Saturday, January 28, 2012

What Defines You As A Runner?

Over the past few days, I have had the unplanned "opportunity" to take a step back and look at my running and reflect.  To understand what is important to me, what I want out of running, and what makes me a runner.  In many aspects of my life, I do this often, but with running, I generally just GO, GO, GO!!

See... GO GO GO!!!

There is always another race, another training plan, another PR to tackle.  It is, in short, addicting.  Don't get me wrong, I love it.  I love so many things about running minus those very painful moments...

Really running, I do love you, can't you tell?

But like it or not conversations and suggestions led me to think about how much I value running and what makes me a runner.  Long story short, for the immediate future anyway, we decided that it might be a good idea for me to tweak my training just a tad.  I generally take one rest a day week.  For a little while, however, I am going to experiment with taking one full rest day a week and one rest or Stretch, Flow and relaxation day a week.  The hope being that this extra day will allow my body to recover more, for me to feel a bit less stressed, to help with that whole weight gain thing (more this week if I am feeling all sharing is caring like), and hopefully to even enjoy the benefits of yoga and rest.  After all, as people keep telling me I "Run for Fun," right?

We run for fun in this family, can't you tell?!?

When this was first suggested to me, I actually jumped at the chance, probably because the other options were cut your training in half (clearly one day v. half, I will take the one day).  And I am still pretty O.K. with this option, it is reasonable, sensible, and, hopefully, a step in the right direction, for me anyways.   Yet, the more it ruminated with me, the more I started to think about whether this made me less of a Runner, less of an Athlete.  In my mind, I went over and over my training plan thinking about which day I would cut and which day would "hurt" me the least.  What would happen if I only got 2 days of running in instead of 3 or 2 days of cross-training instead of 3?  Would all be ruined?  Am I any less of an athlete if I choose to take that extra day while so many around me double up on workouts with a bike and then a swim; or a run and then cross training; and here I am twiddling my run.   The comparison game is a very VERY slippery slope and one that is not healthy nor one I wish to venture down.

For instance, I choose not to compare my height to Aaron's, I will always lose.

Ultimately, while these "evil" ideas try to invade my thoughts, I know better and am stronger than such thoughts.  Maybe one less training day a week will hurt my speed and endurance, or maybe it will help.  Maybe the extra day will ward off injury and some Stretch and Flow yoga will help me stay limber (now I just need the perfect DVD to accomplish this).  Honestly, I don't know the answers to these questions and like any wonderful Type A Runner that scares the crap out me.  What, I can't control it, I can't control everything?!?  Apparently, that is not how the world works...

Or maybe I can control everything, I am a marathoner after all..

Seriously, whether I like it or not, I am going to have to learn to be O.K. with the fact that I cannot control everything.  In the meantime,  I have to remember a valuable lesson:

A runner is not defined by how many miles you log in a week;
Nor by how fast you are, how long you go, or how much training you do.

The Simple Act of Running Makes You a Runner! 
You Run Therefore YOU ARE A RUNNER!

I am a runner. I define myself as one and no one can take that away from me but myself.  If I call myself a runner, then I am one.  If I choose not to, then I am not for that moment.  But for now, I AM a runner and no amount of miles, training sessions, speed, or lack thereof will take that away from me!

How do you define yourself as a runner?  Any good Stretch and Flow Yoga DVDs for me?

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