A Runner by Any Other Name

“I often hear someone say I’m not a real runner. We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner.” — Bart Yasso

I successfully did a pace of 12:00/mile for all of about a minute the other day.  This would be the fastest that I have ever run. Ever.  Yesterday, I did 2.03 miles, which is my longest distance.  I’m averaging a pace of about 13:57 through my runs.  Not shabby, but not fast.  The longest time that I have run consecutively so far is five minutes.  And I could only do that once during the entire first day of Week 4 on Couch-to-5k. It asks you to do two runs of five minutes.  I broke up the second run into two different parts.

Five minutes is the longest run I’ve done in my whole life.  It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t easy. Of course, I also felt that way about running three minutes at a time, but that seems like nothing compared to the five! Watching the other people around me running for tens of minutes at a pace much higher than mine could be discouraging.  Sometimes it is.

The title “runner” seems like an achievement. When do you get it?  After your first race?  When you can successfully run for more than five minutes? When your pace reaches a certain level? Or does it start with intention?  The most recent example of this I can think of is Kevin Smith.  He has repeatedly said that he started out as a filmmaker by acting like one first.  So maybe that’s how you become a runner.  You get up every day, you put on your shoes, and you go.  Whether you feel like a runner or not every time, no matter the pace, if you’re behaving as a runner… It’s the old “if it walks like a duck and talks like duck bit,” right? And of course this can apply across the board in your life: to get that promotion, you act like the job you want.  To do anything that requires practice to become, you practice and then you are that thing.  Maybe it sneaks up on you in the middle of the night.

So the quote above has become kind of important.  I’m not fast. I’m not going very far. But I’m going.  Almost every day. That seems like something, maybe even something a runner might do.

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C25k/Minimalist Running Status

A quick little update for anyone interested in how the Couch-to-5k is going.

I have stuck with restarting the program with the new shoes. I made it through the first week again and have started on the second. The biggest issue I’ve faced so far is my calves have been burning. Still no problems with my feet hurting (though I did rub my heel raw one day) or anything else, really. Today I even noticed decreased pain in some of the places that normally hurt (e.g. my knees).  I have continued to use the Merrells at work on and off. It doesn’t seem to be a great idea to use them all 8 hours, but they feel good for a much longer time than expected.

Oh! And one of the best parts: I’ve increased my run pace, which has also helped increase my distance. I got all the way down to 13:20.  Part of what inspired me to try harder and go faster was an article with the following:

Learn how to define what’s truly hard for yourself. “Many athletes look to coaches or formulas to tell them what hard is by heart rate, pace, or percentage of VO2max. Hard is hard. You run hard. Until you connect to that, you will not run as fast as you want to; you’ll run as fast as someone tells you to go.”

Run hard. Simple, right?