What do you think of when you hear the term "athlete"? For many people it is something like this:
Or maybe this:
Both are world class athletes. They get paid because they stay in shape and compete.
Last week I read an article titled "Can You Call Yourself an Athlete?". I've never called myself an athlete and when people call me a runner I shy away from the term. I shy away from the term not out of embarrassment, but out of feelings of being unworthy. When I think of a "runner" this is what I think of:
People who weigh the same as I did in middle school, who run faster than I can ride a bike, and win thousands of dollars winning big city marathons (while before I die will have probably paid thousands of dollars running in big city marathons).
Now maybe I'm being just a tad too critical of myself. Maybe I shouldn't compare myself to these people. Maybe I should stop typing and go out for a run but this is what I think of. We always hear of girls looking through magazines and comparing themselves to the models that grace the issue. That's me looking through Runners World.
The article was good. I can sum it up in one sentence: If you've completed a race by running, walking, limping, or crawling you are an athlete.
Pretty simple. By that definition I'm an athlete. I didn't get the warm and fuzzies that I expected to get from this definition. And to make a minor confession I had a good idea of what the article would say before I read it.
Truth be told, I have an inflated picture of what an athlete is. I'm definitely putting them on a pedestal. I could blame the culture I live in but that'd be lazy of me.
Instead of placing blame I'm going to work on humbling my idea of what makes an athlete.
I read this quote a few days ago and I thought it was appropriate for this post:
"I don't have a runner's body, but I have a runner's heart -and that is all you need." -Jennifer Morris
I don't know who Jennifer Morris is but she hit the nail on the head.
Next week starts my official training plan for the Canton half marathon (all the other running I've been doing is unofficial). I'm excited to run in my home town. I'm not putting a time goal on it but if I finish under two hours and twenty minutes I'll be ecstatic.
Chicago marathon for team Active:Water: 186 days