So I’m in Starbucks the other day for an afternoon coffee break. I’m at the counter and have a Runners World magazine to read. The gal at the counter asks “oh, are you a runner?” I say yes, and she says she is as well. Then I start thinking, am I? Yes I run, but I’m not sure if I qualify myself as a runner. She looks like more like a runner, young, tall and slender. I’m 40 and my BMI is pushing obese. Even after running a couple half and a couple full marathons, this is probably the first time I’ve said to anyone that I was a runner.
I read about people who feel out of sorts when they miss a run. I feel guilty, but I don’t feel twitchy or anything. Some have experienced the “runners high” rush of endorphins – nothing for me so far. My pace certainly doesn’t impress anyone, and I am lucky to place somewhere near the middle of my gender or age group. Real lucky.
Running started for me on a “drunken promise”. A friend a couple of years ago said we should run a marathon. We were only riding our bikes at that point, doing the STP and a couple other rides each year. I hadn’t run a step for pleasure or training that I can recall. But we kept our promise, and eventually we worked our way through 5ks, 10ks, a half and then the full marathon. I will continue to run marathons. I really love the challenge of the event. A quote I found sums my motivation up – “mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like the muscles of the body.” I run these events to both keep fit, and to test my mental strength. The marathons and other events are also the goal I need to keep running. Without the goal/deadline, it is too easy to let training go.
I also really enjoy the community. Our running group is growing, and it is a great excuse to get together. We support each other completely, and it is a joy to see someone break through that next barrier. There is also nothing like standing at the start line of an event. All the nervous energy about what lies ahead, and sharing it with 20,000 other people.
I am training for a fall half marathon, and plan to run a spring marathon. So by the new Penguin/Galloway definition, I guess I am a runner. It just feels a little odd to say it out loud.