Progress: Am I Becoming a Runner?

First of all, what does it even mean to be a runner?

Is it someone who posts selfies running along the beach while they’re supposed to be on vacation (Dominic)? Not only am I jealous of the background, but I’m also a little envious of how great this guy looks after running 4 miles. After just a quarter of a mile I look like a hot mess. I’m talking beat red face, hair sticking up from every angle, sweat dripping off of too many areas of my body. I’m a really attractive runner.

Morning Run Along Florida Coast. Photo Credit: Dominic Aloia

Morning Run Along Florida Coast. Photo Credit: Dominic Aloia

Or is it someone who wakes up an hour early to get a quick 2 miles in before they start their day (Aspasia)? I heard the alarm go off and felt the gentle tug on my shoulders asking if I wanted to join, but I still couldn’t find the motivation to leave the comfort of our bed. I need to start finding it though. I woke up 30 minutes later to a breathtaking photo of the city skyline and was actually jealous. Maybe jealous is the wrong word. Inspired. I was inspired to try and start my day along the Hudson with the cool breeze waking me up naturally before the pot of coffee.

Morning Run Along Hudson River. Photo Credit: Aspasia Kalomoiri

Morning Run Along Hudson River. Photo Credit: Aspasia Kalomoiri

I can tell you what a runner definitely is not. It’s not someone who runs a mile, then another mile, and then two and a half(!), and then takes 1-2 weeks off. I’m still in my “off.” I tell myself I’ll go for a run tonight after meeting up with a friend for a drink, but I think we all already know how that one is going to end. I’ve heard it takes 21 days to form a habit though, so maybe I just need more time.

A runner is not someone who hates every stride, every mile, and who can’t make it past 2.5 miles. It doesn’t matter how great my music is or how much I want to keep up with/impress my running partner, I will want to quit. I will think you are absolutely crazy (and lying) when you smile, act like you’re having fun, and brag about the endorphins that will just make you feel so AWESOME after this! Again, they all say this starts happening after the 3-mile mark. So I suppose I’ll keep pushing.

But maybe a runner is someone who is inspired by those around her and someone who refuses to give up just yet. Maybe it’s someone who starts to craft running playlists (full of mostly 80s hits), signs up for 5-mile races (Pride Run, June 27), half marathons (Brooklyn, October 10), and full marathons (Athens, November 8). These dates are real. They are paid for, making it harder for me to back out of. Fortunately? Unfortunately?

Maybe a runner is someone who starts investing in the proper equipment: compression calf sleeves, actual running shoes, a running belt for all of my annoying diabetic things. I’m hoping some sleek cool running gear will help that near-death feeling my legs and feet seem to be feeding up to my brain.

But you know what, labels don’t matter. Straight/Gay. Healthy/Diabetic. Non-Runner/Runner. Whatever. Hopefully a runner can be someone who wants to get up and run while the sun rises for that perfect Instagram. Or complete a marathon for a bucket list.

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