I love it when friends ask for my advice about training and racing. it means the world to me when I get messages or emails saying that someone has started running or swimming or training because they read my blog or heard about something I’ve done. It isn’t because of me that makes me happy. It is because I’m so happy that friends are enjoying an active lifestyle. I know the positive difference that running has made in my life. I want everyone to have that experience.
But then comes the wash over me of feeling a great guilt. I haven’t trained properly or consistently for races in over two years. I spend more days on the couch than I do on the road. My bike has gathered a thin layer of dust on the nicest of spring days. I avoid scales. When I do race, I try to avoid the social scene so mo one will ask me my time. When I talk to someone at the store about running and they ask me if I am a runner, I say yes but my heart feels a twinge.
Am I perpetrating a fraud? Have I lost all credibility? Have I become a “has been”? It is such a feeling of embarrassment that I am not longer strong or fast or dedicated. Can I ever get back to where I left off? Can I be forgiven for such a mask of success covering a face of failure?
It’s not that I sit on the couch all the time feeling myself getting fatter. It is that I have lost the drive to be an endurance athlete. I run for a half an hour a few days a week and I am happy. But how do you explain this to a hyper competitive community where your acceptance is based on your mile count or latest PR? How do you handle the empathetic nods and passing reassurance that “you’ll get it back”?
I don’t want to be a fraud. I want to be healthy. I want to enjoy physical activity and feel accepted. I feel so blessed that so many people have started to adopt a healthy lifestyle and started running or racing. Now if I could only feel a sense of inspiration again. So that I no longer feel like a fraud.