My trainer asked how my run on Saturday had gone. I replied that it had been fine except that I was still feeling the effect of being sick, but that:
"I'm going to try for five miles this Saturday. Then I'll feel like a real runner again."Bullshit.
The fall of 2006 is a long time ago, but not so long ago that I don't remember how cool I felt when I was doing the Couch to 5K plan and could first run five minutes without a walk break, then 10 minutes, then 15 etc. And my feeling of accomplishment at crossing the finish line of my first 5K in 2007 was probably equal to that at the end of the first marathon. I definitely felt like a real runner, whatever that even means.
It was a cool feeling the first time I ran 5 miles, and added new personal distance records after that, but I ran two full seasons of 5Ks before ever running, much less racing, any distance longer than 3.1 and I definitely thought of myself a real runner during those two years.
Sure, I'm frustrated right now that some pretty minor injuries have given me a pretty big setback. I'm looking forward to getting back to miles 5 and above. But there's no reason to be an elitist jerk about it.
I didn't mean any ill-intent by my remark and I don't think anyone was offended (and none of you would have known about it if I hadn't told you!), so I don't write this as an apology, but just because it made me think as I considered what I'd said.
So, I ask you, my readers, how far or how much did you have to run before you thought of yourself as a runner? In my case, I'd say it wasn't yet when I first started the Couch to 5K, when the one-minute intervals of running were really, really awful, but I would say it was at a point before I'd ever ran my first 5K (which was also the first time I'd run three miles).
There are probably people who would say there are right and wrong answers to these questions. Despite my stupid remark on Sunday, I'm not one of them. I think that if someone thinks of him/herself as a runner, they are one. There's no speed or mileage requirements for this club.