Dictionary.com defines an athlete as "a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill."
I am not gifted in exercises of contests. I'm not very fast. I'm not coordinated at all. Heck, I've been known to trip over cracks in the sidewalk. I'm not very strong. I have to have my husband open jars for me on a regular basis. I am not very agile, as is evidenced by the fact that I refuse to take a step aerobics class at my gym because the first two times I went, I fell flat on my face. I get out of breath while I run or climb up and down the stairs a lot.
Even with all these facts showing that I am in fact not an athlete, I will argue that I am.
I train. I train hard. I run 6 miles on days when all I really want to do is to take a nap. I drag myself out of bed and run in the dark with a headlamp and reflective vest. I am a Floridian who hates the cold, but I run when it's 25 degrees and windy. I run 3 to 5 days a week, sometimes multiple times a day, depending on for which event I am training.
I have injuries. Last spring, I switched types of shoes and hurt my knees. This fall, I switched back to a type of shoe I prefer, and injured my IT band two weeks before my race. I have had shin splints. During a race, I hurt my foot and finished the race running, but could barely walk for the next week and had to take a couple of weeks off from running.
I participate in races. It isn't very often because I'm on a limited racing budget, but I have run a couple of 5Ks, a 10K, a half marathon, and an overnight relay race. I am scheduled to run in the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in April. I am hoping to run my first full marathon in the fall, with the Marine Corps Marathon as the goal. I'm trying to improve my speed and get some new personal records. Running these distance races requires a lot of stamina. Most people can't just roll out of bed and run 10 miles. I did 6 this past weekend and and I was zonked and sore.
I may not be thin. I may not be fast. I may not be agile, strong, or gifted physically, but I am an athlete.