This question was brought up in our car during the Wasatch Back by Tall Girl. I've been thinking about it lately with the half marathon this last week, and I wonder- can you still be called a runner if you run for fun and not time? It took me a really long time to call myself a runner. Even after completing my first marathon I didn't feel like I could call myself a runner. Not because I didn't love it- because I did. The answer was simple. I didn't feel like I was fast. I know that fast is a relative term and those people that I admire and wish I was like are not fast when compared to the elite runners. But man, I'd love to be as "fast" as them. I did speed work religiously. But I never seemed to really get as fast as I wanted in the time I wanted. It was easy to overlook just how far I had come in that pursuit of some elusive time. And getting pregnant or injured every single year and having to quit running didn't help. It felt like I was starting over after each break. So when did I actually consider myself a runner? I don't know if there was a big moment when it happened. No fireworks in the sky or ribbons pinned to my shirt. Maybe it was when I quit doing so many other things in the cardio arena and ran more than anything else. I'm not sure. But I'm happy to say that I am a runner. I'm still not fast but I'm out there doing it and loving it. I run for fun. I still care about times. I can say that I don't all I want, but deep down I do. It's not because I'm in competition with anyone else. I don't even consider myself to be competitive. It hard for me to run with someone who IS competitive. I don't ever want to hold someone back. And it's not so that I can say that I run a "so many a minute" mile, but it's tangible evidence that all my hard work is indeed working. Will I ever be satisfied with my speed? Probably not. Because no matter where we are, I believe it's inherent that we want to be better. It's what drives us.
So, back to the half. I ran it last year. I ran faster than I had ever run before. It was an amazing race with a finish time of 2:02. I was so shocked and happy. And I felt like I pushed as much as I possibly could. I also ran it injured and really trashed my IT bands. I was out for months after. But that time made it all worthwhile. I knew that I would probably never do a repeat of that time. It was one of those fluke things. So even deciding to run it again this year was hard. I mentally prepared myself to not be disappointed. I knew I was leaving the watch at home and somehow I was going to make this a fun run. Heather and I wore some fun socks and had a great time. We got lots of comments from other runners as well as spectators and it made it fun. We even heard the comment at the finish line from a guy saying that he had seen those socks pass him up in the last miles. My calf hurt almost the whole race, but never really bad. We stopped at each drink station and stretched a few times during the race but tried to keep the pace up. At the end we were really pushing it. Heather knew I was o.k. with whatever time we ended up with, but being the great friend that she is, she pushed us through and our time was 2:00. It was pretty awesome. I honestly couldn't believe the time clock as we passed it and I made her give me a dorky high five across the finish line. Really, really awesome. Now I just have to worry about being faster next year. Ugggg.
So now it's your turn. When did you consider yourself a runner? And talk to me about speed.
(thanks to Mel- our unofficial photographer for hanging out and documenting our totally awesome socks!)
So for this week:Monday August 24th- 6 miles with hills Calf was good until the very end of the last hill. Wasn't just sore this time. It hurt like an injury. Went in and had it worked on.
Tuesday August 25th- 8 mile bike ride
Wednesday August 26th- 7 miles speed work Calf was sore after the second mile of speed work but didn't really get worse. Stretched really good. Hope it's o.k. for the weekend!
Thursday August 27th- 11 mile bike ride
Saturday August 29th- Top of Utah 1/2 Marathon!