A few months ago, I posed this question: What makes you a runner?
At the time, I was very conflicted. I had started running a half dozen of times in the past eight years, only to quit a month or two later. Was I going to quit this time too? I had knee problems in the past- could that disqualify me from being a runner? I've been running for less than a year (at least on a consistent basis)- does that make me a 'pre-runner?"
Hindsight is 20-20, and looking back on the past year (that's almost how long I've held a consistent baseline of 25-30 miles per week), I think I've now determined two things. 1) Yes, I am a runner. And 2) I know the day I became a runner.
I became a runner the day I registered for my first half marathon. That's when I made the financial commitment as well as the physical and psychological commitment to do something really, really scary. After I forked over the $$$ for the Thunder Road Half Marathon, my training truly became something special to me. I started believing in myself and I started pushing myself.
Six months and three half marathons later, running has become an almost daily activity for me. I don't think of it as a chore anymore, and I don't dread putting on my shoes and walking out the door. A run is something I want to do because I know how good it feels inside of me. I know that when I've run, I have really accomplished something.
For me, I became a runner when I made a commitment to 13.1 miles. Others become runners when they commit to 3.1 miles, and some become a runner when they commit to 1 mile a day. Everyone is different- there is NO distance and NO pace you have to be capable of to call yourself a runner.
I have never had so much fun running or been so proud of my accomplishment than when I ran Charlotte's Thunder Road. That race will always remind me that you can accomplish any goal you set your mind to with a little sweat and determination.
When did you become a runner?