Am I runner if …
New at this?
I'm too old/ too young?
I don't know what I'm doing?
Don't worry: every runner has had these same questions. (you're in good company…and already proving you're a runner ;) )
So short answer: YES.
If you run, you're a runner.
If you've ever wanted to run faster, further, better...you're already a runner.
If you've ever crammed your running shoes into your already over-packed suitcase because you can't imagine a vacation without them, you're a runner.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a panicked moment as I was packing for my ski trip when I realized, there was NO way I was going to fit in running for 10 days.
Would I lose my running fitness?
How was I going to stay sane?
Despite over 10 years of running, these thoughts still manage to creep up.
But it took a week of skiing out west to show me the TOP 3 signs of a REAL a runner.
And I'm willing to bet: you have all 3 of these.
Let's dive in.
You Are the PERFECT Age to Start Running and Keep Running
NEWSFLASH: Running has no age limit.
Want to know how I know this?
While out west, I saw multiple, bad-ass, 50+ year old women snowboarding.
(…hang with me!)
How it relates to running:
If you can snowboard at any age you can most definitely RUN at any age!
There is no shame in starting something new, no matter how old you are.
In fact, here’s the secret to a long, happy life that I've picked up from my hundreds of grandpa and grandma patients I've treated over the years:
The most energized, fulfilled, mentally and physically healthy humans are the ones that continue to take the risk and try new and hard things.
So whether your new thing as a runner is a new pace, a new distance, or just new to running- you ARE a real runner!
You Have a Supportive Running Community (and you're part of it too).
Did you know you have a literal army of best running friends? (because remember: if you run, you ARE a runner!)
Because when was the last time you completely ripped apart someone's strava?
Or told another runner their marathon PR didn't count?
Because runners understand just how freaking hard it is to show up.
And then, power through race day.
I saw something similar being surrounded by skiiers and snowboarders for a week.
A chill, supportive vibe and a helpful, kind community.
Seeing the similar thread yet?
It's all about community.
When you have a yard sale...
(meaning, as a skier you fall down and both your skis pop off- one's uphill, one's, downhill and your poles are also scattered all over the run)
...other skiers will stop to make sure you're not hurt and even help you pick up the pieces.
Runners are the same way.
You look out for one another.
You even sure to show for your running buddy at 5:30am to kick their butt like they asked you to (true story).
And because you run (no matter your pace or experience), you are a real runner. And you have an entire community backing you.
You're Can Do Hard Things Over and Over Again…
Running builds a special type of resilience.
A resiliency where you get back up when you fall;
you recover from setback after setback;
maybe not succeeding against the odds, but also not giving up when there's still hope.
And because you're a real runner, you have access to this secret life-weapon.
Although, sometimes you have to earn it more than others.
I found myself flying down a steep, but wide, blue (intermediate level) run about a quarter of a mile long.
I dropped in too fast.
And it was steeper than I anticipated.
Nearing the edge of maintaining control and teetering on the edge out of control, I probably hit 35-37mph.
(for reference: Olympic speed skiers easily hit 80mph. I know, I know.)
So going nearly too fast, mildly out of control, lactic acid building up in my quads, and not really wanting to eat it going that fast, I stopped eventually with some aggressive turning and ending going UP another run.
All thanks to the resiliency built up from being a runner.
Staying calm, riding out the rough patches, trusting the process: all skills built up from running translating into another sport.
(the best part: you can do this too!)
Don't worry: I'm NOT perfect.
And definitely NOT perfectly resilient.
A couple runs later, I found out I have a lot more to work on.
Another blue run (affectionately named Bassackwards) with one specifically challenging chose-your-adventure split.
I chose the wrong adventure.
A steep 150-200m section straight down instead of a stair-stepping option (a run where it plateaus in sections to make it easy to stop).
I dropped in just fine but after a handful of turns, the snow monster reached out a grabbed the edge of my ski.
And I fell.
And kept sliding for 40ft.
Down this narrow run, spinning head over heels and careening dangerously closer and closer to the edge of this run that spills into a treed valley.
The bad thing about snow and trees:
Tree vs skier ends with the tree usually wining. Not to mention, trees create tree wells with enough snow.
(a tree well: a well-like pit surrounding the trunk of the tree. The potentially dangerous part is not getting any purchase on the shifting snow and not getting OUT of the tree well).
As I'm sliding down the run, I can't grab onto anything.
And I don’t stop sliding because it's so steep.
I almost saw God in the trees but managed to spin one more time around so my skis were below me and I finally got some traction.
I got up, unhurt.
Sobering moment: I'm still NOT down the mountain.
And I'm definitely still NOT down this run.
I get up and try again.
And 2 turns later, I catch an edge, fall down, and slide again.
This time, maybe 10ft.
Not my finest moment however as a I beat the offending run with my one remaining pole. (it hit me two times at that point, so I though it deserved a beating back).
I got up and tried again.
Because I'm still not down the run.
Two turns later, an uphill snowboarder completely trucks me.
I again, beat the now VERY offending run a couple more times with my (still) one remaining pole. (the snow boarder was fine; I was fine; the run, unfortunately, was also fine.)
After being physically, emotionally, and mentally demolished, I made it down the remaining 40feet of the run.
With half the mountain still to go.
Case in point: Running resiliency will carry you far.
It will form your character in addition to revealing your character flaws.
But most importantly, your runner's resilience will translate into other situation.
Be proud to be a runner.
You are a runner if you run.
Despite your age.
Or your experience.
And because you are a runner, you have a community to back you at all times.
Because you are a runner, you have this amazing super power called resiliency that you've worked for and will continue to work hard for.
And it will change your life.
Your pace doesn’t make you a runner.
Your race distance doesn't determine whether you're a runner.
The number of medals or race bibs you have saved doesn't determine your worth as a runner…
If you run, you are a real runner.
And you can hard, scary things…that aren't even running.
Dare to Train Differently,
Marie Whitt, PT, DPT //@dr.whitt.fit
P.S. Ready to get started on trying something new and different? Grab my FREE running guide HERE to challenge everything you know about running.
P.P.S. And if you're feeling really adventurous, try something ENTIRELY new! Become a better runner by building STRONGER FEET HERE!