27 August 2010

What Makes....

A runner?  Bet you didn't see that one coming!  Earlier this year.  Before winter had fully ended here (OK... winter didn't really end until about June this year, but before that), I decided that I was going to start running.  I was not a runner by any means.  I never have been.  At best I would go for short power walks.  Even then, I preferred the nice, leisurely stroll over that.  But, I got it in my mind that I was going to start running.  Somehow.

I eagerly waited until we made a trip down to Minot, and picked out a pair of running shoes and a sensor for my shoe that would track my runs on my iPod.  I really wanted an adorable outfit to run in, because lets face it, I was going to look like I was dying so I may as well be dressed awesomely.  After looking at the awesome running clothes and seeing how much they cost (did you know a Nike tank top alone is almost $30?!) I decided that I should wait to see if I really could do this before investing a lot of money into running clothes.  I settled on a pair of cheap athletic pants and a t-shirt from Target.

And then of course I had to wait out winter.  In the middle of March we finally started to have some nicer weather.  And I was ready.  I set my alarm, and got up first thing to 'run'.  Run is a loosely used term in this case.  I walked for 5 minutes.  And then I tried to run.  1/2 a block.  I made it half a block.  I was gasping for air.  My legs felt like they would collapse under me.  But that was were this all began.  I finished that first 'run' by alternately running for a 1/2 block, and then walking for 2 (I'll be honest, it was possibly more).  20 minutes later I was back at our doorstep, exhausted.

Since then I have pushed myself probably harder than I ever have for anything.  The first day I ran for 10 minutes straight on "my loop" around town, I was so proud.  I had gone from running half a block, to a full 10 minutes.  In July, I successfully ran my first 5K.  I started running at the start line and didn't stop until the finish line (minus the brief pause at the water truck).  To that point, it was officially the furthest I had run without stopping.

I have developed a love of running.  Most mornings I'm eager to get out of bed, get my sneakers laced up and hear the thud of my feet against the pavement.  Some days, I just can't run far enough.  My legs just want to keep going, even though there is no road left to run in our tiny town.  I love that I can get lost in my thoughts.  Those moments when I'm on the road, that is the only thing I need to focus on.  The next stride, the next breath.  There aren't many moments like that in my day.

I still consider myself a beginner.  I'm not the fastest.  I still don't run very far most days.  I want to call myself a runner.  And yet, I don't really know. What makes a runner?  Do you have to do it for so long before calling yourself a runner?  Is it the fact of just doing it no matter how pathetic an attempt?  Or is it the love of doing it?  Regardless of what or when, I know that tomorrow morning will find me out on the road falling in love with it all over again.

crossing the finish of of my first 5K - July, 17 2010

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