As I was out riding around town to do a few errands today, an employee @ Walgreens asked me a question that got me thinking and chewing on it for the rest of ride. Picking up some photos of Colorado, the photoshop employee looked at me: sweaty, probably stinky, with my camelbak and bike helmet dangling, and said" "Are you a marthoner?" Now this girl didn't look like she could run a mile let alone a 100 yards unless there was a slurpee and $5 pizza waiting for her, but I had failed to notice that I had thrown on a trail marathon shirt and was caught off guard.
My mind was working really hard, and then it came out, "Yeah." No, no no, i thought, aren't I more than that? What if I said I am a ultramarthoner too? Would she even know what that meant? How about I ran a 3 hr 24 min marathon earlier this year and maybe hope to qualify for Boston? Wait, I've got one "Dirt 3 hr 24 min marathoner Dawg, 50 mile participant this weekend? Instead, I handed over my debit card, got the pics and left.
However, as i started rolling towards my next destination, it got me thinking, "What do you call yourself?" When you meet people do you introduce yourself as a: runner,
5ker, 10ker, half marathoner, etc? How do you make that distinction? Is it based on what you are training for and hope to achieve or what you have just done? Today, I had said I was a marthoner, this weekend an ultrarunner, and in a few weeks a 5ker as I push dirrty feather. Some say the difference between a runner and a jogger is an entry blank or 10 min per mile and under.
Lately, I have been thinking it has more to do with a lifestyle. A rambling from Running into the Sun about a guy who ran like 5 miles and then the Boston marathon as a bandit had her all in a tither as she describes the training schedule she is deeply committed to that will produce a likelihood of great success for her come October. That is why I can with all good faith call myself and Running into the Sun, a runner. A concscious, purposeful decision to lead a lifestyle that will allow us to see the Earth as quickly or slowly over roads and trails with ease. What do you call yourself?