What qualifies a person as a “runner”? Do you have to be an avid racer? Someone who runs 4-5 times a week? Finish races in magically fast times? Are there even any standards on being a runner?
While running wasn’t always my forte, I still consider myself a runner now. Sure, I was much more engulfed in the sport while I was training for races. I ran more often, had higher mileage, and concentrated only on building distance and speed. I’d be lying if I wasn’t excited for the welcome break of running once I finished my second half marathon in October. With winter around the corner, I knew I would be able to spend a lot of time on strength training and cross training. And since October, I have certainly done that.
I distinctly remember the first time I went outside for a run – determined to sign up for a race and make running a hobby of mine. It was actually March 17, 2011. Saint Patrick’s Day. A Thursday. While temperatures are nice and toasty in March this year… I am fairly sure we were still getting snow at this time last year. However, Saint Patrick’s Day was one of the first warm days of the season. I had taken a bereveament day from work to attend my aunt’s funeral, but was home by around 2:30 in the afternoon. Since it was so nice, I decided I would give it a go and run outside.
I was pretty intimidated to run outside in my neighborhood because regardless of which way I turned, I would be running lots of hills. Hills… were always my worst enemy. (I was..and still am.. always jealous of all of your flat Florida runners.. ahem JENA! ahem ).
But I laced up my sneakers.. and I ran. I didn’t have a Garmin. I didn’t know how fast I was going. I mapped out my run before leaving and I ran about 4 miles.
And I fell in love. I fell in love with the fresh air. I fell in love with the sound of my feet as they hit the pavement; the way my mind wandered to random thoughts. I fell in love with the quiet time I had with myself and the challenges that my body was facing.
The rest of history. I researched area races for a few days.. and then signed up for my first 10K. I trained relentlessly. And I raced a better race then I could have possibly imagined… leading me to fall in love with the RUSH of the race.
Since then, I’ve never looked back. There are days when I literally have to push myself out the door to run – but more often than not, I yearn for the feeling I get while I run. It isn’t painless, but the reward of finishing a run – and the fulfillment I get each and every time I push myself to do better – is second to none.
With spring upon us, I look forward to getting outside more and running to my heart’s content! Races – I am not sure about yet! With my wedding (which by the way… is 148 days away.. in case you were wondering GAH)… I am not sure what type of time committments I can give to training for any longer races.
Race or no race, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be out there running anyway!
What makes a runner? Or an athlete? When did you first feel like you were truly a runner or an athlete.. or anything!?