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Am I a runner?

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One of the biggest surprises about reading Runner’s World magazine was realizing they don’t discriminate between marathoners and us lowly 5Kers. I mean, it does seem like they really do want me to amp that up to a 10K, but each and every issue has information geared towards both experienced runners and less-serious-but-still-into-it newbs like me. Of course, I also adore their monthly feature from “newbie” runner Marc Parent, though I think he may have graduated, given his last piece on running 9 miles.

Kelly says I’m a runner because I run. She has shared inspirational quotes as evidence, like this one:

If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run. – John Bingham

But then I read things from other runner/bloggers who write things like, “2 mile warm-up,” and I don’t know if I buy it. A 2-mile warm-up? That’s my workout! I usually do a 1.5ish mile walk with my dog as my “warm-up.” I’d run with him, but he’s unruly and a bit of a spaz.

Am I a real runner?

This is me, running.
This is me, running.

When Kelly and I ran Wildwood together in the beginning of the month I confessed that I’m not really interested in moving past the 5K mark at this point, even if I can now do a 5K on a cold, dark January evening in shorts.

Contrary to Kelly, I really like 5Ks. They are attainable, races are less expensive (though we get slightly less dope swag sometimes) and there is always food afterwards! Also, I know I’m not going to psych myself out of it anymore. I can do this!

I even ran on Thanksgiving Day!
I even ran on Thanksgiving Day!

It does seem that past habits dictate present preferences. For instance, my cross country background prepared me for long (slower) distances, but I prefer a trail or a loop. Please don’t make me repeat miles. Meanwhile, I have two girlfriends who were sprinters in high school and admitted that they don’t know how to transition that into running for exercise today, so they don’t run. One told me, “I would look pretty funny sprinting up and down the street.”

For me, time is also an issue. I am not currently able – or willing – to dedicate a portion of my life to a training program, which is what I think it would require to prepare me for a 10K or higher race, some ultimate goal.

My first Harrisburg Mile - it was brutal.
My first Harrisburg Mile – it was brutal.

I also must admit while I crave a good run, I am not hardcore enough to brave wind, ice and snow. And I’m not wild about the treadmill, so I’m looking elsewhere for my winter cardio. But I do get out when I can – and I’ll continue to. Plus, I really like to talk and read about running. Another Runner’s World surprise: Who knew stories about running a mountain in bad weather or the origin of a neighborhood Turkey Trot could be so intriguing?

Overall, for now, my slower, shorter distances are still making me happy, getting me out (weather permitting) and keeping me inspired for a season of fun races.

Here’s what I’m planning for the year:

  1. Shamrock Showdown 5K – March 17 – Mechanicsburg, Pa.
  2. Race, Run, Ride & Ramble – April 22 – Shippensburg, Pa.
  3. Rusty Rudder 5K – July 1 – or The Ivy 5K – July 8 – Dewey Beach, DE
  4. Bird-in-Hand 5K – September 1 – Bird-in-Hand, Pa.
  5. Great Pumpkin Chase 5K – October ? – Harrisburg, Pa.
  6. Frosty’s 5K (will we go again? Hope so!) – December 6 – Virginia Beach, Va.

Are you a runner? What’s on your race schedule for 2012?

Sara Bozich
Author: Sara Bozich

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