As I was waiting at one of the traffic lights early in my run a woman on her bike came to the corner to wait so she could cross the street as well. She saw the timing chip on my shoe from yesterday's Oceanside Turkey Trot and said that she had run the 5-miler. She was so proud of herself. She said that she was able to keep 10-minute miles the whole time and although there were other people faster on the course, "they were all younger than me" - she was a proud 58-years young! She was so stoked with her performance that she told me she actually went home and looked up MORE races to run! She was confident she could run a 10K but didn't see any coming up nearby, but did see the California 10/20 in February. I let her know that hubby and I ran it last year and there were a few hills to be aware of, but the 20 bands along the course help to keep you entertained (and your mind off the 10 miles). She said she would definitely think about it.
Then the conversation turned to me (don, don, don)... She then asked me, "So, are you a marathoner?". I was honestly taken back. I said, "Well, currently I am training for the Phoenix Marathon in February, so I have 12 miles on the calendar today". Shortly after that the walk sign appeared and we started to cross the street. She wished me luck with my training and I told her to keep up the running and racing!
(I know, I know, it seems like we had QUITE a while to talk, but the light is to cross a State Road, which is somewhat of an expressway with traffic lights on it, so the wait is a good 3-4 minutes to cross the street, especially if you get there right after it changed.)
Even though it was a short conversation, it had me thinking for the next 10+ miles... Am I a marathoner? Sure, I have run a marathon before (and have 2 more on the calendar over the next 3 months), but is that all is takes to be a marathoner? I guess in my mind I am thinking a marathoner is someone who can (and does) run marathons on a regular basis. Does running a single marathon make you a marathoner?
Let's be real, although I run, most days I don't know if I would consider myself a runner. Maybe it is because I just starting running about 2.5 years ago and still consider myself a newbie. Maybe it is because of my low self esteem. Maybe it is because in my mind only "fast" runners are "real" runners (but if you were to ever say that I would yell at you - I know, it's stupid, huh?!). Maybe it is because I am scared to "fail" at being a runner.
Yes, I run, but am I a runner? Yes, I have run a marathon, but am I a marathoner? How do I identify myself? I wish I could say that after my morning run I had clarity, saw myself in a different light, etc, but sometimes things just don't end up like that. Some runs leave you with more questions than you started with... But you know what? That's okay (and even if it wasn't there isn't much you can do about it, eh?)!
How do YOU identify yourself?