I think I can officially add a new title to my list of descriptors: athlete. I've probably already thought of it before, generally. I mean, I did finish a marathon and all. But after this weekend's big PR in the half marathon (by over 6 minutes!), I am feeling that athlete is an appropriate label to claim for myself.
Yesterday, I went out and played Ultimate Frisbee for the first time in two years, and I was amazed at how comfortable I felt. I feel more capable in my running, I was quick and able to stay with my person (even with recovering legs), and I was able to throw and catch decently. I also feel like I'm better understanding the logic of the game, of how to run and where to be, the strategies and the requirements to play well. I'm by no means the weakest person on my team, and that made me feel good.
Better yet, my team is friendly and encouraging. I didn't feel anxious about messing up, and I asked questions from the better players, and I had a great time.
Running is wonderful, but even in a group, it's a solo sport. Only you (the runner) can affect what happens on the run. While running with other people helps pass the time and improve running speed, at the end, you're in your own head and in charge of your body. You have to run your own race at your own pace. But even as much as I like the solitary aspect of running, I miss the camaraderie of being a part of a team, of contributing to a larger entity. I enjoy team sports (especially when I feel like I'm actively contributing), so I'm really glad I got talked into signing up for summer league this year.
The confidence and the comfort I feel in my skin is one of the best results of owning my athleticism. I'm looking forward to this summer as the time I continue to hone and develop my skills and see what my body is wonderfully and awesomely capable of.