I feel like this is a common theme on many of the blogs I've been reading since I decided to enter this little corner of the internet. Most of the bloggers that I'm following and admiring seem to describe an early phase in which they "didn't really feel like a runner" and "didn't think they should call themselves a runner".
Right now I'm trying to move out of that phase. I've been actively running for a few years but I just started participating in the running/racing community. For some reason this makes me feel like I shouldn't call myself a runner or that it is doing a disservice to people who have run faster and longer for me to put myself in the same category as they are. As if they are going to look at me and think, "you don't get to say that you run...only I run!" I know that's not the case and if anything, it's just the opposite! My very first group run on Monday, I met two really nice and friendly gals (I use that word a lot, I just like it better than "ladies" or "women" as gal to me kind of means "friend") who talked to me and gave me the lowdown on the group runs and invited me on another group "pub run" that is coming up in a few weeks. This was all within a few minutes of meeting them!
Last night I attended the first in a series of 4 Women's Running Clinics at my favorite local running store, which was aimed at nutrition for female runners and yoga for female runners. The content was great and I can't wait for next week where we focus on apparel (what girl doesn't love some new duds!). However I questioned myself even while sitting in a room with women of varying ages, fitness levels and the like. I still thought, "I wonder if they know that I haven't done a half-marathon yet if they would still think I belonged here." What the heck is that about?! When did I become Sally Insecurity??
I am going to try and change this mentality and have decided that my new mantra will be, "as long as you get out there and put one foot in front of the other, you're a runner."
Did you ever have trouble calling yourself a runner?
When did you decide it was ok to make the leap?
What can we do to encourage people who want to run to do so without stigma?