I had a wonderful weekend with family this past weekend. We enjoyed a festival and a great family race with the sister. I have come to realize I love racing with family. Even though my sister and I don’t technically race together, it’s enjoyable to have someone in the race with you.
The kiddos got into it cheering for us and running alongside us on the fence line. I was so proud of my sister for a 6 minute PR in the 5k distance within a month. She may not have been as impressed with her time, as she was comparing it to other’s time, but a 6 minute PR in a month and a half is huge.
It made me think about so many things, running related, after our race on Friday night. My mind has been wandering a lot lately. My sister doesn’t call herself a runner, because to her she’s not fast any more. Before she had kids she was faster than she is now, although she is slowly getting back to her pre-baby times. She took a long break from running and compares herself to others, mainly me.
There’s a major difference between the both of us: I ran through my pregnancy and have ran consistently with no breaks for years, she did not run through either pregnancies and basically took 2+ years off from running.
Because her times aren’t as fast as those winning the races or as she says me, she doesn’t call herself a runner. She’ll let you call her a recreational runner, but that’s as close as you’ll get (I don’t know the difference).
To me, it doesn’t matter the distance or the speed, if your running 2-3 days a week, you are a runner. There’s always going to be someone faster than you, or going farther than you, and it doesn’t make you any less of a runner. In fact, I hate it when I hear others say “Oh I am not a runner like you. I am not near as fast.” To be honest, I sometimes dread telling others my race times or achievements, because I hate that it can make others feel less excited about their own achievements and insignificant. There’s thousands, millions of people faster than me.
That’s what makes the running community so fun!! Most of us love hearing about others PR’s and goals, no matter the speed or distance. My sister took 2nd place for women, and even though she didn’t think it was anything significant I was bragging her up to everyone. She’d say “It was a small race” or “It was the first annual race” or “There was barely any other girls” and “You won.” 2nd place is still 2nd place, no matter the distance or the speed.
You don’t have to be an olympian, a professional runner, a subelite to be a runner. It’s anyone’s sport, and that’s why I love it so much. It’s the only sport where you can actually run the same race, the same day as other olympic runners. You can participate in the sport on a daily basis, without having to be a pro.
A marathon or a 5K isn’t any easier for someone fast or for someone slower. A marathon’s a marathon, and the course doesn’t recognize how fast or how slow you are. You don’t have to be a certain size either to be a runner, one I hear from others all the time.
I can even be like my older sister at times as well. I can begin to compare my times to others, and when others compliment my achievements, I think to myself “well so and so can run a 2:40 marathon….” I will say often to my husband “Well I am not fast compared to the olympians.” But lately, I have told myself, I run my own race, at my own ability, at my own speed. I set my own goals.
Speed and distance doesn’t define you as a runner, and it never should. Even if my sister never gets back to her pre-baby times, she’ll still be a runner. To me, those runners I see in races coming in when there’s no one left to cheer them in or the crowd is sparse, they are the inspiration. They are out there, pushing themselves and doing what they love, not worrying about how fast they are or aren’t going.
Those who may not have been gifted in running, like the professional runners are, but still continue to run because they love it, are just as much runners as the next person. If you look around you at races, you see individuals from all walks of life, in all different sizes, and running at all different speeds. Some more competitive then others (me), and others more fun then others (my sister).
Kiddos cheering us on
Everyone’s goals are different, but no less important than the next runners’ goal. That my friends is why I love running. It’s a sport for everyone. And even if you take a two year hiatus from running, you are still a runner.
My favorite part of the race was watching my sister come across the line with a new PR and a second overall finish. I knew she could run under her goal pace, and she did. She was happy with herself, and I think it gave her more encouragement. It was fast for her Friday night and that’s what should matter most.
(I ran a 18:12, and was burping up apple pie the entire way, but this race wasn’t about me. My sister’s achievement was way BIGGER!!)
Until Next Time Be Whole and Be Fit
What do you think defines a runner? Why do you like the running community? Thoughts?