The definition of a runner…
1A person that runs, especially in a specified way.
‘Mary was a fast runner’
1.1 A person who runs competitively as a sport or hobby.
‘a 400 metres runner’
The runners I admire the most are the one’s having fun, whom are comfortable with an array of distances and have the ability and grace to adjust pace if running with a companion. A few years back, I felt like I’d almost established this skill (to a degree) but like all good things, it requires consistency and dedication.
Have you ever noticed, that whenever you discuss running with a fellow female runner for the first time that they will start with ‘I’m very slow but…’?
I don’t know why we do this? It’s almost as if we have to state that we are slow because saying ‘I’m a pretty awesome runner’ is frowned upon. I suppose, maybe it’s along the same lines of not being able to take a compliment without turning it around and saying ‘Oh this old thing’.
I’m completely and utterly guilty of saying ‘I’m slow’ and I’m guilty of looking at other people’s ‘relaxed pace’ and comparing my relaxed pace, only to feel inadequate for no reason at all. Let me share something with you, every minute I’ve wasted looking at someone else’s pace and feeling negative about mine is a minute I won’t get back.
For some strange reason, I completely forgot that running is unique, just like us! It’s okay not to have a burning desire to run a marathon, it’s perfectly okay to run a 12-minute mile. It’s also fine not to want to attend races on a monthly basis, I know so many of you are addicted to the ‘bling’ but I find racing stressful and unenjoyable if my primary focus is a time related goal.
I remember when I first entered a 10km event 7 years ago, it took me 64 minutes and I crossed the line elated with the fact I’d completed the distance. I was beaming in every single photo, I was being overtaken left right and centre but I was delighted to be there. I was overjoyed to be running – Isn’t that what it’s all about?
When I’m honest with myself, the run’s I enjoy the most are the relaxed run’s. Or when I’m in good company or beautiful surroundings and when I really don’t care what’s being displayed on my Garmin. Late last year, I ran a seriously muddy, solo trail 10km and sent snapchat’s to my friends of my giggles every time I splashed through another puddle. I returned home with my trainers covered with mud, my cheeks rose red from the cold and my Garmin stated 60 minutes 4 seconds – What a wonderful 60 minutes of my life that was?
Sure, from time to time I do find satisfaction when I run a 8 something minute mile, after all, I’m only human. Reaching a new personal best, is uplifting and exciting, trust me when I say It took me over 3 years to break into a 30 minute 5km, I never dreamed of 25 minutes being possible.
I’ve got endless respect for those who train hard and reap the rewards of their dedication. I always have time for those who help others reach a goal and I’m in awe of people willing and able to run huge distances, just for the simple love of running.
After struggling to get my head into the motion of enjoying running again, I feel like I’m finally heading towards returning to the right kind of mindset. I have several obstacle races coming up and a half marathon in September, which I’m looking really forward to getting my teeth into. For me, even though I find it tough, running a double figure distance is hugely uplifting and exciting, I’m aiming to gradually build up to that distance again over the summer.
Pace and distance will not define you as a runner; unless you want it to and that’s perfectly acceptable. Some people have a burning desire to be a ‘marathon runner’ or a ‘sprinter’, I’m happy with plain ole ‘runner’.
How’s running going for you right now?