I’ve struggled with the idea of calling myself a “runner.” I mean, I’ve never run more than 5 miles at a time, and that was a one shot deal. I’ve never raced a distance further than a 5K. My pace is not much faster than a brisk walk.
I see the hashtag on twitter and Instagram for #motherrunner. I keep wanting to use it, but I’m not anything like the others who use that tag. I don’t want to be found out as an imposter! And I’m CERTAINLY not about to use the #runnerd tag!
Yes, I run three days a week. Yes, I’m in the middle of a training cycle for a 10K. But when do I get to be called a runner?
My answer came to me during my out of town run last week. I was running the most scenic path I’ve ever done (although my race this weekend could give that path a run for its money). There was almost zero chance that I’d see someone who knew me.
It was still darkish because it was still a half hour until sunrise and overcast, but the path was well lit. The only people out were runners. As I passed each one, we gave each other a brief head-dip as if to say, “I see you, but I’m totally in the zone right now so I’m just gonna keep moving.”
As I was approaching my turn around point, I passed a man running the opposite direction. Instead of the cursory head-dip, he looked me head on, gave a brief smile, and a nod that said “isn’t being a runner awesome this time of day?”
At first I thought, haha, this guy is silly thinking I’m a runner like him! But as I thought about it some more, I realized that I actually AM a runner like him. I’m not as fast, probably, and I can’t run as far, probably, but just like him and everyone else on that path that morning, I’m up before the sun on a perfect sleep-in day for one reason: to run. And I liked it.
Yes, I am one of you. I am a runner. I won’t get to the finish line as quickly as you can, but I’ll get there. That just means I have more people to cheer for me!
I run, therefore I am a runner.
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