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GU and other Glories: learning to define myself as a runner

Up until this week I have been reluctant to speak, or really even think, of myself as a runner. I am someone who runs – but saying that I am a runner felt like I was being facetious. Or that I was trying to exalt myself underservedly into a category where I didn’t belong.  I mean, runners are athletes and while I have always secretly longed to be athletic, I have never even really dreamed that it was possible. I grew up in a rural (read back-water, BFE) area where the available sports were few (basketball or baseball and that was it) and were very competitive. VERY. If you didn’t like the sports available – well that was just too bad. If you did want to play and weren’t any good  (for heaven’s sake weren’t a natural and needed to be coached) you were yelled at and ridiculed by coaches, peers and families of peers. Now, I came from a home where perfection was an expectation anyway, so this attitude in the community towards sports put the fear into me DEEP. Case in point. I played one season of pee-wee basketball. I was in first or second grade and I didn’t really even know the rules of the game. I got the ball, and it my excitement headed for the nearest goal – and made it. Woohoo!… Unfortunately it was the other team’s goal. Now this should have been something funny, something to laugh about. It wasn’t. I never lived it down. Not in a “haha that was so funny” way, but rather in a “I can’t believe you lost the game for us” way. That is one of the first of a long line of examples.

So I didn’t  participate anymore.  I actually was pretty afraid of trying anything remotely athletic because I knew that I wouldn’t measure up. I pretended disinterest. Disdain. Not for me. I avoided anything that was remotely physical – especially when it involved being physical and interacting with other people in anyway shape or form. I secretly longed to be able to do more and was envious of those who were athletic in anyway. My fear and conditioning held me back. This certainly didn’t help my body image and just added to the genetic and psychosocial factors that facilitated my journey into obesity.

Luckily, I am really starting to change the way I think – about my body and it’s capacities. I am a runner. I have been running since last June. Its a little silly, but one of the things that helped me to transcend those entrenched thought patterns was buying GU.  My runs are getting longer, and I needed something efficient to keep up my energy levels, so I spoke with a dear friend who is definitely an athlete and runner and she recommended GU.

 For those of you as uneducated about these things as myself, it is a gel energy product that comes in a convenient little tube and can be easily consumed and digested. Doesn’t slow you down and avoids nasty little things like massive stomach cramps from trying to digest something heavier. For some reason, buying and using this product says to me “girl, you are a runner”. After all, only serious runners would need to use a product like this, right? That feels really good.

I also have been logging my cumulative miles for the week. This week – 17 miles. I mean seriously, 17 miles. Okay, I am a runner. Yeah, that feels good. and right.

 So far I have tried the chocolate GU (imagine trying to get down a mouthful of store-bought chocolate frosting while running), vanilla bean (very yummy and easy) and lemon-lime (not so much). Have a few more flavors to try, but am thinking so far that the vanilla bean is a winner.


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