Having completed a race now I felt I could consider myself a runner. Not that a race defines you as one. It’s like saying I can only be a writer if I publish a book. Different things define what we are. I think the journey to the Big Half in London, 2018 helped me define who I am and what sort of runner I am currently. It also got me reflecting on what I was in June 2017 before I started.
I think runners and cars are very similar, no not because they both move and a form of transport though!
There are many cars, different shapes, sizes, specifications, speeds, styles etc. It’s a long list. I think runners come in a similar variety …
There’s quick, fast, elegant, gangly, gentle joggers, competitive types, lone runners, social runners, those living for running, those squeezing it around commitments elsewhere. The list, again, goes on. I think we could list many more and we would find something in the list we associate to.
Like cars we might aspire to being the fast, sleek sporty model but we might just have to settle for the out of date and slightly bashed people carrier – because right now that’s practical for our needs. The important thing is it is still a car, no matter what. And therefore you are still a runner, no matter what! We all find different solutions for different times in life and we work with that. Things change sometimes good and sometimes not, and again we work with that. It’s a journey.
I think learning this is something we all do in our own way. My first blog post said about how nervous and lacking in confidence I was when I started and that’s true. It’s still the case now, I’m not suddenly some confident loon, but I’ve learnt to be comfortable in the form I’m in and the things I do relating to running. Sure I know there are just as many out there that would find my pace and achievements insignificant as there are that would find what I’ve done amazing but that’s true no matter what you do. Even if you are the worlds best at something it’s a 1 in 7 billion chance and even that normally only lasts for a while!
What I have also learnt is that there is an opportunity to change your form and become a new model, like a revised car model, sometimes you might even change the actual make but it takes immense work to take a standard family car and make it a formula 1 car. If you have all that time to do it then a lot of you probably can make that difference but for many that’s a step that can’t be made. I think I could achieve more if I didn’t work and didn’t have family and was simply my own person. But what cost? Yes I might be a good runner – but I also have a great family and reward job so life has dealt me good achievements already, running is just another thing I can enjoy.
So what next?
Lots of people speak about keeping their Mojo and maintaining the enthusiasm. This is something that depends on motivation and goals and what you enjoy generally. It’s not uncommon to get bored with repetition and lack enthusiasm for thing ha you don’t enjoy. That’s human nature. The same goes for running – run the same thing repeatedly is likely to bore you, do it for reasons you haven’t identified is likely to lead to a lack of enthusiasm.
I find it helpful to mix my running. Run the local streets if time is short, stretch out to the edge of town if I have a longer run or head into the country (even take a 20 minute drive to get there) if I am able to find a few hours. This adds variety and interest. I love country running because of the sites and sounds. The added bonus is that it’s good for you too. Often a bit hillier and undulating and this strengthens you building resilience.
The other thing is I track my running. If I track it I can see progress, and improvement. I need positive reinforcement of what I do and that needs data. If I can see things are getting better I feel happy – just don’t expect improvement on every run – sometimes improvement is slow and steady!
Final thing is I have a purpose. My family had a few health scares in the past few years including bowel cancer which is heavily diet driven. These made me evaluate my own healthiness to which point I thought I could do better. For that reason I found some shoes and started running. That motivates me every day – sometimes not enough on its own! But it’s always there as a reason to run!
So in answer to the question – Yes. I think I can call myself a runner – and to that matter so can you!