Susan, my New Jersey intern turned friend from Port Huron, and I sat around a summer back yard fire catching up on life and parenthood.
“Are you still running?” she inquired.
A month earlier, I was at a conference networking with your standard R&D introverts. It would have been a slow conversation if it hadn’t been for the free beer and wine at the happy hour. We were discussing the challenges of getting up at 5 am to run in the scholarship fundraiser 5K. Not one of us was planning on running it. The woman next to me admitted that she used to run but she’d gotten injured and never got back into running. I nodded my head knowing what she meant.
I used to fear getting injured so bad that I wouldn’t be able to run while I waited to heal. Three running styles, five pairs of shoes, a set of bare feet, months of early morning walks, turning 40 and two missed Girls On The Run events later, I realize my fear was misplaced. I should have feared losing my desire to run.
I run sporadically. Often, I’ll run in the middle of my morning walk. But, am I running? ie., Am I a Runner?
I have never defined being a “Runner” by speed or distance. To me, being a runner has to do with attitude, desire and a runner’s high. Susan’s inquiry put me in a position where I had to face what had happened. I changed and I no longer feel like I am a runner.
Ever since Susan’s inquiry, I’ve pondered who am I, what am I doing and what do I want? I suppose this is another side affect of going over-the-hill. It’s hard to define a goal when you’ve already taken life’s major stepping stones, run a 5K, win a 5K, run a half, run a sub-25 5K, PR in the half, get injured and run a return 5K. What’s left? Maybe it’s time I did something crazy?