Who am I?

Every time I say that I think of this guy

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If you’ve seen Zoolander, you know what I mean.

The other night during #fitblog, there was a question about what you consider yourself an expert on, in terms of nutrition and fitness. I racked my brain and I couldn’t come up with an answer.

And I couldn’t think of anything. I mean… I said that I know a lot about IT Band Syndrome, but I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on it. Or running, although I feel like I know a lot about that. And I’m not even close to an expert on nutrition.

But is it that I’m not an expert? Or that I just don’t feel like an expert? I also don’t feel like a runner. And I certainly don’t feel like an athlete. But I know other people see me that way.

Let’s rewind… Remember the President’s Physical Fitness Test? Every 8th grade girl’s dream. Just like everyone else, I ran my mile, did my situps, pullups, and other events. But I didn’t play any sports and didn’t exercise on a regular basis, other than running around and playing with my brother at home, so I didn’t have any goals, I just did it as a part of gym class. During my 8th grade graduation when they announced the academic awards, my family was at full attention, and happy when I got the Language Arts award. Later on, my mom told me that when they said they were going to announce the winners of the Presidential Physical Fitness Award, my family looked at each other and chuckled and said “well, that’s an award Michelle won’t get”. I was Brainy Smurf, not Sporty Spice.

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And weren’t they surprised when my name was the first one called?

When I got to high school, I tried out for volleyball and didn’t make the team freshman year, but I played for the other three years. I also played for a season and a half in college. I ran track freshman, junior, and senior year, and was even captain of the team in my senior year. (I think this was for my sportsmanship and leadership, because I was NOT a track star)

I think if we had done the fitness test again in high school, my family would have been surprised if I had NOT gotten it. Because I was an official athlete, after all. They thought so, and I definitely thought so.

Back to present day. I have run 19 races in the past 3 years, one of them being a half-marathon. I train for distance and speed where needed, eat specifically to fuel my body for long runs and races and am more competitive than I ever was in high school or college.

But I do not consider myself an athlete. Or barely a runner.

I think I associate “athlete” with someone playing an organized sport for a school. Even if I played in adult volleyball league now, I would just consider myself a grownup banging a ball around once a week. And I think of “runners” as people who run marathons, schedule their social life around training runs, and win their age group in races. I run, but I don’t know that I am a “runner”.

But after “wife”, the second thing posted on my Twitter profile is “runner”… so there must be some little part of me that thinks so…

Sometimes a friend will say to me “oh, so-and-so, she’s a runner, like you” and I want to correct them and tell them I’m not a runner. I’m just a girl who runs! But maybe I should be correcting myself.

Do you consider yourself a “runner”? Or an “athlete”? What defines those words for you?

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5 Responses to Who am I?

  1. I think anyone who runs is a runner! This excludes those who run once a month. This also exclude those who only run when they’re being chased. 😉

  2. Robyn says:

    It’s funny how words can define you. I definitely consider myself an athlete as I was one growing up and can master just about any land sport (i hate the water!). I now call myself a runner which is funny because up until recently I’d laugh at the thought!

  3. i would say if you run once a week, you’re a runner! the word “athlete” though…hmm….that’s a good question. when i think of athletes, i think of “training”, not just working out for fun or health. (in that case, no, i’m not one of those 🙂 )

    but you’ve run 19 races?? geez, if you’re not a runner i don’t know who is 🙂

  4. Not a runner. I have run at some points, but I’m not a runner. One day! 🙂

    You, my friend, are a runner!

  5. Girl, you are totally a runner!!! I actually still consider myself a runner, even though I’m taking a short hiatus from it to focus on other kinds of exercises. I call anyone who’s out there shuffling, putting one foot in front of the other, a runner. 🙂

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