For a long time since I started running, I did not consider myself “a runner.”
To be a “runner” was to be one of a rare breed of elusive gazelle hoping gracefully around the world.
No, but in all seriousness, I thought my running didn’t count. Sure, I ran. Sure, I did races. But I wasn’t super fast. I wasn’t one of those kids who grew up doing track and cross country and knowing enough running terms to fill a dictionary. Funny thing is, when I tell people I’ve only been running 1.5 years, they’re surprised. Most people say they assumed I’d been running since high school.
I was just a girl who had discovered running and was passionate about it. I was just a girl who tried midfoot striking and realized that it worked for her. I was just a girl who realized she could run 1 mile so she ran another.
And that is enough.
There’s a simple test for whether or not you’re a runner. Ready for this?
Do you run? Yes? You’re a runner.
It doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow. If you know what a fartlek is. If you have black toenails. If you run 10 miles a week or 80.
When did we make the identity of a runner based on performance? What happened to celebrating the joy of running? If you’re passionate about running, you’re a runner. Of course, that assumes that if you’re passionate about running, you’re actually going to run. Talking about running, thinking about running, dreaming about running, on it’s own, doesn’t count – although runners do have a tendency to do all of that too. If we’re not running, please, PLEASE, ask us about running. And then patiently listen as we talk your ear off. And then go out for a run. And then come back wanting to talk about how that run went.