Monday, July 15, 2013

I Knew I Was a Runner When

This weekend, I bought Body Glide.
It was something I never though I'd need to do.  I'm still confused by the concept of chafed, bleeding nipples; it's one of the running myths that are apparently actually true, which makes it all the more terrifying, and I REALLY don't want to talk about chafed, bleeding nipples from personal experience on this blog, ever.
But, apparently, nipples are not the only things that chafe, and this weekend, I needed to buy Body Glide before I had another run.
For the record, there isn't as much daylight between my thighs when I run as perhaps I'd like, especially when it's hot and humid, like it is now.  Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are fine; thanks for your concern.
Anyway, when I had the realization that this was going to be a part of my running arsenal, I had an "this must mean I'm a 'real' runner" moment.  Because I never thought I was enough of a "real" runner to need something such as anti-chafing...stuff.
I've had several of those moments since I began running nearly three years ago, and I'm sure I'll have more.  
I can rationally tell you that I am a runner.  I run.  Several times a week.  I've participated in several races and events since I decided to participate in that first Undy 5000.  But sometimes, I don't necessarily feel like a "real" runner.

Of course, running master, Bart Yasso, has spoken to this notion directly:
"I often hear people say 'I'm not a real runner.'  We are all runners; some just run faster than others.  I never met a fake runner."

I KNOW I'm not a fake runner.  But sometimes, when I realize that my monthly mileage is what some people run in a week, I don't necessarily feel like a "real" runner.  I'm not exactly sure what I'd define a "real" runner to be, but I don't run fast, and I don't run that far, so sometimes, I'm not sure where I fit into the cadre, and because of that, I sometimes feel like I'm not completely part of it, like unless I hit a certain mileage or a certain pace per mile, everyone else will look down on me as if to say, "no, you're not one of us, but you can keep trying."  
Kind of like I'm Chester, and the everyone else is Spike:

But there are those moments when I've said to myself, "NOW, I'm a runner."
And since I just had one of those moments, I thought I'd take a walk down Memory Lane at all those moments I've had thus far to help remind me that I've always been a runner, ever since I decided to run on an evening walk with Zooey.

I knew I was a runner when...
  • I picked up my first race bib;
  • I finished my first race;
  • I went to a running store to be fitted for shoes;
  • I retired that pair of shoes;
  • I decided to try a 10K;
  • I completed a 10K;
  • I set a PR;
  • I beat that PR;
  • I decided to try a half marathon;
  • I obtained a training plan for a half marathon;
  • I picked up my race bib for my half marathon
  • I finished a half marathon;
  • I started keeping track of my mileage;
  • I got obsessed with my mileage and heart rate and everything else;
  • I stopped keeping track of my mileage and heart rate and everything else for a bit;
  • I altered my training plan;
  • I said, "I think I'll try trail running";
  • I loved trail running;
  • I made trail running a part of my regular training plan;
  • I had a regular training plan;
  • I signed up for a trail race;
  • I couldn't do that trail race because I was diagnosed with tendinitis;
  • I found "the shoe" I loved;
  • I mourned when "the shoe" was retired;
  • I started playing with the idea of a full marathon someday;
  • I was asked for running advice by a friend (that one felt REALLY awesome, by the way);
  • I felt confident enough in my experience to give that friend some advice;
  • I had to buy Body Glide.
John "The Penguin" Bingham, whose book (along with Jenny Hadfield) got me through my first half marathon, said this on the topic:
"If you run, you are a runner.  It doesn't matter how fast or how far.  It doesn't matter if today is your first day, or if you've been running twenty years.  There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get.  You just run."
Well, I just run.  And sometimes, I think I run far, even if it's not as far as someone else.  I never think I run fast.  But I run, so I am a runner, and I'm glad to have become one, even if I don't always feel like a "real" one.

When did you feel like a "real" runner?


  1. YES, you are a runner!! =) And thank god for Body Glide. Never thought I'd say that but the thigh chafing...yes, I suffer from it too. I've forgotten it before and boy do regret it when I do!

    1. Thank you! It's always nice to get that affirmation from a friend. :)
      Seriously singing Body Glide's praises this morning. It's amazing how something that looks like a stick of deodorant can make a run SO much more pleasant. I chafed for the first time at Pat's Run, and I was like "Is this sunburn? What's going on? What the heck?" I wore my bike shorts under my dress to dinner that night, I was so uncomfortable. Haha!

  2. I never feel like a real runner. In fact, I barely run. But I am adding it back into my routine, so I'm sure there will be a bizarre moment where I'm staring down a tube of anti-chafing cream.
    Did you see that episode of The Office where Andy's nipples bled incessantly through his shirt during a 5k? I died.
    Keep on keepin on. You inspire me to keep pounding the pavement.

    1. I didn't see that episode. I wasn't a huge fan of the show (ducks and covers). But yes, bizarre is a great word - it's like "hmmmm, maybe NOW is the time to consider myself a real runner if I'm concerned enough about chafing to buy a tube of the stuff." LOL
      Thanks for the sweetest words - you inspire me to take care of myself too! :)

  3. This sounds so very much like me. It's as though you are inside my head, listening to my litany of self doubt as a runner. I try to get in 20 miles each week, but for many of my runner friends, that's a day trip. And let's not even think about my pace!

    RE: Body Glide. I've begun using it in the summer when I don't wear compression shirts, but even BG can fail. At about mile 7 of an 11 mile run one recent hot day, the BG rubbed/washed off, and I was wearing a white shirt. Not pretty (and pretty much the worst shower ever!). My runner friends recommend zinc oxide instead. I wear compression shorts to prevent chafing of my nethers. Seems to work well. No problems so far.

    Am I a real runner? I guess so, even if my pace is slow and my distance is short. But I still lace up and head out, hoping I will find the man I want to be out there. Maybe I'm running from my doubt. (But, again, so many of those points you list above have been true about me!)

    1. There are days when I think "yes, I AM" and those days that the doubt creeps in and whispers, "Wellllll....." I try to keep those whispers at bay and remind myself that if I ever make it to Boston, I will be in my twilight years. But I'm ok with that as long as I'm doing it for the right reasons.
      I like the idea of getting zinc oxide, too - I think that's an ingredient in sunscreen anyway.
      Keep up the miles - 20 has been a lot in a week for me lately!