Runner’s Corner: Identity Crisis – How Do I Know I Am Still a Runner?

“I am taking a break from marathoning,” I told my husband a little over a month ago. 

 
“Really?” he said, incredulous. “Are you sure?”
 
“Oh yeah. I think I need a break. I’m just going to work on my short runs, run a few 5Ks and get my groove back again,” I said.
 
You see, for several months, I have been a mentor with Team in Training. It was a wonderful experience, especially when you see new runners realize they can run a marathon, and you witness the sense of accomplishment that comes when they cross that finish line. But, if you have been following my running posts at all, you know I have an on-again, off-again relationship with running.
 
A few weeks ago, over enchiladas at Joe T’s, I met a lady from Louisiana. After bonding over all of the usual why-we-love-NOLA things, somehow we got on the topic of running.
 
“Are you a runner?” she asked. 
 
Now, looking at her, I assumed she was a runner because she has far more of the stereotypical runner’s body than I do. In fact, my body doesn’t resemble a runner’s body at all. It’s just that when you see my body running, you have to admit that I am in fact running, and this is my body. 
 
I guessed she was a runner, and so I was ashamed to admit that at that moment, I hadn’t run in almost two months. I paused, then started to say no.
 
“Yes. Yes she is,” my husband interrupted. “She just ran a half marathon in November.”
 
“Oh, yes you definitely are a runner!” she agreed. “I can’t run a mile to save my life.”
 
But I wasn’t so sure any more. Once the TNT season ended, so did my running motivation. If I was going to keep running, I needed a goal.
 
When I told my husband I signed up for El Scorcho again, a 25/50K midnight race that happens every July in the hottest part of Fort Worth summer, he just shook his head. Soon, I convinced my uncle–who ran the 180-mile Grand Teton Relay with me last summer–to sign up to run the Big Sur Half Marathon in Monterey Bay this November.

And today I started the Bad to the Bone Virtual 50K that an acquaintance of mine created as a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Everyone who runs 31.1 miles in the month of May gets a medal and t-shirt with this awesome design:
 
 
You can still sign up through May 3 here:  
 
A couple of days ago, an envelope arrived containing my Big Sur Half Marathon training shirt. I excitedly opened the package and held the shirt up for my husband to see.
 
“Not running any more half marathons?” he asked. “I better not hear you tell anyone you aren’t a runner.”

3 thoughts on “Runner’s Corner: Identity Crisis – How Do I Know I Am Still a Runner?”

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