Today it was unseasonably warm outside and I was antsy from being cooped up on my computer all morning, so it wasn’t terribly surprising that I felt the urge to run. But, considering my inconsistent exercise habits these days, it’s a miracle I even got dressed at all.

I used to consider myself a “runner” – in that I joined my high school’s cross country team and ran every day – but I quickly figured out I wasn’t a runner. No – I was a jogger. My XC coach made it abundantly clear that he agreed with my title when he put me on the JV team every year until I graduated. As if that weren’t embarrassing enough for a self-conscious 17 year old, the only time I ever even started as a JV racer was when mono took my school by storm and pretty much half the team was benched for a month to avoid bursting spleens. I must have been kissing all the right people because I was mono-free and healthy as a horse.

Since the days of mile repeats and trail runs with the team, I’ve logged a lot of miles on treadmills, ellipticals, and DC pavement, but I never fully developed a love of the sport. The thing is, I want to be a runner. I do. I read about techniques for improving my speed and endurance. I invest in top-of-the-line footwear and running gear. I idolize the lululemon runner girls with their toned legs and flat abs who run for miles and miles and smile and chatter the whole way. But I don’t get that. Running is HARD.

The one day I attempted to run with a group, I immediately fell towards the back of the crowd. I was panting and miserable and hating my life when some chirpy runner dude decided to start hitting on me. Now, I’m generally a pretty happy, chatty, flirty person, but when I can’t breathe and think I might vomit, and gregarious Greg starts commenting on my muscular calves and the size of my shorts, my friendly demeanor dissipates. Fast. Greg could suck it.

I stopped running, turned around, and headed home. I’m a jogger, not a runner, and anyone or any group that tries to convince me otherwise is just plain wrong.

This is what I thought I looked like when I ran:

Hot Runner

Then, one day, I caught a glimpse of myself in a car window and saw this instead:

Ugly Runner

Needless to say, I was a little bummed out.

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