I don't know how many times I have repeated that statement.
I guess we all have our own visions or expectations of what statements like that mean.
What does it mean to be "A Runner", "A Baker", "A Doctor" ?
They each how there own set of criterium. Does one have to classically be trained to be a Chef? I don't think so. Does one have to be educated and trained to be a Doctor? I sure hope so. So how does one become a runner??
As kids we are all runners. I don't know one child that does run to some degree. So are all kids runners or are all adults former runners or is there a runner inside of each of us. All we have to do is increase the number of strides we take as compared to walking and there you have it....we are running.
As a younger man and child, I was not a fan of running. I did it. I did it often. But I did it because it was required of the sport I was playing at the time. It would be tough to play baseball if after I hit the ball I walked to first base. Not quite sure I ever saw a rugby player walk down the pitch with the ball in hand as 15 opponents ran after him /her to make a hit. I certainly would not have been a good defender in Football if I walked after the running back to tackle them. So running was required. Did that make me a runner?
I used to have to wear special plates in my shoes otherwise my feet and legs would ache. I recall my podiatrist telling me....."You'll never be a runner" as I sat there with needles in my feet. Then about 3 years ago while at the Expo of the NYC Marathon, I was like....."Wow, this is out of control. I want to experience this." People of all walks of life joining together to do one common event. Run and run together. They were short and tall, black and white, slender and portly, old and young. They each had their own story and tale of what it took for them to get to the starting line and why. Fascinating
I was soo proud of my ex fiancee as she crossed the finish line just at 3 hours and she was a little bummed she didn't break it as she was expecting. Huh??? Phenominal, I thought to myself. Afterwards we promised each other that we would do marathons all over the country and world together as a way to travel and see and experience it all. I joked that she could cross the line, go get a few beers and some food and then come back to the finish line and have it all ready for me by the time I reached the tape. It wasn't about time for me. It was about the experience.
Well, Jen and I never got to travel the world together but that didn't stop me from wanting to be a part of this universal thing called running. One day I woke up one morning in late October and thought...."Why not?" Although she is no longer in my life, why can't I have that feeling of being part of something that less than 1% of the population ever does. I signed up for Arizona Full Marathon 10 weeks later in January. I had no clue what I was getting myself into or where this path would lead me.
Since that Arizona race 2.5 years later I have completed 3 marathons, 8 1/2 marathons and a few 10ks thrown in there. I have special shoes I wear when running on the road compared to trails. I use a specific watch to take note of my pace and distance and download all of this information. I have created music playlists of certain lengths depending on how long my race or training run is going to be. I have a ton of skin lube laying around and "running" shorts and socks that have an L or R sewn on them so I know which foot it was made for to get the best feel and comfort and prevention of blisters. I've got these little octagon shaped donut pad called Nip Guards that I wear for any run over 8 miles otherwise "ouch". I have spent hours mapping out trails and where would be the next ideal place to get 8 or 10 or 16 mies in. I travel with my running shoes, socks, shorts, visor, sunglasses, ipod, tech shirt no matter where I go. So does that make me a runner? Most of my friends and people I have this discussion with seem to think so. 2.5 years out of 46 of doing something organized makes me a runner??
The other day, I was talking with my coach and we were discussing work outs and upcoming schedule. This weekend I am supposed to run the Bolder Boulder 10 K and next weekend I am to run in San Diego. Originally the full and it was requested that I run the 1/2 instead. Too much time to recover from a full and it'll take away from my Ironman training. I was/am a little dissapointed with that. I then brought up the fact that I am used to running 25 to 35 miles a week or about 125 miles a month and I noticed in May I have only logged about 35 miles thus far and the month is over in 8 days. I was feeling down about that. Eric then turned to me and said...."Marty, you are not a runner, you are a triathlete." So there you have it........I am not a runner. Just a guy who runs.
But a triathlete??????? Nah, I'm just a guy who swims, bikes and runs.