6'0 tall, former athlete, mother of 3, struggling to keep up on the RUN of daily life.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What makes a Real Runner?

Is this Blog still on?? Just curious.. I have been feeling the crickets lately, possibly because I am the WORST at commenting in reply... I was looking through the Questions on my Activebands Giveaway.. Loads of questions about Nutrition and Mental Toughness, so look for posts on those topics soon... What caught my eye today was...
Janna said...

My question is answered by your opinion of what makes a real runner?! Someone who can run 5 miles without stopping? Someone who runs daily? Or who has run for years? Or is a real runner someone who loves the sport? I struggle calling myself a runner because I just started six months ago and have been doing the 5:1 ratio. Although I have run a few 5k's and 2 half marathons. My friend and I joke that you aren't a real runner until you have lost a toenail!

Meriam Webster Definition of "Runner" are actually pretty funny..

Definition of RUNNER

1 a : one that runs : racer
: base runner

: ballcarrier

2 a : messenger
: one that smuggles or distributes illicit or contraband goods (as drugs, liquor, or guns)

3: any of several large vigorous carangid fishes

4 a : either of the longitudinal pieces on which a sled or sleigh slides
: the part of a skate that slides on the ice : blade

: the support of a drawer or a sliding door

5 a : an elongated horizontal stem arising from the base of a pla nt; especially : stolon 1a
b : a plant (as a strawberry) that forms or spreads by means of runners
c : a twining vine (as a scarlet runner bean)

6 a : a long narrow carpet for a hall or staircase
: a narrow decorative cloth cover for a table or dresser top

7: an adjustable backstay running from mast to rail on a sail boa t or ship

8: a running shot in basketball

The Definition that fits is ONE THAT RUNS.

You are a Runner if you RUN...

Does not say if you run Fast.

Does not say if you run for x amount of miles.

Does not say if you have been running for x amount of years.

Does not say if you run x amount of days per week.

You are a Runner if you RUN!!!

I struggled with feeling like I didn't belong with the other "Runners" when I first started running. I had to stop a lot, Running the entire time during my first 5K was TOUGH.. But never did I question that I was a "Runner" I was out there pounding the pavement.
Today I am blessed to have a little speed, some motivation and time to get in some decent miles. I am the same "Runner" I was in 2008, I just Run Different. Having to walk during a race does not change the fact that you are a Runner. I did the 5:1 ratio with my Big Sister during See Jane Run Half Marathon... I have never been in that Pace group during a Race.
And you know what I saw?? RUNNERS!!! We were all out there putting once foot in front of the other moving toward the same Finish line. We all have struggles and triumphs. We come in all shapes, sizes and paces. We bounce, we get aches and pains...maybe we lose toenails, maybe we don't, but we are Runners. I love this Magnet so much I have it on my fridge..

I repeat... YOU ARE A RUNNER IF YOU RUN!! That is my opinion and I am sticking to it..

  • When did you realize that you were a Runner?


Christy Ashley said...

I love this! I think so many of us end up having an "Oh...I'm a runner" moment without actually realizing that the day we decided to lace up and make running our #1 hobby was the day we became runners =)

Unknown said...

Thanks for this post. As someone who is new to the whole running thing, and I do mean new, it's glad to see something like this. I know there are other bloggers out there who have greater expectations on what it takes to be a runner. I like your definition and it puts a smile on my face! All I want is to be a runner and I've been working my way to get there. Maybe I already am. Even though I can't run far yet, or fast yet, or as much as a lot of others yet I still put one foot in front of the others and give it my best. I'm hoping to do my first 5k in October!

X-Country2 said...

I was just thinking about this question this weekend. I had a day to myself, and all I wanted to do was run. I couldn't wait to go as soon as I dropped off the kids. I ran 3x in the 18 hours I had to myself, and I loved every single step of it.

When people ask me what I'd do on my perfect day, it would start and end with a run, not questions asked.

Cori @ Read.Write.Run.Mom said...

Love it!

(and I've been feeling the crickets over on my blog too! I'm hoping it's just everyone trying to make the most of summer and that they'll be back when the air starts to cool)

Cori @ Read.Write.Run.Mom.


I think you are a runner the second you commit to being a runner. It's a mindset, not dictated by pace, distance or anything else.

Michelle said...

The first day, 6 years ago and 40+ pounds when I laced up some crappy shoes and decided to "run" around my block. My life changed for the better that day and I've NEVER looked back.
When I ran with my dad for the first time.
When I completed my first half marathon.
Everytime a run a marathon.
Qualifying for Boston.
I think I feel that feeling each day when I step out the door. I know I'm a runner.
Off to Spokane to SandPoint relay with my "runner" girlfriends! :)

kimert said...

When I quit caring what other runners thought about me, whether the elite or the slowest of slow considered me a runner. I get dressed, lace up and just go... fast or slow.

Tricia said...

love Tonia's answer, cant say it better myself.


wait for it

our countdown...

see you in 14 days. :)

Carla said...

Bart Yasso says it well:

"I often hear people say 'I’m not a real runner.' We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I've never met a fake runner." —RW's Chief Running Officer, Bart Yasso

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

I think I have just always known that I am a runner!

Lindsay said...

Well, I have yet to lose a toenail, and honestly it kind of freaks me out. I'm proud of the fact that my feet are ugly but not horrifying.

I realized I was a runner when I started running not just because I needed to exercise but because I needed to run for my mental well being and because I like(d) it.

However, on my lazy days now, I think I'm just going to carry a ball around. Thanks, Webster! :)

Unknown said...

I struggle with this a lot. Especially when people ask me about running. I feel like I need to set expectations...like yea I run, but I am slow, I don't do much. I think for me its becuase it is a sport that I actually have to work at.

Marlene said...

Good question... I'm not sure when I realized I should call myself a runner. Probably right around the time I started liking it. heh

Anonymous said...

I used to struggle with that a lot when first started running too. I thought that this would go away after I ran my first half marathon but it didn't...so somewhere between that and my second half marathon and now with training for my first FULL marathon, I have realizes that YES, I AM a runner! I think I have struggled with this because I feel like non runners perceive "runners" as super skinny, and I felt like people would call me a liar if I told them I'm a runner when I don't look like what a runner is apparently supposed to look like...weird, I know.

Stacy said...

I read that someone said you weren't a runner unless you raced. Well, I've been running over a year and have yet to race, but I am a runner. I want to race, and I will race, but until then, I run. :)

fancy nancy said...

I thought of myself as a runner when I stopped running to get ready for a sport and starting running as my sport! I mentally thought I had really arrived when I broke 2 hours in my half! Love the sticker...you're right you just have to go!

Anonymous said...

I think you're a runner when you're in for the long haul.

I used to think it was the moment when you ran even though you didn't want to. It was when you pulled yourself out of bed at 5am to get a run in according to your training plan. Or it was when you ran through the pain and gritted your teeth. I used to think you had to earn that Runner title with blood, sweat, vomit and tears.

But then I realized that some people just run to ENJOY life. They dont have to sweat bullets, push away the pain, or get a PR to be a runner. In fact, they may stop at the first sign of pain because they want to ensure a long running career!

Its not about going out with a flash and bang, but setting yourself up for a slow burn.

One person might follow a 16-week plan, run a 3:30 marathon and then never run again. But another person may run daily for 50 years but has never run further that 3 miles at at time or broken a 9:00 pace.
Who is the RUNNER?
I think its the one who has made it a lifestyle.
The first person ran at one point, the second IS a runner.

Unknown said...

I think this is a great post Mel. I completely agree on your definition. Although, it could be fun to start smuggling... Come on, there's a few of us Canadians in the blogosphere, and lots of you Americans. We should be able to work something out? ;)

I don't remember when I actually started referring to myself as a runner, but I did have a moment recently when I realized I had no qualms about it. I saw an ad looking for runners to test a fitness product, which I responded to. I had a really cool moment later when I realized I had done so without hesitation. I hadn't stopped to question whether I was a "runner", or whether I was fast enough. I just saw they were looking for runners, and I thought, cool, I can do that.

Canuck Mom said...

Love this post and it is so very true!! I like the old saying Forward is a Pace. I think if you are out there running then you are doing something, no matter what!! Running has no prejudice!!

Tricia said...

I called myself a runner when I completed my first Half Marathon and knew I was hooked and would be doing this for the rest of my life.

Anonymous said...

This is a great post! I have been thinking about this for awhile now. I still don't really think of myself as a "runner". I'm just trying to get back into it after taking a 3 month break from running. I think the more I stick to it though, the more I consider myself a "real" runner. But hey, at least I'm getting out there right?!

Lisa J said...

what a great question and post. When I started back up on running, I used to joke and say that i wasn't a real runner till I start running in glasses and a hat (both of which i still don't do)

I think the answer is our own attitude. Till you get to that point where you are comfortable and confident in your own ability- thats when you arrived.

Running Librarian said...

I love the foward is a pace..that will be my pace lol. I too say that as soon as your toenail turns black you are officially a runner! Seriously as soon as your foot leaves the ground you are running and a runner :) No matter how fast or slow that happens :) I sometimes have a hard time when people call me a runner since I have ran a few half marathons..I usually qualify it with "yeah but I am not that fast"..I am trying to stop myself and just say "yes I am a runner". :) Great post!

teacherwoman said...

When I first starting running, I didn't consider myself a runner. I felt that I was walking too much or running too slow to be a runner. I think the fact that I was getting out there and doing it, considered me a runner. It probably took me a couple years tho.

Jennifer said...

Your definition of a "runner" is inspirational for me. Two years ago I considered myself a runner, I was running 10 miles a week while my husband was deployed to Saudi Arabia. But when he returned my running stopped, all my free time went to spending time with him again. I have struggled since to get back into a regular running routine. We just relocated to Japan and I found your blog and running again.

So to answer your question.... today, reading your blog, I realized I am a runner! (no matter the distance or pace) I AM A RUNNER!!!!
Thank you!!!

Carrie said...

I struggle with this, too, and I've been running for 25 years!! LOL. But I still show up to races, look around, and feel woefully out of place, thinking that everyone (everyone) looks fitter and faster than me. However, I have been feeling more of "real" runner lately b/c I've been so constant in my running. So maybe the next race I'll show up feeling a little more like I fit in. Maybe.... :-)

Jerilee E. said...

Ok, you convinced me to stop being a blog stalker... for the time being :).
I have only been running for a year, so I don't always feel like a "real runner".
Horribly enough, I first started identifying as a runner when I got faster than a lot of the ladies I run with- ah, my competitive nature.

Anonymous said...

I found out that I was a runner when I completed my first 3.7 miler. It was a challenge but just to be able to say yes! I completed a little bit more than a 5K was what was my turning point.

TriGirl said...

Yeah we're all so hard on ourselves and I think it's impossible to not compare to the 'real runners'...like you and all the fabulous women I met at the RnR. Other people who don't run call me a runner. I *am* a runner but for some reason don't always feel good enough to call myself that a lot of the time. Maybe that's at the root of it. But, it's so simple like you said: if you run, you're a runner.

Amy said...

I definitely have a hard time with this, but had a good reminder recently: I was encouraging a friend to try running to lose baby weight that she wants ti shed. She said she wasn't a runner. My response? Neither was I until I started running!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this! I am totally not about the speed. I just run to run.. I can't stand when someone says, "Oh, you run half marathons.. you must be fast!" I realized I was a runner when I decided to run my second half marathon. I guess the word "second" made it sound more real to me.

Rebecca said...

I think I am a runner most days. Of all the things I have to do everyday, "runner" sounds better than "diaper changer" or "butt wiper"

(although I may be more proficient at the latter two)

Redhead Running said...

I never questioned if I was runner, I just ran. But now, not having run in 5+ months I struggle with that thought, am I still a runner?

Great post and I hope it puts things in to perspective for a lot of people out there that don't realize that it doesn't matter or fast or far they go, as long as they're out there doing it, they ARE runners.

Sara said...

This reminds me of a quote that a friend shared with me after saying that I wasn't a "real runner".

"I often hear someone say I'm not a real runner.We are all runners, some just run faster than others.I never met a fake runner." Bart Yasso

So, because I don't run 10 minute miles and I can't keep up with a group of runners, I have to run by myself. And I'm okay with that. Kinda. I'd like to have someone to run with, but I don't know of anyone who is at my level right now. I'm sure I could find MANY people out there who are in the process of completing C25K week 5 right now, but I'm sure our paces are very different. And I wouldn't want to hold anyone up in their training. So I tell people, "Once I'm a real runner, I'll find a running group to run with." Well, shoot, I could complete the C25K program and still not be the same pace as a running group. It's frustrating. Which is why It's hard for me to say I'm a runner. I'm out there running, but I'm not running the whole thing. I'm walking most of it and running in spurts.

I still don't really consider myself a runner, because I'm still learning. But who knows.

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

Great post Mel! I especially love the phrase at the end. so true!

I too struggle with calling myself a runner in the serious sense b/c I don't think I look like the stereotype. but one foot in front of the other means you are a runner!

Kerrie said...

Well this is just a fabulous post, my friend! Well said!

Brenda said...

I have always wanted to be a runner all my life.I started running a year ago at the age of 50.Reading your post made me realize I am a runner:)

Anonymous said...

I am going to bookmark this post and all the comments for when I need a good pick-me-up! I had no idea that other people out there who are running struggle with this! Why is it such a big deal to give myself that label?! Of course I'm a runner! I go out there. I run (even if it's a 5:1!). What else should I call myself?
Thanks for answering my question!

I also just realized that although I'm not the best parent in the world, I'm still a parent. I make mistakes and learn from them and that doesn't make me less of a mom. Same goes with running!

Marissa said...

I think THIS post made me realize I am a RUNNER! Woohoo! Sometimes I feel less than a runner, because of my mileage or lack there of, my pace...all of it. But you know what? I get out there and RUN, and I guess that's what makes me a runner today and every day!!! Thanks for posting :)

Casey said...

When I finished a run and couldn't wait til the next one. That's when I was a "runner". :D

Nicole W. said...

Great post Mel! This gave me some stuff to reflect on bi think I was a runner long before I called myself one. Sometimes I still feel weird calling myself a runner, but I better be bc I ran a marathon!lol so if I'm not a runner yet I don't when I'll ever be! Ha ha. Thanks for the great post!

Joy Blaylock said...

Amen. I am a runner because I get out there and put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes that is for long distances, sometimes short. Doesn't matter. It is in my blood to MOVE and I love it. Thanks for sharing your passion with us!