Even though I’m about two weeks away from my marathon (!), I don’t think of myself as a runner.
Training has become my focus, and I’ve marveled that I can run more than 10 miles at a time. I’ve sort-of bragged the distances of my long runs, and checked out my legs in the mirror to see if I could notice any new evidence of my efforts. (Sadly, my calves are a little bulkier. That’s all.)
I used to think I was fat (when I weighed 115lbs at 5′ 5″) but now I see that the disgust was just the horror of the forced installation of extra body parts, and no way of going back to the freedom I had before the hips and breasts. I didn’t like being corporeal.
But running is a way to transcend the physical (if I’m wearing the right bra, I’m not distracted by the imposition of breasts) while at the same time I can feel impact radiating from my foot up through my knees and sacrum and lower back. I can feel how my body is put together, and even if I feel like I’m pushing myself too hard, I know that my amazing machine-body will heal. My body is made to do this.
Running is considered a sport, but to me it’s not really that. It’s so natural, like a normal thing that everyone can do to really be in contact with the amazing machine that is their body. So I guess I think of myself as a free and mobile land animal who is using more of my potential to move about than I had before. I think of all humans as runners. By virtue of my human body, I’m a runner.