by Frazier Krugerud, Red DIrt Staff
The title ‘Runner’ is both a blessing and a curse for individuals who have it. Once someone describes another person as a runner, or even when someone introduces someone as a runner, certain expectations follow. Ideas are placed into your head since the title ‘runner’ seems to define a person that can be identified by a quick glance at their appearance. Perhaps other characteristics are placed as one tries to generate a runner in their imagination. Some people may think runners only discuss running topics such as races, running shoes, practice, their choice of nutrition, miles ran, running goals, and that these runners are often seen talking to other runners about said topics.
Today's blog post will address the title "runner" and how that title is earned. I want to make it clear that I believe the title "runner" is an accomplishment and as soon as someone earns that title, it will continue to be a piece of who they are unless that individual decides otherwise. This title is an honorable way to describe someone because running is a practice, contest, and performance, one that takes time and dedication to understand. Those who see running as a waste of time and energy, or a pointless activity that's not a real sport, have not yet committed themselves to the practice of running and therefore, they do not understand running or the admirable title.
For those who exercise a few times a week, walk, run occasionally, or partake in a few races, but do not feel that they are a runner, I can say with certainty you have earned the Runner title. For those who still may doubt my certainty, I have created a list of runner characteristics that you may connect with.
1. Your response to "why do you run?" is different each time someone asks.
2. Your response to "is running fun for you?" is usually an eye roll or a silent scream.
3. You stop asking yourself why you run after you run.
4. You find yourself wanting another pair of new running shoes instead of any other shoes.
5. Stickers on cars that have seemingly meaningless numbers pull at your heart strings.
6. You are familiar with the face your friends give you after they ask you to dinner, but you turn down the invite, explaining that you have to get to bed early for your morning workout the next day.
7. You expect your friends to ask many questions about your workout. You are sad when they don’t.
8. You want to talk about your workouts even if your friends don’t ask.
9. You expect a stream of questions from someone who doesn't know you about your questionable messy hair choices, but anyone who knows you won't think anything of it.
10. Your clothes smell like sweat, but you haven't noticed yet.
11. Your wardrobe is mostly workout clothes.
12. If your wardrobe is not mostly workout clothes, you wish it was.
13. You feel guilty when you skip a workout.
14. Missing a day from your workout routine ultimately means death, or at least you feel it will.
15. Toenails continuously fall off, and your feet should really be viewed from a safe distance, or with protective eyewear.
16. GU, energy chews, nuun, or power bars are craved.
17. Night/morning runs always seem like a good idea to fit in a workout in your busy day.
18. Night/morning runs have been life threatening in the past, and require ample lighting, headlamps, flashlights, blinkers, a siren, and a helmet.
19. Waking up before the sun is hard. You hit snooze 4 more times and promise yourself that you will run tonight instead.
20. You know what sweat tastes like.
21. You know what paths to take when you have a specific distance in mind.
22. Practice with a friend can quickly become a rival activity.
23. Workout time is the part of your day you look forward to most.
24. You cannot begin to explain why you like your workout when asked, so please don't ask.
25. You have a trusty side-kick water bottle that's lucky, and even luckier when it's not washed and covered with grass and mud.
26. You know where each water stop is on any given route.
27. Some part of your body hurts at any given time.
28. Icy-Hot has saved your life more than once.
29. Those who don't practice or train with you, will never understand how much you value a good workout.
30. Bad workouts happen, and they suck.
31. Good workouts happen and make the entire dedication and effort spent worthwhile and boost your confidence.
32. Those who you workout or train with know more about you than your significant other.
33. Those who you train with are basically family.
34. A solid relationship can be formed through training together.
35. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is your ideal mental confidence level.
36. You can easily start a conversation with anyone if that person is wearing the same brand of shoes that you also happen to be wearing.
37. You try to save your running shoes for just workouts, but quickly abandon that goal because they are comfy, your favorite shoes, and they clash with every outfit you own.
38. Brands, color, and lace length are the most important parts of the shoes when shoe shopping, even though you keep trying to tell yourself that fit is the most important.
39. You have a favorite race or workout outfit and that outfit has seen better days.
40. You know you should by new workout clothes but you don't want to sweat in them.
41. When someone buys you new workout clothes, you wear them as every day clothes before workout clothes. Because new workout clothes have to be shown off.
42. You have shins splints or plantar fasciitis, and it seems like it's here to stay.
43. There is only one place in town that you can count on to have everything you need for your workouts.
44. The people who work there recognize you or know you by name.
45. You took the time to read all of these characteristics, so you are probably a runner. :)