For the past few months — year even — I've been questioning whether I can actually call myself a runner. Are you a runner when you complete your first race? When you start running regularly? When you do a half or full marathon?
The doubt about what to label myself stemmed from my pace. I would often ask myself, am I a runner or a jogger? Is there a difference?
I've been told this week that now that I'm losing a toenail after running my fourth Ragnar I can really call myself a runner. I don't know if that's true, but here is how I know I am one.
- On rest days, I get jealous of people I see running — especially on those gorgeous Phoenix winter days.
- I plan my days and weeks around running. I now try to schedule hangouts with friends and family on Mondays and Thursdays, which are my rest days, or on weekends after my runs. I also have to plan my meals carefully so that I have the energy to run.
- I own almost as many pairs of running shoes as heels. (I admit I don't wear heels often.)
- Most of my recent clothes purchases are for running or yoga.
- I struggle to wake up Monday-Friday to get to work on time, yet I have no trouble staying up all night for Ragnar Del Sol or waking up early to run a race.
- I am constantly reading up on running-related content and wanting to learn more.
- As soon as I finish a race I am looking for my next one.
- I run because I want to prove to myself that I can do it, and that I can always improve. I love tracking my progress.
I don't pretend to know everything about running. I've learned so much in the past few months as part of marathon training, and I learn something new every time I lace up my shoes. Speaking of gear, my new running shoes came in and I tested them out before the Phoenix half marathon. The man who helped me pick out my running shoes showed me how to tie my laces in a double knot that comes out easily when you want it to. He says I'll never need to tie my shoes any other way. He's a marathon pacer who has finished about 200 races, so I'll take his word for it.
How do you know you're a runner?