I had to share a blog post that I read recently. I've struggled with this question since I started running. The post is from one of my favorite bloggers/runners - John Bingham (a.k.a "The Penguin", and the sponsor of the Flying Feather and the Cap City Half Marathon).
It's from a Q&A on the Runner's World website called "Ask the Penguin"
"Q...but is there such a thing as someone just not built to run?....
A....Very often the problem isn’t with our bodies, but with our emotions, our psyches, or our egos. When you write that your shins hurt when you went “faster than what felt like a crawl” it tells me that you’re running faster than your body can handle. For now.
It always surprises people when they finally learn how slowly they have to run in order to be a better runner. None of us get it when we start out. We all think that we have to run fast in order to call ourselves runners. But, the truth is, the better a runner you are, the more you understand that running – any running, fast or slow – is what makes you a runner...."
Read the entire post here.
When I talk to people about my running I always downplay it and explain that I'm really slow. But even today when I told someone at work I was running again and managed to do the Flying Feather Four Miler race, he was impressed. Even when I said I was slow. "You still have me beat," he said. Being married to a serious (some would say crazy) runner and knowing a lot of them, I tend to compare myself to them, and forget that the rest of the world either thinks more than a mile is a marathon, or thinks all runners are crazy, or both. I'm very worried about injuring myself again, and wondering whether I should continue running. Bingham's answer reinforces what I knew but forgot. It's not the speed, or even the distance. It's the fact that you do it.