Am I Runner?
The other day while I was in the pool swimming laps, I was thinking about my one and only sprint triathlon from September 2012. It was SHORT. I swam 250 yards, I biked 7 miles, then I finished off with a 2 mile run. So, yep, I did a triathlon. But does that make me a triathlete? I think the jury is still out on that one... especially since I haven't gone for a bike ride in years...
Thankfully, I think it's simpler in running. The basic definition of a runner is "one who runs." So if you run, you are a runner. It's so easy to compare ourselves to people faster than us or who run more races than us and then conclude that we aren't actually runners.
When I completed the RRCA coach certification course, I was afraid that I wouldn't fit in. I hadn't competed in a race in a couple of years and had never competed seriously. But, to my delight, I was SO impressed with how diverse the group was. Of course, there was the 15 minute 5K guy and the Boston qualifying marathoners. But there were also the super slow ultra distance racers (who always finished near the back of the back) and the woman who ran just to run (and hated to race!).
The lifestyle of the people was just as diverse as their running interests, from vegan, homeschool moms to yoga instructors. And everyone had a different body build, from tall & slender to short & stocky. It was a diverse group of people with wildly different interests... and one common thread: running.
As we developed a training plan to help someone qualify for Boston, my team valued my experience... even though I had never run a marathon. My team was grateful to hear about my experiences (especially with time based training!) and they were really interested in the work I am doing creating music for runners.
How we view ourselves, influences how well we perform. I challenge you to embrace your identity as runner. If you run, that's who you are. And embrace the growth mindset. You don't have to be good to be a runner, you just have to run. So instead of focusing on being good (and letting that define whether or not you are are a runner!), focus on becoming better.
Thomas is a great example of this. When we first started running together, it was hard for him. Prior to running with me, he found pacing especially difficult for him and his knees always hurt. But with a bit of form instruction and pacing guidance from me, he now embraces it and we enjoy running the path around Lake Estes together and exploring the other paths in town. Just today, he remarked at breakfast how surprising it is how easy it can be to go so far. He didn't know. He could have said, I'm not a runner. I can't do that. But, instead, he gave it a shot and now I am grateful for a wonderful training partner.
Are you a runner?