Today's Miles: 3.5 miles at an easy pace & still recovering from Tuesday's super track workout.
I’ve repeatedly said stuff like I’m not “A Runner” or “A Real Runner.”
Do I run? Yep.
What makes one A Runner? Not sure. I just don’t think I’m there yet.
I read an article once on this very topic. One guy said “An entry form” – meaning real runners race. I’ve been in races, but I still don’t feel like A Runner. Another said “When you can’t live without it” – I think I’m there too, but I still don’t feel like A Runner. There were all kinds of answers, but no solutions.
A Runner typically looks like A Runner, right? Thin, muscular, without much extra anything hanging on them. Svelte. Moves like a gazelle.
I, however, still have a lot of ‘extra’ on me. Svelte? Gazelle-like? HA! My running form is somewhere between a drunk man stumbling through the woods and a rhino on a stampede. Maybe a drunken rhino in a stumbling stampede through the woods is a better description. I am NOT graceful. I do NOT run with ease. I am NOT one of those people that run with a smile on their face. And when I run, I still have plenty of jiggly things. The other day I was running down the road, and I kept hearing this farting noise. I kept asking myself “Is that me?? Surely I’d know if I had gas?” I also didn’t think that those deer I scared up in the field were the cause of the mysterious farts. It took a mile but I finally figured it out. I was wearing a tank top from last year….about 30 lbs and a cup-and-a-half ago. This caused a larger than normal arm hole…..which resulted in my jiggly arm flab slapping my underarm….and farting….and me nearly tripping over my own feet laughing out loud. I never could do that armpit-fart noise as a kid but I have a new-found talent as an adult!
So maybe not looking like A Runner makes me feel like I’m not really A Runner?
I’ve got the obsession of A Runner. Anywhere I travel, I’m constantly trying to figure out where and when I’ll get to run. Is it going to be on a steady-tready in the hotel or are there trails nearby? Is it a safe neighborhood to run in? Wonder if they have leash laws? Is there a track? I was actually jealous of people that were out running on greenways in Canmore, Alberta. I wasn’t out there because at 5000’+, I just don’t have the lung capacity and I had too much vacation to do! But I SO wanted to go out and run those greenways that passed through the forests and by railroad tracks and run by some elk grazing in a field.
I’ve got the need of A Runner. If I go for a few days without lacing up, I get edgy. If I’m stressed out and can’t focus, a good quick run clears my head. Sometimes my need to run is not as strong as my need to rest. Sometimes my work days last so long that at the end there’s no way a run will happen (even with a serial killer chasing me). And those days really make me feel guilty!
I’ve also got the obsession of wanting to FEEL like A Real Runner down pat. So, why don’t I?
I think part of it is because over this last 1.5 years of making running my obsession, I would mention in passing to other people “I’m going for a run” or “I need to schedule this so I can get my long training run in” or whatever is was that made me mention the fact that I run. And I would get.....The Look………..the look you would give someone if they sneezed and farted at the same time and an elephant’s trunk plopped out of their face and a monkey’s tail out of their butt…
Yes, that face you are making right now with that little sound you just made is exactly what I got, but maybe somewhat tempered so that they didn’t insult me. To my face. Too much anyway. Shock, Disbelief, Amazement, A weird curiosity. Soon after, I stopped mentioning to people that I run. I guess I felt them wondering if I was making it all up because I certainly do not… look… like… A… Runner.
Really though, when I think about it, it kind-of pisses me off too! At my recent 5K I was powering up a very steep hill, and I passed this rather large man (okay...he was very large) jogging up the hill. Who cares if he was going slower than a tortoise on hot coals? The man was JOGGING UP A STEEP HILL! As I passed him, I said “Looking good! You’re almost to the top!” I don’t know if it gave him any encouragement, but it sure did encourage me to see someone that was in worse physical shape than me tackle that hill like his life depended on it!
When Mark & I were in Canmore (the apparent biking capital of the world), a rather heavy-set lady was pedaling for all she was worth down a greenway. And I made a comment, “She doesn’t look like your typical biker. But Good for Her!”
Oddly enough, I think my issue with not feeling like A Real Runner actually goes back to 6th grade. In the 6th grade at Carter Middle School, I was so stoked to be on the cheerleading squad. That year for our group picture, I was put on the front row in some kind of kneeling position. And I clearly remember Heather Whats-Her-Name laughing in my face and saying “Why did they put your fat ass on the front row? You don’t look like a cheerleader!” And so it began. A lifetime of self doubt; of body image shame; of wondering – do I look the part?
Thanks Heather! Couldn’t have had such a screwed up self-image without ‘cha!
But let me ask this Ms. Heifer…as I remember you were actually heavier than me? Why pick on me? Why make me feel fat and ugly? Did it make you feel better? I sure hope so.
I know I’m not perfect. I’m certain I have made someone else feel bad about themselves in some veiled attempt at making myself feel better…..and for that, I am truly sorry.
For the record – I’m not running the hillier-than-hell 8K this Saturday. I’m chickening out. I’m using the excuse of I can’t handle running in that kind of heat. So, there again, A Real Runner wouldn’t chicken out…they’d tackle it head on.