I call myself a runner. But not a Runner. Because a Runner doesn’t walk, I think. But a runner does. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say a jogger. Or a jogger/walker.
Why the concern about labels? I don’t know. I have a 10K race next week that I’m nervous about running, but there’s no reason to be nervous because I know I’ll finish. Even if I have to walk for part of it. It’s not as if there’s any chance I’ll win. Not even my age group. These runners are crazy fast.
I’m a member of the local running club and I was perusing the newsletter they sent me. There was a two-mile race I’d missed when I was on vacation in July, and they had photos of the winner. They said her time was 12 minutes and some seconds. I remember thinking, How did she win that if she ran 12 minutes a mile? I run faster than that. Then I realized, Ohhhhh…that’s how long it took her to finish the entire race. Basically she ran six minutes a mile. Hot damn. That’s fast. There’s a guy runner who finishes 5k races in, like, 17 minutes. It borders on superhuman to me.
On the other side of the spectrum, I’m happy if I break a ten-minute pace. Anything below a ten-minute pace is like me embodying the roadrunner. I’m even happier if I can run most of my distance without stopping to walk. I don’t know why that’s a thing for me, this idea that real runners don’t walk. Maybe elite runners don’t. Maybe race winners don’t. But I’m neither of those things. I run to challenge myself and keep my body in motion, and to feel good, which I do after each run.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d like to imagine that becoming a winner of races is within my scope of possibility. If I worked harder, I know I’d improve…enough to win a race? Probably not. I’m a firm believer that any body can run, but I have to be honest when I say my body is not exactly an ideal runner’s body if one wants to win. I’m heavy and lumbering and thick with a short stride. But aiming for an age-group win could be possible. Maybe when I’m in the 70s age group. (Though there are some super fast seniors out there, too.)
But that would be a lot of work. I think I’m motivated enough to do it. But first I need to take a nap.