Am I Good Enough Yet?

For most of my life I would have considered myself active and athletic to an extent, but never ever good enough.

I am from a very rural area in West Virginia, so what kept me active in my youth was cheerleading. I am not just talking about the standing in a skirt and cheering on various teams type. I am talking about 6 days a week of lifting and throwing humans into the air and gymnastics. I was good at it! However, I was the fat cheerleader or the husky cheerleader. I was not the stick figure cheerleader that everyone thought was pretty. I was the girl that had trouble fitting her arms into the shirts because they were too big and the girl who had to buy jeans a size larger than her waist so her thighs would fit.

Looking back on it now, I recognize that at 5'2" and 140 pounds, I was just very strong. I was always strong, but yet in my mind I was never ever good enough. I wasn't skinny enough, pretty enough, popular enough or blonde enough (no offense blondes, I got nothing but love).

Fast forward 8 years and I have completed college, gotten married and gained weight. It’s crazy because I got fat 5 pounds at a time and before I knew it, my 140 pounds turned into 214 pounds. I was at that point very, very unhappy with myself. I hid from mirrors. Most of all though, I felt uncomfortable because I was lethargic and didn't want to do anything. I knew change needed to occur, but I had no idea how on earth to start it. However, a friend of mine was running a Warrior Dash and convinced me to do it with her. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I said okay. I ran/walked the Warrior Dash and it took me near 50 minutes to finish the 3.2 miles. I walked much more than I ran, but I did it.

You might think, “Well, she just took off running and never stopped!”, but that’s not true. After I finished that race in 2012, I tried to become a runner. I would go to the gym, hop on the treadmill and try my best to convince myself DO NOT STOP, but I stopped every time from then until June of 2018. It has taken me 6 years to be able to run 3 miles without stopping.

Honestly, I had almost convinced myself it would never be something I could do. Running, it was just not in the cards for me, but this past June, something changed.

I have no idea what caused the change, but it happened. I ran my first consecutive 3 miles and I should have been proud of myself, but to me, I just didn't feel good enough. I felt ashamed that I was so slow.

Since June, I have been running very regularly and I have signed up for the Disney Princess Half in February. I am determined to finish without getting swept and not to walk, but I don't know what will happen. Through this journey, I have felt insecure about my running. I mentioned before I am from rural WV, so there is exactly zero running community where I live. I have to drive to a near by city to find a decent place to run, run in circles at the high school or run down the side of the state road. Now let me tell you, if you ever want to be made feel like a circus freak, run down the side of a rural state road. I feel like everyone is staring at me wondering why the crazy girl is running (I realize most likely nobody is actually staring and it's totally a me thing).

I’ve been told that I'm impressive because I don't really have a runners build (Thanks??). I still have all of these negative thoughts about how I’m not good enough to be considered a runner because my times aren't fast, I can't even run a 10 min mile, I'm too fat, I don't have a runners build, I have no clue what I am doing, or everyone is passing me and why is this so damn easy for them? I have all of this doubt inside of my head and I cannot figure out why. Why am in not more proud of my accomplishments?

I don't know why my default is negative self-talk, but it is and running has helped me realize this. Running has showed me that even though I might not be fast enough I need to add another word to the end. I am not fast enough, yet. I will keep working and pushing toward my goals and although I'm not good enough to run the 13.1 miles today, I will be come February. I am getting faster, I am getting stronger and I am building endurance. Even on the days that seem really bad, they are better than where I was 5 months ago. I am not good enough yet, but I will be good enough eventually.

My name is Norene. I am a wife, mother, teacher, lover of happiness and light...and I am an unlikely runner.

*For more from Norene, you can follow her on Instagram.