Are you the turtle?
- Back of the pack person. You may brag about being slow or comment you’re really not a runner. You may even have more potential than you have ever tapped in to. You are just fine doing what you do.
Are you the competitor?
- You’ve sized up everyone around you. You have already told yourself that you will die before someone beats you. You can hear footsteps in any direction. You are ready to pick up speed at any moment to keep from getting passed by man, woman, child, or stroller. You are not willing to be on the course one second longer than your legs will let you – Haul ass and finish first. It’s a race, everyone is a threat… no room for second place. The suicide pace as Steve Prefontaine would call it.
Are you the trail runner?
- These are like the secret runners. You never see them in town or on a treadmill. You may never know they run. They are exploring a whole different world than the other runners. It’s a very different terrain and mind set to hit those trails.
Are you the “I can’t” runner?
- “I tried, but I can’t”
- “I wish I could”
- “I couldn’t do that”
- “I want to be, but I’m just not”
- The truth is no one NEEDS to be a runner, so it’s ok. It doesn’t give you cool point. It doesn’t make people think differently of you just because you ran. Just don’t be in denial of what your body could possibly do if you truly wanted it to.
Are you the “I need my friends” runner?
- You need that accountability. That person that calls you when you skip. You love the conversations and community of running. The fact that you just belong to a group with the same interest, keeps you coming back.
Are you the “I run alone runner”?
- No headphones, no one else, just the pavement and your thoughts. You pick your pace, you pick your subject matter, you tackle those miles one by one solo. This is what I call peace. Being alone is a hard place to be for many people. Believe me, emotions get crazy!
“GO FAST ENOUGH TO GET THERE, BUT SLOW ENOUGH TO SEE” – Jimmy Buffet
Every day is a race!
I’m not sure if it’s the love of running that fuels my soul or my soles, or if it’s the clarity of being alone, outdoors, and present in my thoughts.
I think of the days when my running was more competitive, when I was running sub 7’s or steady at an 8 minutes pace for mile after mile.
My thoughts run back to the days I had a run group. We never missed a Saturday and enjoyed coffee afterwards. 4 miles to 20 miles, it just depended on the day and how we felt. It didn’t matter if you were training for the race or not, you always said yes to a training run. Then, lives changed, jobs changed, paces changed, injuries happened, or extracurricular children activities took precedence.
Signing up for a 5k, 10k, 13.1, or 26.2 was never a missed opportunity. Toeing the line brought excitement, sickness, stomach cramps, anxiety and a thrill of leg turnover that hurt so bad afterwards.
Everyone was like a book cover. You just didn’t know the athleticism of the next person. A roller coaster of feels on a course that took you in circles or out and back. The world you could explore on your feet.
My last marathon, I ran a 3:49. Fast to some, slow to others, to me… I was closer to Boston than I had ever been. To get me to the finish line, it took 3 cortisone shots in 9 months, dry needling, fire hydrant stretching, patience, and more determination (or stupidity) to get myself through it. That was 6 years ago. My last half marathon was 3 years ago at a 1:42. The pain for even that in my piriformis was too painful.
Today, I am a 4 miler every day. This is mileage I can sustain pain free, and just enough distance to clear my head. My pace is sustainable around 8:15 – 9:15, depending on the day.
I struggle with the phrase, “I am a runner.” I’m not sure what determines that. I also struggle with the phrase, “I hate to run”. I’m not sure what determines that you should love it.
Running is more than lacing up a pair of new kicks and walking out the door. Dig deep, find the love of yourself, find a meaning for your soles to hit the pavement or trails, change your thinking, change your life.
Whatever you want to call yourself, a runner or not, just continue to put one foot in front of the other.
My running route for you is to find what moves you.
Please share… What type are you?