I went to the gym recently wearing my favorite running top: A Nike hot pink tank with a picture of the Chicago skyline and the words "Marathon Training 2009".
I like it because it's comfortable, it covers my "I gave birth to two kids so I don't have washboard abs dammit" tummy nicely and many times, it makes me feel like I am a real runner.
Sometimes though, I wear it and I'm waiting for someone to come up from behind, look me over and say, "Really? You? Marathon training? Faker."
I'm not exactly sure why, but it bugs me to no end when the feeling that someone is going to call me out on my insanity and my nerve to think that I, the unathletic one, would tell the world via my Nike top that I call myself a runner takes over.
Granted, I haven't quite finished a marathon in my four years of trying (see why here). I've never been athletic. In fact, far from it. I still remember the third grade anxiety I felt every night before gym class. I was terrified of the gym instructor and even more terrified when we would have to run laps around the gym (I frequently came in last place, mortifying) or when we would have to do pull ups (failed again). I remember concocting a scheme when I was 9 or 10 and telling my mom that I couldn't go to gym class that day because I tripped on the basement stairs and twisted something in my neck. My mother was rightfully skeptical so you can imagine my delight when I overheard her telling my dad . . .well, "the rug is moved like she fell on it." I thought I was so clever by twisting the rug at the bottom of that stairs to fake my accident. Anything to get out of Mr. Helmke's gym class.*
My feelings of terror related to all things athletic continued through college. The second time with my husband's dad's side of the family we were at a picnic. Harmless enough, until someone had the bright idea of getting a volleyball game together. Now, I'm already nervous getting to know the family and now I have to demonstrate my poor athletic skills? So much for making a good impression.**
So when that feeling enters my psyche . . . that I'm a faker, that someone is going to find out my little secret and tell the world that I'm a phony, I have to mentally push it out. I try to remind myself that even though I'm slow, I'm still running. Even though I haven't finished a marathon yet, I will (knock, knocking on wood). Even though I take walk breaks through the water stops (and ok, sometimes the hills) I am still running the great, great majority of the races . . .5ks, 10ks, and even a few Half Marathons along the way. I need to get this in check before mile 19 of the marathon or I'm toast.
On a lighter note, Suzanne, I'll have to add "Stronger" to my playlist. I've been meaning to for awhile. My favorite running song of late? Orianthi's "According to You". It's cheesy pop, but it works.
*I can't remember if my Mom made me go to gym class or not. I'm thinking yes, I must have blocked it out.
**For the record, my husband's family are a great bunch and in fact, very supportive of my many years of marathon efforts.