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We've had this discussion in "other" places but I figure I'd rather have it with a civilized crowd. Reason I am asking is, I have been struggling a LOT lately with my identity as a runner, person who runs, whatever you want to call it, and I want to see, for YOU personally, NOT how you judge the running masses, which is the c**p you get at other running forums, what makes you call yourself a real runner? Is it speed? Distance? Racing? Your general lifestyle, i.e. an anally restrictive diet and no drinking the night before a long run? All or none of the above? And conversely, under what circumstances would you NOT define yourself as a real runner?

I'm still formulating my own definition but I want to see, for YOU yourself, what you all think. There are no right or wrong answers, as a wise friend told me recently, running is an individual sport, despite our attempts at making it social by group runs and races and running clubs and such, he says, when it all comes down to it, running is about YOU and no one else.

So what's it about for you, fellow runners?

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I run; therefore, I am a runner. :D Easy enough definition.
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So if you just went out and ran when you felt like it, didn't have a schedule, never raced another day in your life, didn't log your mileage or care about how fast or slow you ran, you'd still be a runner?

Bear with me, I'm making a point to myself here, not challenging what you said. :)
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Yup. I'm a runner. I've paid my dues in sweat and tennies, lol. I see it like this, Genie, it's something I do so why wouldn't I take credit for being what I am, a runner?
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I run, because I enjoy it. When it quits being enjoyable, I will no longer run and will no longer be a runner.
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Oh, and no one who doesn't run challenges this definition. And I've never ran into anyone who does run challenge it.

In my neighborhood they may not know my name, but have been referred to as "that runner, girl who runs all the time, and super girl (my favorite! LOL! I indulged this comment by buying a tshirt with the "S" emblem :!: ).

My husband's posse at work love to hear stories about his "runner" wife and the races I've run or how far I'm running now. See, there's definitely a runner identity going on here. :D
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Hmmmm...interesting food for thought. So, then why DO you do some of those things, race, track times, plan your schedule, etc, as opposed to just getting up and saying, I really feel like running today, let's go???? Not, it's Wednesday, and that means a track workout, or a 6 mile run....etc etc....

C'mon, gang...jump in here, I'm sorta doing a study of runners mindsets and am dying to know what people think.
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But what makes it enjoyable for you personally? The run itself, or the race achievements, or a little of both??
...digging....remember, I'm a psych student! ;)
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But what makes it enjoyable for you personally? The run itself, or the race achievements, or a little of both??
...digging....remember, I'm a psych student! ;)
I like the way I feel when I'm done as well as the personal achievement. I'm no front-of-the-packer, so winning races is pretty much out of the question. Just getting better and better personally does it for me.
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I'm thinking a new siggy is in order: Because I'm a RUNNER, dammit! I define myself as a runner because it's a large part of my life and because my overall mindset is different from someone who doesn't run. Going out to run daily. Trying to improve my times (albeit slowly). Going to bed early on Friday nights because I have to get up real early on Saturday morning for a long run. Delaying stuff to do on Saturday because of said long run. Eating specific things at specific times so they don't come back to visit me on a run. Having a certain type of language that is understood by other people who run (and pretty much not understood by people who don't run). Feeling out of sorts when I can't run, or when I take some time off. There's a saying that goes: Love me, love my dog. I think the same can be said about running: Love me, love my running. And running shoes, and stinky running apparel, and funny food and sleep habits, and traveling all over the country to go run, and this obsession with gadgets, and...
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"The difference between a Runner and a Jogger is an entry form." - George Sheehan.

I think it comes down to attitude. You are a runner because you say you are.
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I get up at 400 in the morning to do it
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I'm a runner because I make the time for it by getting up earlier than the rest of the world (except Cappy, he's up a half hour before me), I enjoy the health benefits it gives me and I like the competition.

I might not be a "real" runner because I could be a better runner if I paid closer attention to my diet and my training program. I'm working on these issues to some extent but don't want to get to the point that running totally consumes me. Too much else in life to enjoy in addition to running.
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I was thinking about posting a similar thread this morning except instead of runner, using athlete. Here's why I don't consider myself an athlete
  • When I file my taxes, I don't list 'Athlete' as my profession
  • I've never gone to school to be an athlete
  • I don't make any money being an athlete
  • My athleticism
  • [sp?] has never landed me a spot in the local paper
  • I rarely race
Don't get me wrong, I like/love training and like to talk about training and racing, but I don't necessarily feel that it makes me an athlete. I dunno, I guess I'm just a guy with a very consuming hobby. :shrug:
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Thanks, gang!! Your feedback is always helpful and it's neat to see inside other people's heads (which I am going to be doing for a living so it's good practice!) PH's attitude toward calling himself an athlete is kinda where I was and am trying to get away from, for my own sanity. Rob put it well.....I don't want to get to the point that running totally consumes me. Too much else in life to enjoy in addition to running. That's where I was getting, not that I'm good at it or fast, I'm not, but I have been making myself crazy for over a year pressuring myself about how much I suck. A very good friend has said that racing sucks all the joy out of running for her, and I am starting to agree. She just runs--however long she feels like that day, as far as I know she doesn't keep track of her time either. I too love running, lifting and other forms of exercise, and love talking about it, love hearing you guys talk about your goals and frustrations, and am perfectly willing to be supportive of that whether I am on the same wavelength with my life or not. Part of what worries me, I guess, is that I have identified myself with first Kick, then RF, for the past couple years, made a lot of friends, some very close, from those two places, which is good, but also got caught up in the better-stronger-faster mentality and drove myself batty trying to "keep up" with everyone. Part of me felt that if I stopped caring about running for anything but the sake of the run, and didn't work hard at getting faster, or racing more, that I wouldn't really fit in anymore, despite my desire to get back to running 35-40 a week which I WILL DO whether I ever race again or not. I know that probably sounds stupid but I am a "dog" person--I like the pack, rather than the solitary "cat" life. If I never raced again I think I'd be happier, but I wrestle with feeling like a slacker for just wanting to go for run and not worry about stats or improvement. Am I?

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