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  • Amber Howland

Am I a runner?

Updated: Jun 16

I don’t know about you, but these weeks are flying by. I can’t believe we already closed out Week 4. This fundraiser has almost hit 1 full month. That means I have been running every day for almost 1 full month. Does that mean I’m a runner now? I have been called a runner several times in the past few weeks. I have been called many things in my life, but never a runner. I have ran before. I have run races in the past. But, I have never referred to myself as a runner. Last week, I met with Andrea Pollard from Simply Taken Photography to snap a few photos for a few upcoming projects for the 1000K for CNY campaign. She pulled up Pinterest on her phone and showed me a few poses from fitness models that she suggested we do. I immediately shut her down. I said, “I’m not sure about that. I don’t want to portray something I am not.” She kindly said, “OK, let’s do something else.” We went about the first part of the shoot and took my picture like she would a high school senior or a family of 4. We moved locations, and I had some time to think about what I wanted out of my time with this excellent photographer. I have pictures of myself in running clothes. I have a lot of those pictures. What I don’t have are pictures of me being a runner. I don’t have pictures of me posing as a runner. When we arrived at the next location. I apologized to Andrea for dismissing her earlier suggestion of doing the fitness poses and asked if we could try a few of them. Turns out, those are a few of my favorite shots she snapped that morning. As you might already have figured out, I have a case of Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern in which one doubts one's accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud". Thanks, Webster! No chance I am a runner. I am just a girl that happens to run. I need there to be a level that once reached, I can graduate to, “runner”. I also have this belief that runners have paces they hit to maintain their status as, “runner”. I believe I am not fast enough to be a runner. I just happen to run at a decent pace. I have not won any races. I haven’t even placed. No chance I am a runner. The problem with imposter syndrome is that there isn’t a clear and certain remedy. There isn’t a medication that can heal your brain from screaming, “What gives you the right?” day in and day out.  I battle with self-doubt surrounding my capabilities to be a runner always. When I’m strapping my shoes on, when I’m starting my run, when I hit halfway, when I stop to walk and catch my breath. However, when I see 6 miles pop up on my Apple Watch, I am so pumped with the sense of accomplishment I could scream. I want to shout, “I am a runner! Look at me running because I am a RUNNER!” I then carry on about my day and go through the same self-doubt song and dance the next day and the next. So how many miles into this 1000K will I become a runner? Who knows? Catch me on a cool overcast morning after a pizza feast the night before, I might be a runner. Ask me on a muggy 90-degree morning that feels like I was swimming instead of running, I would tell you that there is no way I will ever be a runner. It’s a roll of the dice, I guess. I will let you know if I have a change of heart in this department and what led to it. Stay tuned! Let me know in the comments below if you have ever felt like this. Doesn’t have to be running specifically. I could be in be in a job, parenting, relationships, etc. There is a great TIME article that talks through the origin of imposter syndrome, and how to help yourself turn the corner in your brain. Read it here Let’s get to the good stuff now. THE STATS! Here they are for Week 4:

Total miles run: 200.28 miles Small businesses showcased this week: Mad Moose Designs, XO Taco, BeeKind, Brooklyn Pickle, Exhale Café & Bake Shop, Prison City Pub & Brewery and Simply Taken Photography Total amount raised for the Food Bank of CNY to date: $3,224.45

I'm just south of Syracuse now heading east!











See you on the road,

Amber

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