Am I a Runner Yet? (Hint: Yes, I Am.)

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What makes a person a runner?

It was just a typical Wednesday. I ran a few miles in the morning, went to work for a full day of writing apparel descriptions, discussing products with vendors, blog writing, and I was finally finishing off my hump day with some much needed zen at a local yoga studio (namaste!). Before my weekly yoga class starts each evening, the ladies and I usually chat about our jobs, our love lives, and any juicy girly gossip that we feel is relevant and/or earth shattering. That evening we were in a particularly steamy chat about The Good Wife, while the girl on the mat next to me asked me how my new job was going.

I responded that things were going well, that I was starting to feel more assimilated to running culture, but that I always feel like I have so much more to learn. A nearby mat chimed in: “Oh wow, you’re a runner, too?”, and judging by her slim frame and toned bod I could tell she was probably her high school’s track star before moving to the coast for college. I replied, lowering my voice, “Umm, I don’t know if I would consider myself a runner… I’m trying to be one.”

One of the moms in my yoga class, who often offers her wise advice, abruptly stopped her conversation about The Good Wife to but in. “Well, do you run?” “Well… yes. I try to run each morning…” I trailed off. “Honey, if you run, you’re a runner,” she asserted with no hesitation.

It hit me. I am a runner. There’s no level I have to achieve to be allowed to call myself a runner. I don’t have to wait until running seems easy (spoiler alert: I’m told that never happens). I don’t even have to run a 5k or half marathon to qualify. And what’s even better? I don’t have to have that “runner’s body” which intimidates me so much. I wasn’t born with a body that was built to be super swift and speedy, but I’m happy with the body I’ve got. And gosh darnit, this body runs.

John Bingham sums it up well: “If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” So whether you run every once in a while to stay in shape or you are training in hopes to qualify for the Olympics… we are all runners.