I had a long leisurely walk with a friend today - she recently began the couch to 5K program and she is in the same camp as me - the camp of the former 'un-naturals'.
We are the ones who swore we would never and could never be 'those' people. The ones who would get up early on saturdays just to sweat. The ones who would actually log miles with significant others. The ones who would exercise on vacations. (by the way, all the sentences I just wrote used to be partial joke punch-lines).
But running works on even the un-naturals... a transition begins to happen and you find you can surprise yourself. You make a liar out of your former cynic. Exercise becomes something you enjoy while you do it and something you miss when you step away for a few days (as opposed to the mid-evil torture routines you once viewed them as). And the small victories like "I just ran for 16 minutes without stopping" are celebrated just as much by you as they are by the wide and welcoming community of 'those' people.
On our long and leisurely walk, my friend said now that she is crossing over she is trying to figure out what kind of runner she will be. Will she sign up for races? Will she work on distances? Will she time her runs?... It got me thinking, what kind of runner am I?
I love running because it has room for so many kinds of runners. Neil and I signed up for a 10K (two days ago) that takes place this saturday. We'll meet up with about 8 friends there - all at different levels. This week I ran 1 mile, then 2 miles, and not the full 6.2 distance since November (whoops!). Yet I feel certain, that whenever and however we cross the finish-line will be a victory for all of us. I will feel quite proud actually, because in November I started a medication that re-set my running back to the beginning.
My goal when starting was to have it improve my health (a long term and hardly tangible goal) - but it was also to spend quality time with my husband. Soon, I began tacking on other things like enjoying the outdoors and feeling I can accomplish what I set ahead of myself.
Maybe I'll keep re-defining what kind of runner I am - I will begin to hope and train for new PRs and I will begin to aim for what I call "stupidly long" distances (I'm talking to you marathoners). I have been so inspired by reading the paths that other runners have taken. Blogs like this, this, and this make me want to do more... yet I will continue to love running because it will still have room for me to go for a jog with Neil - no watch, no mapped route - just for the fun of it.
I'm taking quite the round about way to answer, "What kind of runner am I?"
I think its because I've discovered something quite nice about running- I never have to pin myself down and answer that question.
I'm the kind of runner that will just keep on running.