At what point will I stop feeling surprised and amazed when someone refers to me as a powerlifter? Even though I may call myself one, I do so with a measure of hesitation, half-expecting someone to stand up and call me out as an imposter. It doesn’t matter that I have taken part in three competitions and am preparing for a fourth. It doesn’t matter that I’ve set and broken National records or that I’ve got top 5 world rankings so far for this year. While I may, on occasion, walk down the street or through the mall <shudder> or go about my work day and think about the fact that I have National records and most of the people I come into contact with have absolutely no idea, for the most part I really just struggle to believe it myself.
This isn’t a new phenomenon. I feel, felt the same way about my life as a runner. When I started running, I would never call myself a “runner”, as if that was a title that had to be earned and I was a far cry from achieving it. I have run six 5K and four 10K races. I trained for a marathon and was only a couple of weeks from running it when injury placed me on the sidelines. Yet, if someone were to ask me if I were a runner, I would squirm with reluctance to claim that title.
And I suppose that is why I struggle…this perception that being called a “powerlifter” or a “runner” is some sort of title and titles are often earned or given to show honour. Being a powerlifter or a runner says that one is an athlete. While I have certainly always been somewhat athletic, I have never truly been an athlete. I have played softball and slow-pitch. I did volleyball, curling, some track & field and cross-country running in junior high. I excelled in the Canada Fitness tests that were a regular occurrence in my elementary PE classes. Athletic is not the same as being an athlete. Living most of my life feeling like I was never good enough certainly affects the way I view myself, and so, I suppose, it only makes sense that I don’t always feel like an athlete.
I think it is about time I start changing that self-perception!
Running isn’t high on my priority list these days, but it is still something that I enjoy doing and want to continue to enjoy. I am taking a hiatus, of sorts, because I am preparing for a powerlifting competition, but I am signed up to run a fun 5K on New Ýear’s eve. Running will likely always take the back seat to powerlifting for me now, and I’m okay with that. It isn’t the distance that makes a runner but rather the act of putting one foot in front of the other.
As much as I should be covered in bruises for all the self-pinching that I need to remind me that I am not dreaming, I am a powerlifter! Yes, I am! I don’t just lift heavy things in the gym. I put on a singlet and do it on a platform in front of judges. The fact that I find it incredibly fun doesn’t change the fact that I am a focused and driven competitor. As crazy as it may seem, I do own National records, but it is unlikely that I will ever get used to that fact.
So go ahead and call me a powerlifter…I am!