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  • I love this post! Even though I’m not a runner, I definitely find myself getting burnt out on activities I do love and get nervous that I no longer have the passion to keep enduring. Fortunately it’s stories like this that always turn it around for me as well. There’s nothing more inspiring than reading and understanding how other people continue to be inspired.

  • YES I was trying to make sure people understood that the whole weekend is phenomenal to be around so much running love even if you aren’t there as a blogger!!
    glad you found your spark again and it was great to finally meet!

  • I love this post and it was so nice to meet a fellow vegetarian/vegan runner 🙂 I sort of found myself in a similar boat as you coming into this event and, like you, found that it re-fueled my love of running.

  • Awesome! Glad to hear you got your mojo back. I think we all go through those periods where we feel lackluster about running. It’s probably healthy.

  • LOVE this post, Matt! It was so great to meet you and all the other bloggers. What I loved most about this weekend was that it really felt like a celebration of running and the brotherhood of the running community, more than any other event I’ve attended. Glad you got your mojo back!

  • I know just how you feel with not feeling like a real runner. When for so many years competing in highschool and college it was all I ever knew. But now that I am married to a non runner and responsibilies and struggle with injuries, it has been hard to get back into running and even feel like a runner again. But I am determined. Thank you for your article. I will take it to heart.

  • Hey Matt,
    Glad you are getting some ink time. Ya we all go through the ups and downs. I feel guilty when I wear my NMA shirt and I know a few days earlier I had fish on grill and ice cream (I’m doing the best I can). I’m starting training for anither marathon and trying the Galloway wal;k/run method. Walking voluntarily during a training run or race is completely foreign to me. Will I still feel like the runner I used to be?

  • This gave me chills. Last year, I had nearly the same experience as you did at the Runner’s World weekend in Bethlehem. It completely changed me as a runner, a blogger and — not to be overdramatic — a member of our little fitness community.
    I really, really enjoyed hanging out with you this weekend and don’t worry — I’ll keep wearing my five NMA shirts around town to do all of the promotion for you.
    P.S. Next year, BEER PONG.

  • Wow, this brought tears to my eyes. I’ve been following your blog for years and have always thought of you as one of the “real” runners; you were also a real inspiration for me and my husband in adopting a plant-based diet. Never in a million years would I think that we shared the same feelings about not being a “real” runner. I was injured several years ago and had to stop running, and then work and depression took over. In the last few months I’ve been getting back out there, and now I’m doing a program on RunKeeper (Sub-65min 10k). I might be slow, it might not be a marathon or a half I am training for, but this time feels more real, doing the thing I love. I am happy for you that you got that feeling back this weekend.

  • I didn’t read my RW until I got home, but I was so excited to see you in there! I wish you’d told everyone, so I could have gotten you to sign it for me 😉 Anyway, as a fellow introverted blogger, I, too, appreciated Mark Remy’s thoughts on it. What a great weekend. So nice to meet you!

  • Dear Matt,
    I loved seeing your name and ingredient photos for your electrolyte drink in the new RW. Why did you get photos when the others didn’t? Because they look way better than a bottle full of red and blue dye. It was perfect timing for me because I am up to 10 miles in your NMA half marathon plan and it is crazy hot down here in Florida.
    So cool that you hung out with Bart Yasso. He is the guy I always think of when I hear anyone mention not being a real runner. He gets it.
    “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

  • My wife and I were involved in multiple Runner’s World Challenges and have both appeared in some of their print products. The crew there are very much a part of our love of running. Mark Remy, Jen Van Allen, Bart Yasso, Amby Burfoot, David Wiley and all the others, plus other challengers all made us feel exactly as you say, like a real runner despite my doubts.

  • From someone who has been following your blog, read your book and followed your training plan I always considered you an awesome runner! Everyone was lucky to meet you at Heartbreak Hill and I hope to meet you some day. 🙂 Thank you for all your info and honest sharing. Congrats on your RW article!!!

  • Glad your back to running! But you don’t have to feel as though your a runner. Running as we know it is so mass marketed and unfulfilling. I run on trails 8-15mi about five to six days a week, and when people ask me if I am a runner, I usually say I am a trail enthusiast. I don’t like being labeled a runner, because then the next question is, do you marathon! NO, NO ROAD STUFF. Hate it, Just the thought of running with thousands of people on flat roads sounds terrible. Give me a mountain to run up alone in peace, being present in nature. Be the runner you want to be. Not what’s expected of you. It’s your run!

  • Loved the article, though I find it sad that anyone who runs, doesn’t feel like a ‘real runner’.
    Maybe we compare ourselves too much in this world or put expectations and labels so grand, that to be anything but, means we are inferior and not ‘true’.
    I run, therefore I am a runner. You run, therefore you are a runner. Anyone who puts the time / dedication required to regularly run, is a runner. No matter how fast or slow, how far or what records and goals we beat, make or have yet to…. we are still runners. 🙂
    I do however like the label of ‘trail enthusiast’! I love trails and solitude.
    Simply run and run simply is my favorite saying.

  • What I will take away from this post is that my getting back into a running routine won’t happen by reading blog posts. What you said about making running your priority. That was what I needed to hear. And I agree with the previous comment. You run, therefore you are a runner. Thanks – been getting your mails about 2 years now – Hi from Cape Town!

  • It was great seeing you again this weekend. 🙂 Proud to be a fellow runner, no matter how fast or slow!

  • I was very impressed to see your name in RW along side of the best of the best! You’ve been a great inspiration to many people, myself included. Congratulations!

  • I’m so glad you told us about the article bc I hadn’t had a chance to look at my RW yet. I whipped it out right away, though! Super cool! Congratulations!

  • I blog about death and grief, so running (I use the qualifier “for fitness,”) reminds me fresh air is one of life’s best freebies. Great post, Matt!

  • Love the honesty in your writing. So easy to identify with. Maybe everyone except the greats (and even maybe them) struggles with what it means to be a “real” runner. I used to think that if you didnt run at a fast enough speed, then youre really not a runner. Then I thought if you didnt go far enough, then you werent a really runner. After reading your article, I have to conclude that my definition of what a real runner is – is whatever I havent achieved yet. Funny…I guess I was a real runner all along.

  • Thanks for sharing. I have the same complex, never feeling like a “real” athlete or a “real” blogger and sometimes hesitating to put myself forward for jobs or events because I feel I’m not legitimate enough. I’m glad you have fallen back in love with running, and I’m grateful you shared your thoughts with us.

  • Great post, thanks. I struggle with running motivation when life gets chaotic and have been on a break from races since my last half a few months ago.

  • I am not sure it matters how you get across a finish line, as much as it does why you started the race. You mentioned feeling like a fraud, posted your time of 1:48 and somehow conveyed that you were “let down”. Making running about time or comparing yourself to the company you keep makes no sense, (to me anyway). You run, because you run. I have always felt that your story was about how changing your diet and running changed your life. Not a PR in a race. No disrespect, I guess I just think that your article title spoke to falling back in love with running; but seemed to be about wishing you could be faster, or that you somehow did not belong. I think that this may be a “male thing” – we all do it, but usually men compare how much money we make to equate success; but not happiness. Maybe next time, stop running, spend an hour, (or a day), playing beer-pong and realize that you have brought yourself to a moment, (through your great writing and inspiration to many), where you can actually go to Boston, interface with some great people, see a historic city and be doing something you love. Again, no disrespect, it is just that most of your articles are more uplifting or inspiring to everyday people, to those of us who get up, go to work, pay the bills, and do our best to make healthy eating choices while we do our best to “get a run in.” Keep up the great stuff, and never forget, it is all great. Even a DNF means you gave it a go.

  • Thanks Matt. This post comes at exactly the right time for me. I too ran the Heartbreak Hill Half last weekend, with a 1:47 and change finish time, 10 minutes off of my PR. I have a number for NYC, and need to get motivated to start training, especially if I want to hit my goals.
    I skipped the festival and the seminars. Now I see that I shouldn’t have. I do wish I had known that you and Jason would be in town. I would have made more of an effort to get there.

  • Awesome post, Matt. I too have gone through similar episodes throughout my training “career”, and it’s great to see insights from other people’s perspectives on how to get out of the “I don’t belong” slump. The thing that has helped me the most during such times is to take a step back and reassess why I’m running in the first place. Often times, I’ll find that my original reason–do it because I love it–has been replaced with something less secure (such as do it so I can beat the guy next to me). Your post helped me reinforce this concept at a time it was needed. Thanks!

  • Running love really excites me ..when i first saw the title i was like this will be some kind of ordinary life experience ..but after reading your post i am like fully charged !!
    Thanks for the awesome piece ..

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