I run. I wouldn’t call myself a runner. But I run.

Naturally, when I moved to Greensboro just over 2 years ago I looked for other like-minded souls. I googled races. I researched running clubs and groups. When I found the Greenway I had found my own little heaven!

5 months after moving a friend told me they were running in this event…she kept saying “I’m not a runner” but I tag along a few times a week with a friend who runs. She was a part of team running a marathon as a relay. Secretly, I was quite jealous. I didn’t yet know people to run with randomly let alone to run such a cool event with a team! I’m totally intrigued by this race and also (can’t lie) wanting to meet some other runners who do events like this one. My family of four decides to head to Country Park so we can cheer and see what its all about.

Here is why I want to share. Walking toward the start/finish along the paved loop around the lake with my 6-year-old I can’t help but be in awe. I can’t figure out just who is running what? How many miles has that person covered? Its inspiring to take it all in.

I ask my 6-year-old, “What do you see?” She answers “I don’t know, runners?” The ensuing conversation went something along these lines.

Me: “Yeah, but what else? Do they look the same?” Her: “No.” Me: “Are they the same age?” Her: “NO! That man looks like Grandpa and that lady in the tutu doesn’t! (giggle giggle)” Me: “The same size?” Her: “No mommy!” After going through a few more rounds of how most everyone out there is different I get to the point.

Me: “Do you know why I asked you all these questions?”
Her: “Err. No.”
Me: “Because that is the amazing thing about running. Nearly everyone and anyone can be a runner. They are all just out there doing THEIR best.”

To be honest, it may or may not have connected for her. But it certainly did for me. The years I spent competing, I didn’t do it to win. Maybe that’s what I thought at the time. Now I know, I did it because I appreciated the hard work and the challenge. I appreciated the comradery that running brings. I appreciated that any and every CAN do it. You just have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and try. You will find so much more than you ever imagined.

Now, at 8, my daughter has finished four 5ks. I’d like to think that deep down our little conversation helped her. I’d hope that we all take the time to remember when you get out there no one else is concerned about how old you are, what size you are, where you came from, what your skin color is. Really all that matters is that you are out there doing YOUR best (whatever that is.)

Moving into what will be the busy spring racing season I hope you find the courage to go for it, whatever IT is. Sometimes all that holds us back is fear. Fear of judgement (will I be last?!). Fear of failure (will I not beat my time). Fear of the unknown (I can’t do that, can I?!). Choose to be an inspiration to yourself. And don’t forget, you may just be inspiring the next generation while you are doing it.