“You are a runner” was a simple statement made to me the second day I ran with Kevin. Kevin was my friend that started me running and helped me increase my miles and my obsession with running. He said those four words and I believed him even though I was just starting.
I believe those words even though I could barely run three minutes without huffing and puffing. I believed even those my legs ached and my clothes were not made to run in. I believed even though my shoes, although athletic shoes, we’re not running shoes and were a size too small for me to run in. I believed him even though it was winter and we were dodging ice spots and were running in the dark without headlamps or reflected gear. I believed even though after our three miles of running I was thirsty beyond anything I had felt in years. I believed him even though I was in the worst shape of my life. I was undisciplined, slothful, without physical fitness goals and without any idea of why I loved to run after only two runs.
Being a runner means running. The distance, speed, intensity, or difficulty of the run doesn’t actually determine whether or not a person is a runner or not. I was instantly a runner, but I wanted to not just complete runs, check off races, or meet running goals. My purpose was to live and be the statement that was shared with me on my second run. I wanted to become a runner over and over and over again. I never wanted to lose that drive. I never wanted to lose that passion. I never wanted to run to achieve, but rather I wanted to run to become. I wanted to run to experience. In my mind there is a constantly changing image of what a runner is and what it takes to become that person…. This is why I am constantly looking for the epic run.
Running to complete a marathon can create a very large sense of accomplishment and a sense of pride in setting and completing a goal, but it can also create within an individual a large let down after the run – even if the goal is met. The post-marathon blues are real. Then is a let down and a return to thinking “now what?”. I know quite a few people who have run a marathon to check off a bucket list item and then either run very little afterward or not at all. Running to lose weight can cause the same results. Once the weight is gone so is the running. To run for nothing else but the love of the run can produce these “what now?” results. Continuing to become is something that drives me to continue to be a runner.
Continuing to become also drives me to continue to be a cyclist….
And a salesman…
And a father… A husband… A friend….
Goals are great, but tactics are better. The journey is often more rewarding than the destinations, so in running and in life I try to make the journey never end. There are no end goals, but rather continuing goals that give me life and drive. There is always more to do. We can always run further or faster or in better locations or with loved ones or alone… We can make every run amazing if we realize we are runners and can continue to become runners over and over again by making every run epic.
Barely able to talk after my first run I was asked, “when do you want to run again?” I replied without thinking for a moment “Friday” which was two days away. Every journey begins with a seed of desire…. But grows as your add fuel to the fire.
Feed the fire.