Am I a runner?

runner

It seems the topic of “When am I a runner?” divides opinions. Some seem to think that you are only a runner if you run at a certain pace or if you have competed in/completed a marathon. Others think that you have to be an ultra runner before earning such a title. The online Oxfod Dictionaries (oxforddictionaries.com) gives the definition of a runner as:

noun

  • 1a person that runs, especially in a specified way: Mary was a fast runner
  • a person who runs competitively as a sport or hobby: a 400 metres runner

Then why do I still feel like such a fake when I call myself one? I have the bruised toe nails of a runner. I have blisters and injuries. I have long since given up any sense of shame about being seen in my running tights. I choose holidays based on whether I can run at the location. In fact, running seems to have taken over my entire life of late. If a friend asks to meet I will work it around my running schedule, not the other way around. Other friend wants to go out for drinks but I can only do it if they understand I won’t be drinking much (interferes with the running), or that I have to leave early due to a run the next day. All I seem to talk about is running; I am a running bore! And tomorrow (SATURDAY! A day to sleep in and recover) I am getting up at 7am to fit my long run in before I drop off my daughter at the airport. Have I gone mad or come to my senses? I have always been a bit black and white and the grey makes me feel uncomfortable. If you are going to do something then do it properly – that is what I live by. How the hell will I ever be able to take 6 weeks off?

The highs and lows or running are addictive. You have a shit run one day but the next you seem to have grown wings. I love those runs when you feel like you could just keep on going forever – just drop a pin on a map and run there. You feel great, a good song comes on the ipod and you just sing along while running, wanting to high five people because you feel soooo goooood.

I did my intervals yesterday and it has been a good while since I last tortured myself with those. I was absolutely dreading it.. When I started the first one, I felt like my legs just couldn’t keep up – they felt alien. I eventually got into it and realised that all the work I have been putting in, doing my physio and running seems to have paid off. I found another gear I didn’t have before. When the interval got tough it was almost as if the muscles in my legs activated and they felt stronger. My lung capacity seems much better as well than it did before. Naturally I was a mess by the end of the session but a happy (if rather red) mess.

So what makes a runner? I think you are a runner if you run, as simple as that. If you go out and do your time on either the treadmill, track, trail or where ever. If you put on your runners whether you feel like it or not, and you do it. No matter the distance, speed or duration. No matter even what the motivation; getting fit, losing weight or just getting out of the house for a bit to escape the kids. Do you want to be a runner? Without wanting to sound like a Nike ad, just do it. Put on your running shoes and go do it. It doesn’t matter if you can’t run for longer than a minute at a time – just keep at it and you will soon see improvement. Once you get your first taste of runner’s high you will be hooked – and there are worse masters to be a slave to.

6 thoughts on “Am I a runner?

  1. Running for me is something that I’ve never been able to make sense of in contrast with the rest of my identity, so I rarely mention it to friends or people I meet. Listing it on my resume in the “Other Interests” area is about as public as I get, and that’s only because I think it will make me seem like a hard worker to potential employers. My strangely enjoyable habits of getting up at 5am for a run in the pitch black of morning and drinking smoothies with whey protein just don’t seem to square with my image as an old school club kid, ex punk rocker, or cynical, sedentary writer – running is way too good for me, and makes me feel way too good.

    1. Hi Anna! First of all, I enjoyed your post about motherhood – it resonated on many levels. My oldest is now 13 and where I thought I would be “the cool mom” I turn out to be the super strict bore. Woe is her!

      Back to running – I think running definitely fits with being a(n ex) punk rocker; you need to be gritty to run. Now, say Pilates, would be different.. (Just kidding..) And running is good for you but boy, can it be painful as well! There are days when I would rather be getting my nipples pierced than pounding the pavements.

      I also love getting up at a ridiculous hour to go running – nothing beats it. Just me and the urban foxes.. And the occasional punk rocker crawling back home after a big night out. 🙂

    1. Ah, very true – labels are unnecessary. There is something about being able to say you are a runner though, don’t you think? I may have a low ambition job but I am a RUNNER and plough all my strength and achievements into that. 🙂

  2. ah, yes…. this debate. i run, therefore i am… runner. i am lucky in love to be married to a runner, so we chat each other up and down about running form and function. it’s delightful to us and completely alienating and boring to the rest of the world. like most trends around here, he started it because i had already paved the way (awesome trend setter, i am.) — but i’m glad to have someone built into my day to gab about running with. it saves me the trouble of tanking all my other friendships on the premise of boring them with “run talk”. i relate to your post on many a level, my friend. i’ve reformed my life so much people do not even recognize me, nor do they want to hear that i cannot drink a beer because i’m RUNNING IN THE MORNING! xxx

    1. You are very lucky indeed! There is nothing better than to have, not just someone but your husband, to be a running bore with. And the fact that neither of you think it is boring to be comparing paces, distances, gels, runners or to be analysing injuries. A shared passion. My husband runs but not quite to the same degree as I do – he is less addicted. Still, we challenge each other and if he does a 15k run, I have to go out and do a 20k one. I do find that all my conversations get steered towards running. It’s a bit like having a crush on someone; you just can’t help thinking about them or talking about them. A bit sad to be in love with running. 🙂

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