You know you’re a runner if -
- you have more running clothes than regular clothes in your laundry pile.
- you’ve lost a toenail. And you tell people, “It’s not that bad.”
- you have a drawer full of medals and other race souvenirs that you’re not sure what to do with.
- you go into Starbucks more often to use the bathroom than to actually buy coffee.
- you no longer make fun of fanny packs because your running belt looks very similar (although cooler) to one.
- you have a line in your budget for “race entry fees/race travel”.
- you’ve used an old race T-shirt to wash your car, dust furniture, or clean something else.
- your treadmill has more miles on it than your car.
About.com has pages upon pages of these. But if you are like me it took months, maybe even years before you would describe yourself as a runner. In the beginning, I went for a jog, a shuffle or a fast walk. I was not really a runner.
Eventually though, after months, I began to admit that what I was doing was running.
But I wasn’t a runner, not really. In my head running only two or three times a week did not make me a runner. It was still years before I would begin referring to myself as a runner.
But this weekend I started to realize that running and fitness has become such a part of my life that it is hard to separate from the rest.
We had a crazy busy weekend – graduation and graduation lunch on Friday, graduation party on Saturday and a New Cadet West Point Picnic on Sunday. Although I did take Friday off, on Saturday and Sunday I was up by five and out the door for my workouts. I knew that I would not make it through the day better if I did not get them in.
It is funny how this happened, the transition my running life has taken. In the beginning I ran to lose weight. Over the years my reasons have fluctuated from weight control, to overall health to mental health and back again. But what running has really become is a part of my life.
The t-shirts joke, “Run, Sleep, Eat, Repeat.” But when you become a runner, when it finally becomes a part of you, it is no longer a joke. For me, the running, biking and swimming have become almost as much a part of my life as eating, sleeping and breathing. It is what I do. It is what keeps me healthy. It is what keeps me sane. And in the end it is what keeps my life moving forward in the most positive ways possible.