If I’m just being honest, I’ve started and re-started this blog post about a half a dozen times because I didn’t know if I really felt comfortable calling myself a “runner.” For some reason I just felt uncomfortable and a little bit silly about it. It’s been on my mind a lot lately, though, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. At what point does someone become a “runner”? When does that happen? Do they past a certain test? Do they make a certain time? Do they run a certain race?
They simply lace-up their running shoes and run.
It’s really that simple.
It all started in January when I decided that since I had my diet and nutrition under control, I needed to increase my physical activity as well and work on becoming stronger. It had been a long, long time since I had run. I’m almost positive the last time I was actually serious about running was when Alea was about a year old. I decided that I wanted to try the Couch to 5k program and I’d go for my C25K run after I’d get Alea down for bed at night. I surprised myself with how quickly I progressed through the program. One day I was talking to Cory about how scared I was that I would have to run for 20min straight in the upcoming week. He just laughed and shook his head and told me that I could probably already do it. So, that night I went out and tried… and I did it.
After I finished to C25K program I kind of gave-up running despite having signed-up for a 5k with a friend a few months after. I didn’t train for 2 months prior to the race, but still managed to run the entire 5k without stopping. It wasn’t a record-breaking run, but I was still so proud of myself at what I had accomplished.
I think that’s my favorite part about running. That sense of accomplishment and sense of pride when I really push through and run my best. That’s the best feeling in the world!
Back to what I was saying. In January, I decided to see if I could run a mile without stopping. But it was January and I didn’t own a treadmill and it was beyond freezing outside. So, I literally did laps in my basement. We have a large playroom area and then a large family room that are connected by a doorway. I just looped in and out and around those rooms and clocked it on my Apple Watch. Not sure how entirely accurate it was, but I still hit that 1mi mark. And then the next week I decided to try 2mi and then 3mi. All without stopping.
After that, I was hooked. My friend, Lisette, convinced me to sign-up for a RunBet with her and I hesitated, but agreed. After struggling to get my 30min runs in at work and at the fire station, I decided it was about time we invest in a treadmill and ordered one during an Easter weekend sale.
I completed my first RunBet and made a whopping $3.40-something cents (Ha!) and continued to keep it up as the weather got warmer and I was able to get outside to run more.
I ran my first 5k since the one I previously mentioned with a kick ass time of 28:12. I ran another 5k a few weeks later and it was terrible! It was at 1pm and it was so hot and humid that day. I made it sub 30min, but barely. I was so disappointed, but I was proud that I finished despite needing to walk a hill or two. Cory and I ran a 5k together in June in memory of a young lady who lost her life in a car accident locally. It was a great race knowing that we were running to support her and her family and that really helped me to push through and my time was much improved.
I had been throwing around the idea of signing up for the Firecracker 4 Mile in La Crosse on the 4th of July, but my husband is on the volunteer fire department in our town and they do a big fundraiser every year on the 4th. It was a no-go because of that, but literally the day before I got the “all clear” and my friend and I signed-up. That was a first! Usually races are well thought out and planned, but I went into that race with zero expectations and lots of spontaneity and came out with a great time and it was a really great race!
Next up, I have a 10k this Saturday that I’m beyond stoked to run and I just registered for my very first Half Marathon in October. 13.1mi seems oh so very daunting at this point, but I’ve got a solid training program and I super awesome run coach– shout out to you, Jenn— to get me through!
This past Friday I had one of the best runs I think I’ve had to date. It was absolutely perfect running weather outside. Just a slight breeze, the sun was setting, and I just jumped off the couch and got it in. I barely had to stop and went about 6.5mi total and hit a PR with my 5k and 10k times. I was watching the sun set beside me, seeing the cars hum past me, felt the light breeze brush across my cheeks, and my legs were just moving effortlessly beneath me. I had my usual running playlist blasting in my ears, but I got so lost in thought a few times I forgot I was even running. It was just that kind of run. If you’ve been there, you know exactly what I mean.
I’ve also had those hard, grueling, disappointing runs, too, though. Those runs where 3 miles seems like 10 and you have to stop and walk and things just feel a little “off”. That’s okay, too. You could’ve continued to sit on the couch, but you didn’t. You still got out there and got it done!
What makes you a runner to you is no one else’s business. If you’re running laps in your basement or running 3 marathons per year. If you run a 12min mile or a 6min mile. If you run around the block or around your entire town. YOU ARE A RUNNER.
Don’t hesitate. Just own it. You’re doing amazing things and quite literally chasing after your goals.
You’ve got this.