Am I a Runner Yet?

Good evening from a pleasantly warm Chicago!

Lately I’ve been reading a ton of running-related articles and one of the questions they pose is when people consider themselves runners. For me, if I’m having a conversation with someone and running comes up, if the other person says “I’m not a runner” I always say “yeah me neither!” I guess in my head a “runner” is someone who does so effortlessly, who can just lace up and get out there and enjoy himself/herself.

But the more I think about it, the more I’m becoming that person. I see other people running and I wish I were there. I finish a run and I think about how I’m going to approach my next outing. I READ RUNNING ARTICLES in my spare time, for god’s sake!

This morning I needed to get in 3 miles and I knew I wanted to get them done quickly. Enter the treadmill. I can try to “sprint” to the best of my abilities on the Lakefront trail, but if I really want to do anything “speedy,” I need to set the pace on the treadmill and let it take me away. Tuesday night I had this vision in my head that I was going to run 3 straight miles, no walking break, at a 10-minute pace. Admittedly Tuesday night I also had a vision that I was going to get up extra early so I could fit in both a run and a yoga class, and naturally that plan was disbanded when I woke up at 4am in disbelief that I had less than an hour of sleep to go…but I digress…

I knew I couldn’t just hop on the treadmill at such a quick pace (for me – for anyone else this is plodding along!!), so I had a plan in my head – I’d warm up for 5 mins or so with a really quick walking pace, then I’d reset the timer to start from scratch at the 6.0 level. And…I totally did it! I’ve run that distance sans stopping before, and I think once I ran 2 miles at a 10-minute pace…but never, ever 3. Never. I felt amazing! Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of times that I wanted to just take a quick break or slow it down to a speed I’m more accustomed to, but I just kept going. Part of it was the new songs I’d downloaded and part of it was just watching the mileage add up and know that I didn’t have much longer to go.

And right as I was approaching the 3-mile mark, I started to wonder – am I a runner now? Because I feel like anyone can get out there and run some sort of ratio, especially at my usual pace – but can just anyone hop on a treadmill and run 3 miles at a 10-minute clip? I know when I first started I definitely couldn’t. For that matter…just a few months ago I probably couldn’t! But I just did and I proved it to myself and it felt awesome. So I’m getting closer to declaring myself a runner…on my way. 🙂

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