Am I Really a Runner?

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by Dominique Burton

Since I’m an athletic person, working out seems to be a natural way to keep my stress levels down, regain focus on important tasks and aid in producing immediate, feel-good vibes. I love to try different ways to strengthen my body and have done so through cycling, rowing, yoga, and more. You name it, I have probably tried it.

Until about four years ago, my No. 1 love, with no close second, was swimming. If you know me, you know that swimming is what I am all about. I’ve swam competitively for more than 15 years. Then, running became this new thing I tried, and it stuck. Those same feel good vibes I previously attributed to swimming were gained just as easily by running.

“How can that be?” I thought. “I am not a runner, am I?”

Now, I run weekly. I sign up to run in races. I rep my run crew hard. But does that make me a “runner"? Committing to running--identifying my running activities in a way that would warrant a title--was never my plan. Even now it seems to be a struggle of identities. Still, something about running ignites in me a new purpose, a motivation to do and be more. I am not just a swimmer who runs, I am truly both a runner and swimmer. These days, I do more running than swimming and that is totally okay with me.

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Let’s back up a bit here, though. How did I go from, “Eh, I kind of do this running thing,” to “Hi, I’m Dominique and I’d like to run the world”?

First, I had to accept that running was a bit unconventional for me, especially due to the image I wanted project of myself.  “I swim, with a sprinkle of running mixed in,” is what I would say to others (and myself).

Yet, that wasn’t me living in my truth. Accepting it internally had made it easier to be the person who does both, or even that I could be the person who does more running than swimming.

What running has brought into my life over the past four years has been the motivation to do more. For ME, that means chasing the after-race high, sprinting for a chance to tell another person my story, dashing to sign up for the next race, and being the runner I now know that I am.

Each person goes through their own process of labeling themselves as a runner. You don’t need to run like the person next to you, your journey will never be the same. But that doesn’t change the fact that we are a diverse group of women that are in fact runners in every sense of the word. Despite the unconventionality, we cannot be afraid to claim it and continue to do what sets our souls on fire.


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Dominique Burton

Chief Partnerships Officer