Am I am a runner? Some days I wonder.

I do enjoy running, well not usually the first mile but I do enjoy running when things fall into place and I find my “groove” with breathing and tempo. The thing is…its not guaranteed to happen for every run. Some runs just totally stink. Some runs just are not going to happen if I am injured or Life interferes. I get that being a runner challenges who you are, but what if I am not that person for whom running is the be all and end all?

I see all the posts on Pinterest and Facebook–you know the ones; you know you’re a runner if… XYZ. Well unfortunately most do not apply to me so I must not be a runner. I am not interested in toughing it out when I am injured. I see other people who run when injured or who lament that their doctor has advised them against running but they choose to run anyway. I am not judging their decision,I’m just not that dedicated to running I guess.

I enjoy rest days from running. For me they are a chance to do other active things like hiking and cycling. Being active is more important to me than being a Runner. Its more about feeling alive and happy than just focusing on running.

active2

I started running again last October (2013) and have run pretty consistently for the last year except when injured. I do have to admit I have had more injuries since I started running than I ever had with walking, hiking or biking. Running is hard on your body but it also has good benefits as well. My knees felt much better after I started running contrary to the thought that it would damage them. My injuries were minor compared to other runners but to me they were enough to make me notice and give my body a chance to recover and heal before pushing past the pain.

So why do I run if I don’t consider myself a real runner?

fit19

Its hard to describe exactly but I’ll do my best. While I enjoy the movements of hiking and fast paced walking there is something about how your feet and legs find a rhythm with your breathing and there is just this feeling of peace and coming into a different place in your mind. It doesn’t really eliminate the effort and intensity of running but you find that it is no longer the chore of exercising but the freedom of movement that encourages you to go just a little bit farther. There is also a camaraderie  among runners that I have felt no where else. There is encouragement for newbies. Seasoned runners and newbies alike can share their success and failures and others are there to be supportive.  As a community we mourn those fallen runners who made a difference both virtually and personally. I think this sense of community has kept running as a large component of my being active.

First there were 2...

First there were 2…

And then there were 3....

And then there were 3….

and now there are 4

and now there are 4

 

 

I started running last year with several other ladies and despite knowing one runner only from a Facebook running group we fell into a weekly run and it became the highlight of my week. Some days were great, others really were hard but knowing someone was meeting me got my butt out of the house and running our 3-5+ miles together. Sweating out your concerns with someone builds something that is hard to replicate anywhere else. Life has interfered and we’ve fallen out of our weekly runs but I am hoping it resumes after the winter because it was such an important part of my week.

I also have no desire to race. I don’t generally enjoy crowds so I could never imagine myself being in a huge group trying to run. I am not very competitive and I am okay with not being fast or winning a prize for my efforts. I do however participate in “virtual” races to help support other runners with fundraising efforts for charities. These do keep me make sure I am running more than less as I get to run when and where I choose and get a “finishers” medal for participating. These also provide a chance for me to compete with myself and see improvements in my efforts.

I am okay with not being a “100% runner”. By choosing to be active in many ways I have reduced my injuries and I find myself looking forward to being active. I love being outside and so long as I can get my heart rate up and work up a sweat I am happy. I also do not have an issue with using my treadmill which many runners call a “dreadmill”. For me it is a training tool and allows me to keep fit despite the weather. I would much rather be outside but…better something than nothing at all.

 

545599_300055046749821_117498695005458_669611_527481256_n

 

So in hindsight maybe I am a runner….  I may not run fast. I may not run far but as the saying goes “if you run you are a runner”.

 

breath

All images except for the photos of my running friends were found on Google images, my thanks to their creators.

Advertisements