am i a runner?

It’s that time of year again, when all I want to do is hibernate til spring. It’s not even too cold yet. We don’t always have piles and piles of snow at this point, but it’s usually pretty cold. And, despite the warm weather, I have no desire to run. I mean I want to want to run (cue Cheap Trick), but I’m just not feeling it. I think it’s the stress of getting ready for the holidays that’s causing my desire to run to run away (that’s confusing). We spend Christmas with my family and I am very happy to be going this year. But now we have an extra person to pack for, and that extra person has a lot of extra stuff, and all that extra stuff takes up extra space, and it’s just too much for me to handle right now. On top of that, we’re taking the cat with us.

I checked out this book from the library to try to motivate myself to run. It starts out with a mother debating on cutting her run short by two miles. I thought, “If I cut my run down by two miles, I wouldn’t run at all!” It got me thinking: Can I call myself a runner if I don’t have a continuous list of races I’m preparing for? What if I have stretches of time when I don’t run at all, and enjoy it? Should I be proud that I ran two miles, even if they were slow? What do I really like about running?


I think it’s probably clear to anyone reading this that my answer to all those questions is yes (well, except the last one, but that goes without saying), but I will explain my reasoning anyway.

Question 1: Can I call myself a runner if I don’t have a continuous list of races I’m preparing for?

Yes. One thing I have noticed when reading running blogs or books by runners is that they always talk about the races they’re training for. The thing is that these people are (many times, but not always) being paid to write about these races. If they didn’t talk about them, they would be out of a job. I shouldn’t be upset by the fact that I’m not living up to the same standards as a professional runner. I’m not a professional runner, nor do I claim (or want) to be. I can still call myself a runner, even if I don’t have that many miles under my Asics.

Question 2: What if I have stretches of time when I don’t run at all, and enjoy it?

Yes. I think I’m pretty hard on myself. I mean I just had a baby for Pete’s sake. I don’t know why I’m expecting to jump back into running so quickly. Especially, now that it’s cold out too. Before this year I NEVER would have attempted to run in the winter, and now I’m upset with myself because it’s three weeks into my goal of running once a week in winter and I might not get a run in. I think it’s OK to call myself a runner, even if I miss a week (or more) here and there. I’m only human.

Question 3: Should I be proud that I ran two miles, even if they were slow?

Yes. It’s a silly question, but I think it’s still valid. I don’t know how other people feel, but I feel inadequate when I read how disappointed people get when they run slow, 10 minute miles. A 9 or 10 minute mile is my goal! I know I am not going to be shattering world records any time soon (although, I would be very proud of myself if I did), but I try to set goals that are realistic for myself. Running is an individual sport and the only person I need to impress is myself. I can call myself a runner, even if I’m the last one to cross the finish line.

Question 4: What do I really like about running?

Hmm…I think this question is going to have to wait for another time. This post is already getting a bit long (and I’ve got to keep it interesting, or else people will stop reading).

So, I may not get to my run this week, and that’s OK. In the meantime, here’s a cute baby to liven up your day.

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