Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Am I A Runner?

This is a question I rarely ask myself, because the answer is simple. No. When people refer to me as a runner I always deny it. My friend Leandra often refers to me as her friend Kim "the runner." Every time she uses "the runner" label to differentiate me from another friend I always say, what are you talking about Leandra? I'm not a runner.

Funny, Rebecca (my running partner) doesn't consider herself a runner either. When people ask us if we are "runners" we say we run together and yeah, we run some races, but we aren't "runners". After all, look at me. If you saw me on the street you would never think of me as a runner. I don't go through running shoes every other month, I don't wear shorts that are high cut and flap in the wind or are tight. For goodness sake, I chafe in places where I know "runners" do not chafe.

To me, running is simply a recreation, time when Rebecca and I can be together and chat about all that is going on in our lives. We have actually saved specific topics for a run and read books specifically for our long runs. Knowing that it is our conversation that gets us through to the finish line we look forward to seeing each other every day. Often after we have run 10 miles and talked in the parking lot for 20 minutes I have to call her to tell her something I forgot to mention. We aren't runners......

I am currently reading the Runner's World "The Runner's Diet" by Madelyn H Fernstrom (which I will review when I am done reading). In her book Madelyn says "No matter whether you run 1 or 6 miles a day, you're a runner (p13)." She also paraphrases Descartes to "Offer an important guideline for all of us: 'I run; therefore I am a runner' (pXIV)." By this standard I guess Rebecca and I should consider ourselves runners.

My friend Leandra has made it a personal goal to convince me that I am a runner. She is constantly catching me off guard asking me questions when I least expect it. While golfing one day she asked me if I was wearing my running shoes (I just wear sneakers to golf in), I promptly said no, I only wear my running shoes when when I am running never any other time. "Oh she said, then you are a runner."

Then at soccer practice she asked me if I knew the time, when I told her she said, oh is that your heart rate monitor. Yes I said, it is. She replied, if you have a heart rate monitor then "you must be a runner."

Do you have a running partner? Yes, you know Rebecca is my running partner. "Oh, then you must be a runner."

I think you get the picture......

Sometimes I think this misconception that I am NOT a runner is a result of geography. After all, look where I live. When I tell people I ran a 1/2 marathon they say "Great, do you want to join me in the .... Marathon?" It seems like everyone around me is competing in IronMan, Marathon, Ultra Marathon etc. I only run a half marathons, but maybe just maybe instead of comparing myself to people that I will never compete with I should compare myself to where I came from.

I didn't even start running until I was 23 and in Graduate School. A long distance race for me as a 5K. I run farther than that on a daily basis now, and I still love running. I have run the Steamboat Half Marathon 5 times (4 times in a row) and I have even run 2 half marathons in the same season a few times. Now that is amazing when I look back on it.

OK Leandra, I guess you are right. Rebecca and I are runners! Instead of denying it when people ask we should hold our heads high and say

"Yes, as a matter of fact WE ARE runners!"

- Thank you friend

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Kris said...

Hey Kim! I found your blog via Lee's fb page. I loved reading this! I remember having margs with you after golf and asking you about running. You totally inspired me. I am 42 and on my last week of Couch to 5k-- just 2 more runs to go to graduate. 3 miles is a long run to me, but maybe I'll work up to 10k... I AM 42 after all. But anyway I thought I'd pop in and say thanks for encouraging me to become a runner. I'll look for your reviews on the books.

Kimberly Taylor said...

WOW Kris! That is so exciting! Congratulations, and to know that I was part of your inspiration that is quite an honor. I can't wait to hear your race report. I guess I will see you on the trail AND the golf course! Have a great race.