“I am a runner.” What a statement. For much of my life (just about all of it, really), I thought runners were a special breed of people. Mysteriously blessed with agility, fierce will, and heaps of surplus energy, runners were born runners. And the rest of us were born… not-runners. Maybe not inferior, but not quite equal, either.
As a not-runner, I tried to give running a shot from time to time. I’d set out for a jog, take a few steps, realize that my legs felt like they were made of lead, and decide I’d better listen to my body and go for a walk instead. Leave the running to those superhumans who somehow enjoy it, and leave the walking to the rest of us!
At FoodPlay, we work every day to help children and families overcome hurdles and make healthy choices—from nutrition to physical activity to self image. We’re constantly fine-tuning ways of empowering youth to reclaim their futures with good health and faith in themselves. My personal favorite part of the FOODPLAY live show, the “I can do this!” segment, draws in the collective audience and creates a moment for each individual to revel in his or her own strength, ability, and potential.
Witnessing a room full of hundreds of children reaffirming their belief in themselves is enough to make anyone feel invincible!
Last summer, I gave running as a not-runner one last try. I set out on a short course and took it slowly, determined not to give up. I can do this, I reminded myself with each challenging step. It’s been almost a year now, and that short course has grown and grown. I’ll never be very fast, some days I still feel like my legs are made of lead and, at times, I even still wish I were walking. But I make sure to maintain my routine and I don’t give up.
It’s true, I enjoy feeling “strong,” I definitely benefit from taking time out of my busy schedule for just myself and my running shoes, and I always feel great after spending time in the fresh air. However, for me, the most rewarding result of all is the regular reminder that I can do anything I set my mind to. We can all overcome obstacles to make our lives fuller and healthier in whatever ways we choose. We can do this.
As it turns out, that’s all a runner is. Someone who reminds herself every day, over and over again, that they can do it. I am a runner.