I Am Not (Really) a Runner

Well, it’s taper time.  Only 13 days left until my marathon.  I took it easy this weekend with a fast six-mile run on the trail near my house.  There are still a few decent workouts scheduled for the remainder of my training, including a 10-miler at qualifying pace, but nothing even close to what I’ve been doing recently.

Runners will tell you that they hate taper time.  They can’t stand being inactive for two weeks.  It makes them antsy.  By the time marathon day rolls around, they’ve driven themselves (and sometimes their family members) crazy.

For me, it’s like Christmas.  Two-to-three-hour blocks of time become mine again, sleepless nights before long runs cease.  Aches and pains, blisters, and chafing all get a chance to heal.  When I know that I’m doing all I can to prepare for my marathon by not training, I couldn’t be happier.

This is just one reason why I contend that I am not a runner.

Sure, by any literal definition, I am one.  In two weeks I’ll have run my sixth marathon, and just maybe I’ll have qualified for Boston.  But when I line up at the start amongst all the real runners, I’m going to feel like an imposter, just like every other time.

I don’t love running like they do.  I don’t do it to unwind, to have some time to myself, or because of some mysterious runner’s high they tell me exists.  I don’t have many runner friends.  I don’t spend much time shopping for running shoes, craving new running gadgets, or reading running books.  If I don’t have a race scheduled, I can’t get myself out the door to run.  And, as I said in my very early post How to Not Hate Running, I just don’t like it all that much!

I run for two reasons.  I run to stay in shape, and I run because there is something in me that gets a major rush from training to do things I think I can’t do.  For me, that part of it is extremely rewarding, and that’s where my passion comes from.  After Boston, whenever it happens, there will be something else.  Maybe a 50-miler, maybe a triathlon, something.  It will surely involve running, but it won’t be about running.

Lindsay is a runner.  Mel is a runner.  I am not (really) a runner.

Go Here!

  • If you haven’t checked out my interview in “The Extreme Self” yet, do it!  The same old me, made to seem awesome!
  • I’m really excited to announce the start of a new series of posts on Health Blog Helper, called Behind the Blog.  Each week, Alison from Mama’s Weeds will interview popular bloggers to find out what they’ve done to make their blogs so great.  This week, it’s Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point!


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  1. You have more determination and dedication than any non-real runner I’ve ever met! Regardless of you motives, thanks for running and for sharing your experiences with the blogworld. Good luck!
    .-= saundra´s last blog ..Squash, Anyone? =-.

  2. This made me laugh 🙂 You will always be a true runner to me! Not everyone has to fit in the “mold”- in fact those that break it are usually the most successful!
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..Weekend in Pictures =-.

  3. Is it rude to blatantly disagree w/ someone on their own blog? You are TOTALLY a runner. That’s the beauty of running–it can be so simple. Lace up the shoes and go! Now of course some of us (like me!) need an iPod, a Garmin, special insoles, and on and on. But theoretically anybody can do it. That’s the great thing about running. But not everyone can do what you are doing (if I was being chased by a bear I could not run as fast as you!), so you should absolutely bask in the glow of the title ‘runner’.
    .-= Allie Katie´s last blog ..I could get used to this!! =-.

  4. This was actually (in a weird way) refreshing to hear. If even you don’t “like” running or consider yourself to be a “runner”, maybe there’s still hope for me. 🙂

  5. haha, I love that. ‘I don’t consider myself a runner’. I totally look at you as one of the most awesome runners I ‘know’. 😀 Good luck in your next marathon! Qualifying is exciting stuff.
    .-= Whit´s last blog ..Summer’s End =-.

  6. When stress gets too much for me, I take my dogs and go for a short run to unwind. I am not a runner. You have all the discipline and determination. You are a true runner, even if you don’t love it. You are an inspiration for alot of people!
    .-= meatlessmama´s last blog ..15 Tips For New Vegetarians =-.

  7. Ha, I like this post! I’m sort of the opposite. I love to run and I definitely get a high. 😉

    But I can’t do long distances very well anymore (I did a half once and a couple of 10 milers) so that made me think I wasn’t a “real” runner. I guess I might just be after all!

    Have a great day!
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Back on track =-.

  8. Very interesting. And very truthful. Now that you are no longer an imposter, you can feel true to yourself as you pass all the non-imposters on your way to qualifying for Boston!

  9. I’m also a running not runner, but races have the opposite affect on me. The few times that I’ve signed up for a race I’ve instantly become so anxious about the event that I do everything in my power to avoid thinking about it and this means avoiding training! Whereas if I’m just running for myself, I get up every day and do it happily. So weird what works for different people.

    That said, I’m impressed by your drive to qualify for Boston. It’s very inspiring!

    .-= J.´s last blog ..Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake =-.

  10. I stumbled across your blog looking for veggie recipes 3 or 4 months ago and I have been reading it daily ever since.
    It has taken me a long time to feel okay with posting onyour site because of a few reasons, 1.I am not a blogger, 2.I am only very recently a vegetarian (only for 2 weeks,due to Michael Pollan books, Movies like the Corporation and Food Inc, a learned conscience for ALL animals lives, and your blog)and 3.I am not a runner. So I felt I had very little credibility when it came to chatting about your posts.
    But yesterday, with the reading of your blog and a book I hope you have read or will read, I went on my first jog in years.
    I read the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall in two days this weekend, Friday and Sunday, and it made me want to post for the first time on your blog. The story is so inspiring and I think it might be a great read right before your big qualifying run. Or if you have already read it, I would love to hear about some of your favorite parts. Sorry for the long post, it’s my first time. Thanks. Oh and great link to the Michael Pollan article! It was awesome!

    • JJC, I’m so glad you commented. You don’t need to be any of those things to comment, it’s fun to hear from anyone. And it’s great to hear that you became vegetarian and ran partly because of my blog; hearing stuff like that really is the best part of doing this. I’m going to read Born to Run soon, thanks! Comment again soon. 🙂

  11. You are THE runner! Motivation is unique for everyone. In your case, I would also call you an achiever and a striver. And a veggiesaurus rex. I just made that last part up.

    Flattered that you consider me a runner in comparison Matt!
    .-= Mel @ She Runs Brooklyn´s last blog ..NYC Fall Weekends Mean Good Running =-.

  12. I’m not a runner either. We are simply people who run!!
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..Press Play: 40 Winks =-.

  13. Haha I feel the SAME way about running.

  14. Hi, NMA. I want to give a “shout out” to Alison from Mama’s Weeds. I made her black bean burger recipe tonight and it was terrific! So quick, easy and inexpensive. I added green pepper and onion. Even dad thought it was great. He said, “yum!”

  15. I am starting my taper right now, too, for my marathon on 10/11.
    It drives me nuts, too! Makes me feel like I am not “practicing” enough and could “lose” my ability as a runner.
    .-= Angie´s last blog ..Rocky Road Candy =-.

  16. psssh whatever. you are too a runner! i *say* i will enjoy a taper for all the extra free time but somehow i never feel like i get that free time…

    thanks for the shoutout and for calling me a real runner! that was awesome 🙂
    .-= lindsay´s last blog ..a little sweat ain’t never hurt nobody =-.

  17. I’m getting ready to run my 5th marathon, hoping to qualify for Boston, and feel EXACTLY the same way. Really wish I had that runner’s gene where life just doesn’t make sense unless I run. Nope – I’m just as happy to be on the couch which is why, like you, I need a goal to get me out the door. Feels good to know someone else feel the same way.

  18. i can totally relate – a lot of the time, i don’t feel like a runner. i mean, you to me are a runner. however, i guess we are all runners whether we consider ourselves them or not – like everything, we all run for different reasons and get different satisfaction out of it. doing what works for us keeps us running, so in fact, i think we are both runners!

    did any of that make sense? i think i even confused myself 🙂
    .-= Holly´s last blog ..(Under)achiever =-.

  19. I hear ya. While I have been enjoying running lately my real motivation is the 1/2 Marathon I have coming up. Yesterday was a horrible day, I felt like crap and cut my run short and was totally fine with it.

    As the aches and pains kick in I wonder why I keep on. Maybe I will take some recovery time after my 1/2. Or if it’s recommended I should likely do it before?
    .-= Caleb´s last blog ..Smoothie Tuesday – Mango Banana Bliss =-.

  20. Great post. I would consider myself a non-runner as well. I don’t really have the “runner” body. I run because it enjoy it (well most of the time) and it gets me into shape. You are an inspiration to so many individuals who run and eat a clean diet with no meat! I hope I can do the same for people. Good luck with your race!
    .-= Lori – pure2raw´s last blog ..What are the best – Snacks for kids =-.

  21. Hi!

    I LOVE your blog. I am also a vegetarian, and also I am not (really) a runner. Although, I finished my third marathon last month. I can relate to this post exactly though!! Everything-I run only to prepare for races (mostly half marathons and marathons), I love tapering, I don’t get all stir crazy when I don’t run, I don’t spend too much time reading running books…. Anyway, your blog is great. I’ve already bought a technical shirt for another veggie running friend and asked for one for Christmas for myself. My boyfriend is also a marathoner, but not a vegetarian, although eats a lot of veggie meals with me. He hopes to run a 50 miler one day as well. I introduced him to your blog, we’ll cross our fingers that he crosses over to the no meat athlete side 🙂 Keep up the great writing. I love that you are spreading the no meat athlete word.

    • Thanks Deveree! And thank you also for buying a shirt! We do sound alike with the “not a runner” thing. Although since my last marathon I’ve taken a different approach (trail running, more running with other people, more slow miles) and I’m really enjoying it a whole lot more.

      Convert that boyfriend!

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