It’s not often that I feel like a runner. Yes, I’ve participated in a series of half-marathons, 5Ks and 10Ks. Yes, I average about 3 days of training a week. Yes, I always like to have a race on the schedule to motivate that training. And, yes, I’ve got a drawer full of shiny bling. But, when I’m talking with people, and I mention my last or my next race, I often feel like a fake. I qualify my response of “yes, I run” with …. “but I’m very slow”; or with …”but I walk a lot”.
Sometimes I wonder what it would take to feel like a “real” runner. Would it be running a faster mile than my average of 15 minutes? Would it be completing a 5K without taking a single walking break? Would it be owning more pairs of running shoes or sparkly skirts or compression garments? Would it be fitting into smaller size running clothes? Every now and then I think I have a glimpse of the answer… but it usually fades quickly. In fact, there probably isn’t any one answer. It is likely different for each person out there tying the laces on their running shoes. And certainly the answer would be different for the professional runners vs. the recreational runners vs. the charity runners.
But, today I felt like a runner. And all it took was one text – my husband informing me, after I had just launched my lunch run, that my mother-in-law had had a bad reaction to her first session of chemotherapy. Suddenly, the obligation of fitting in a training run became the need to run. I needed the exertion. I needed the loud music playing in my headphones. I needed to focus on hearing my raspy breathing. I needed to run, to turn off my mind, to obliterate reality for a few moments. And I just wanted to run and run and run. And I resented the obligation of having to return to work without completely exhausting myself.
And I suddenly realized that for me, today, feeling like a “real” runner was not about shoes or speed or endurance. It was as simple as needing the run.
Be healthy, friends. Marji