my house regularly. You are quite the runner. You didn't do that running did you?"
"Probably. It's a stress fracture," I reply.
"Well, I hope you heal up quick. It's always nice to see you run by. I hope to see you out there again soon." She flashes a big smile. And I know she means it. For just a minute I can see myself through her eyes. I let go of the idea of the ginormous thighs, the flabby arms, the soft middle. I am a runner. I am a runner solely because I run. Not because of what my body looks like.
We judge ourselves far too harshly. Here I am feeling like anything but a runner simply because I'm going through a brief blip with injury. A blip! In the scheme of things, even if I'm out for a year, I'm still one of the lucky people that will heal.
I haven't ceased to be a runner because I can't run right now.
I don't have to qualify myself as "not a real runner" because I don't run fast.
I don't have to bully myself over a few pounds.
I am a runner. Today, tomorrow, and hopefully far into the future.
Because I run.