Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I used to be "normal", now I'm a runner

Runner's ( not all, but some) see the world a little differently than other, non-running-obsessed people. For example, if someone found an extra $10 in their jacket what are some things they would do with that cash? My husband would buy a book (or candy), my sister would treat herself to an extra cup or two of her favorite Starbucks. Some other people I know might just add it to their weekly groceries. Me on the other hand, would make a mad dash to my favorite running store for a pair of my beloved Balega socks. In my defence, most people who have hobbies (or obsessions) prioritize parts of their life like this, right? Shopping in general has changed for me. I used to browse the cute and trendy clothes before I looked at anything else. But now I seem to be pulled to the fitness section of any store where clothing is sold by an invisible cord. I didn't notice this change in my shopping habits until I went shopping with my sister. We were trying to find a deal at the clearance rack when I was distracted by some bright colors across the isle. (yes, I'm aware that fish and birds are also distracted my bright colors.) I wondered over there to get a better look. What caught my eye was a variety of brightly colored sport bras. I was checking for my size and the price when I hear: "what do you think you are doing?You have seven perfectly fine sports bras but the one regular bra you have is falling apart! Get out of the fitness section right now!" I guess my sister had a point... Time is something we all struggle with. There's never enough time in the day to do everything on my list but I slip in workouts whenever possible. Many moms I know set the family dinner time to be before and/or after kids' activities, meetings, and other out of the house events. Our dinnertime is usually around 6:00. Luckily for my family that happens to fall during a time of day when we are either done or in between activities. The real reason behind the 6:00 dinnertime? If we eat around 6:00 then I will be ready for an evening run or cross training workout by 7:00. In the spring and summer that gives me a good hour of daylight to get in a run and I'll be done a couple of hours before I need to hit the sack. My vocabulary has changed since I became a runner too. Long runs, tempo run, speed work, hill work, pace work, minute/mile pace, those words didn't mean anything to me before. Now that I read, talk about and, of course, run these workouts they mean a lot. Most people I talk to don't know or care about these things but they patiently listen to me. Some times I catch their eyes glazing over but that's okay. That happens to me when my husband starts talking World of Warcraft. I have totally become a running nerd. I read Runner's World magazine cover to cover, I read books by runners, I even follow some elite runners on Twitter. When I'm out on a run I find myself planning my next run. Running is the last thing I think about before I fall asleep at night and the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning. I want to run all the time. I'm currently registered for two races and I ran a half marathon a just over a week ago. Most weekends on my calendar I have notes about local 5 and 10K's. Some of them I run and others I just think about running. I would love to run all of them but I would need to be independently wealthy in order to afford all of them. About half a dozen of those races I plan on running including another half marathon and, at the end of the year, a full marathon. (Please pray for me) I volunteered at at half marathon a few ago and that was a great experience. It was so much fun handing out water and electrolytes to the participants and cheering them on. I gained an all new kind of motivation. Every runner and walker should volunteer at least once or twice a year. Now I wonder, have I become the runner I am today? Or, have I finally embraced who I always was but was too out of shape be? I guess it doesn't really matter. The bottom line is,I am a runner. I am strong. I am healthy. Someone asked me recently when I knew I had become a runner. I told them it was on a cold and rainy Saturday. I had a long run scheduled that day and skipping it due to the weather never even entered my mind. On my run my legs were stinging from the cold rain slapping against my skin, the wind was freezing and I was wet everywhere. Any reasonable person would have been miserable and turned back after five minutes. Not me, I caught myself smiling during the run and I truly enjoyed every step and every mile of that workout. When I got home I was still smiling and I felt the change in me. That's when I knew I was a runner, an no longer "normal".

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