Wednesday, June 18, 2014


I've been thinking a lot about when a "runner" becomes a runner. For those of you who don't know, I'm a philosopher (not just at heart, I actually have my BA in Philosophy) and plan on being a college professor when I decide to grow up,

(Yes, I just did this. And I spelled it right without spell check. Self-five.)

so I spend a lot of time thinking about things. Remind me not to blog when I spiral into my existential crisis moments...they're not pretty.  But I digress.

The reason I bring up philosophy is because last night a comment was made and I'm still laughing over it.  "We discovered a waterfall ! It didn't exist until then !" Granted, it was said to get a laugh out of me but it seems kind of relevant to what I've been thinking about lately.

I always have and probably always will refer to myself as a dancer.  I started at age 4 and only stopped 5 years ago because I decided not to pursue it professionally.  It's how I explain why I stand differently and sit down differently and why it takes effort for me to stick my butt out when doing squats.  Usually when I say "It's because I'm a dancer," it just makes sense.  So it's very weird to me that people have started calling me a runner.  I think in the past 2 weeks I've heard, "Oh, are you a runner ?" so many times and I don't know what to say !  I usually respond with, "I'm a beginner" or "Oh, I guess, but I haven't been doing it that long" or "Oh, I've only run a 5K".  I then usually feel compelled to tell them that I'm training for a half marathon and it just gets awkward.

I consider most, if not all my friends "runners". I mean experienced runners too, with a laundry list of amazing accomplishments.  Then there's me. NO WAY would I call myself a runner around them because I honestly feel so inferior to them, it's ridiculous. Okay, that sounds really dumb to say, but it's the truth.  So I started thinking about why I consider them "runners" and why I'm off in some lable-less limbo waiting for something to happen so I can say "Yeah, I'm a runner."

I don't like to think about runners in terms of how many miles they've ran or how long they've been running.  There are so many different levels of experience but just because someone has been running for 5 years versus 10 years doesn't mean one is a runner and one isn't. Also, running is a form of exercise, and you can absolutely run without being what I classify in my head as a "runner".  Which is why I always seem a little iffy about calling myself a runner.  Does that make sense ?

Let's start simple.  They've got all the gear.  I can't tell you how many conversations I've listened to about compression socks & shorts, singlets, K Tape, foam rollers, gels and shoes.  And the laundry. Meghan made a comment one day about how she has "normal clothes" and "running clothes" and how often she does laundry.  I guess I kinda laughed about that this morning when I had to make a new drawer for my running clothes when I was putting laundry away.  I get a little obsessive about making sure I separate my shorts and shirts and tanks and socks from my normal clothes so it's easier to find when I need them...well okay, so I fall into that category.  I mean, I just made a post Monday about all the fun goodies I got. Not to mention how many times I mention rolling with The Stick. Alright, alright...

In my mind a runner is someone who has a running goal.  There's a point to getting up everyday and lacing up your shoes and putting one foot in front of the other.  I hear people talk constantly about their next race or time goal or PR they're look at.  And they have this because they've already run a race so they have something to compare it to. Okay, okay, I get that I can fall into this category because I ran a 5K and I want to run one in July and run it in under 29 min and ideally I would love to run my half in November in around 2 hours.  Well, moving on.

I think the biggest thing for me is that a runner is someone who doesn't give up and just keeps pushing and pushing to reach that goal.  To see all my friends out there day in and day out prepping themselves for Rock N Roll or Boston or all these other races just inspires me.  I hear all their stories and see their progress and I keep pushing myself constantly so that I can get better and run faster and longer and cross the finish line at City of Oaks and feel like all my work paid off. Um...

Guys ? I think I'm a runner.

I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't call myself a runner after looking at those reasons and definitions.  Yes, there is still a part of me that feels like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop so that I can have some sort of validation.  I may not be a seasoned runner like everyone I can't seem to stop comparing myself to (I'll work on it, I swear) but I think the only way I'm going to get there is if I start realizing that I'm already the very thing I've been trying to become.

[EDIT: I almost didn't publish this. I honestly almost hit delete. But I think it's important.]

I realize this one went kind of long and a little personal, so thanks for bearing with me and thanks for reading !


  1. I still toss and turn with this sometimes, but I think I always will. I'm comfortable saying I'm a runner now that it takes up so much of my time, I devote so much energy (and money, ugh) to it, and people who I consider "real runners" have called me such. I guess that's that, haha

  2. I struggle with this too, but I think you hit the nail on the head with defining a runner as someone with a running goal. I don't really know what makes a "real runner", but I know that it's become an integral part of my life and is something I do because I love (not for weight loss or exercise or whatever...I mean that helps though ;)).


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