I am a runner. Statement of fact. About an hour ago* I returned from an 8.2 mile run. Anyone would think that makes me a runner.
I don't know the source of my insecurities. My constant feelings of not meeting other's standards (or even who the "other" would be). I do know that I generally say I'm sort of a runner. Even though I've run two half marathons, a 10 mile race, multiple 5 and 10Ks, I don't see myself as a runner. Noel is a runner. Anna is a runner. My 89 year of father, who hasn't run in a few years, is a runner. I'm an impostor.
Except I am a runner. I used to run remembering my friend who died. I often think about people who love to run (or do another physical activity) and can't, when I run. I find it motivating: be grateful for what you can do, and push just a teeny bit more.
Tonight I ran into a friend who has run marathons, but no longer can. Her knees. Not a disease, not an ailment, just plain old shot knees. I will always think of her as a bona fide runner.
What makes you a runner? (Or a swimmer, a violinist, cook?) You do. As I get older my mantra is "be who you are". Guess what: the correlating concept should "you decide who you are".
*this was written several weeks ago and not posted. The images come from that evening's run.