Friday, April 22, 2011

Identity Crisis

I'm having an identity crisis. A runner's identity crisis, that is. Lately I've been thinking (that sounds so Carrie Bradshaw of me) about what it means to be a "runner" and if I am one. Although I've been running since January, have got 10 mile race under my belt and have a half marathon in my near future, I'm still a bit confused about what it all means.

This confusion has lead to a bit of paralysis. Although it would probably do me a whole lot of good,  I refuse to buy a watch that will track my distance and pace because deep down I'm afraid that this running thing might be just a fad. I won't even buy small ticket items that I need, like a waist belt to hold my keys and Gu. Instead, the other day I wore a vest on my hills run, which was completely inappropriate considering how warm it was outside. I almost died of heat stroke. I love Runner's World magazine, but I won't get a subscription because I'm afraid it won't be relevant to me six months or a year from now. And I'm terrified to make any fall running commitments, because well, what if I fall off the running wagon this summer in all of the heat and humidity? If I had to define my relationship with running on Facebook, it would be "it's complicated." I seem to have some commitment issues.

What's also intimating is that I get the sense that runners have this unique identity- they even call themselves runners. Do people who cycle call themselves cyclists in casual conversation the way people who seriously run do? And what makes you a runner? Last night as we were driving through the city there were plenty of people out jogging. Which of those people get to call themselves runners? Is distance the qualifier or is it frequency? Or maybe it's entering and running races? I've called myself a runner before, but I'm not quite sure if this is actually part of my identity or just wishful thinking. Hopefully, my continued training and my half marathon will help shed some clarity. Otherwise, I'll forever be stuck in the "it's complicated" zone and never be able to proudly state that I'm in a long-term relationship with running.

1 comment:

  1. You should read the runner's world forums- this question comes up all the time! The overarching answer seems to be- if you run, you're a runner...but I agree that this can seem a bit simplistic!