Friday, March 25, 2011

I Am A Runner?

When do you get to say "I am a runner"?

Is it when you can:

1. Complete a race longer than 5km?
2.Rock the head to toe Nike/NB look?
3. When you buy your first pair of compression tights?
4. Run your first half marathon?
5. Run a 7 minute mile (and not die)?
6. Look like a "runner" aka skinny...?

I will tell you in my opinion it is none of those:

You are a runner when the way you go through life is one foot in front of another in rapid succession, or not so rapid.

I started running in the winter of 2008 and on a whim signed up for a half marathon on the weekend after I would have been married.  I needed to have something to think of other than the mess I had made of my life with the disastrous relationship I had been in.  I remember clearly being on the start line mixed in with the marathon runners in the 5:30am humidity and heat of the Oklahoma spring wondering why everyone didn't look more "uniform."  Why did we all just look bizarrely happy and scared to be here rather than a uniform size?  Sure there were a lot of Nike shorts in the crowd, and Garmin's pointed to the overcast sky in hopes of working, but beyond that we were just people.

So do I consider myself a runner? Yes I do.

1. I cannot run a 7 minute mile - I may never, and I'm okay with that - very actually
2. I do own many lovely and expensive running items - but I know that my Craft jacket doesn't make me a runner
3. My going out in the sleet and having to ring out my running skirt at every traffic light because it's so wet - even that doesn't make me a runner, it just makes me crazy.
4. I have (had) a runner's tan line even last year
5. Even the fact that I have 3 different pairs of the same style NB shoes sitting at my door - labeled for their uses doesn't make a runner.
6. Yes the sight of this month's Runner's World makes me giddy but that doesn't make me a runner.

What makes me and every other runner a runner, is that is what makes us tick.  I want to come home and run - somewhere in me needs it even wants it. I dream about running.  I plan and look forward to races, my idea of a vacation is a new city and running a race.  Yes it's hard work, it is expensive and it isn't always fun in the traditional sense, but all of it makes me never want to stop putting one foot in front of the other in rapid succession.


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