Friday, January 8, 2010

Being a runner is not just about running

I consider myself a runner, but I don't run every day.  Sometimes I don't even run every other day.  There have been times that I have not run for days or even months, but even then I would say I'm a runner.

I consider myself a runner even though my speed is not a jogging pace for some of the elites in our sport.  I'll never win a marathon, but I've finished 7 (to date).  Asics reps aren't phoning incessantly, but I still consider myself a runner.

This got me to pondering why?  What does being a runner mean?  I think it's a way of life, but how is my life different from any non-runner's life besides the fact I occasionally lace up shoes and move with a gait that propels both feet off the ground at once?  Maybe it's just the fact that I'm active, so rather than a runner, maybe I should call my self an activist??  (Yes, that was a lame attempt at a joke!)  Cyclists are also active (it should be noted here I consider myself a cyclist as well, albeit novice), but I feel there is a difference between saying 'I'm a runner' and 'I'm a cyclist'.  So, it's not just about being active - lots of people are active in various sports - football, baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming, bowling (yep, it's considered a sport), etc., but when they say 'I'm a (insert whatever they are here)', I don't think it means what it does when I say I'm a runner.  Of course I would say that - I'm a runner and we're special!  ;-)

These thoughts all stem from me wanting to update the look of my blog and possibly come up with a name that doesn't make it so 'running exclusive' since I do so many other things.  After my first round of updates (superficial only) I asked a friend to check it out and she questioned my having a non-running pic in the new header.  This is a very legitimate question given the title, but I don't want it to be.  I want this to me about my life as a runner, but other stuff too - as a hiker, as a biker, as a picker, as a grinner (yep, pulling in a little Steve Miller sing along here...).  
These thoughts went even further when my 'Runner Girl' friend found out she can't run for a while - thinking about how our non-running friends wouldn't get that she's upset about this makes me realize even more that there needs to be a definition for us.

I know runners who are thin, fat, tall, short, doctors, teachers, accountants, young, old - there is no mold, but there is a common bond - just bring up the subject and see.

I definitely don't think I'll get my answers to 'what makes someone a runner and why it's so much more than just the running?' today, but I will continue to ponder this.

I'm leaning towards it having something to do with that elation you had as a kid just running and playing - no extras required, not even shoes at that age - just running for the sake of running because you could.  As adults we can still bring a little of that pure joy back with the simple act of running and we maintain it even when we're not running.  Maybe that's why it says something about who we are.  We are people who appreciate the simple pleasures and remember those joys of being a kid - possibly because we haven't quite grown up and to me that is a very good thing.

Feel free to comment on your thoughts about what makes a runner and why we are a special breed.

Till next time - run on.

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