I had to run an errand for an attorney at work today, and when I got to the destination, I was sent down to the mail room, which happened to include several stairs and a winding maze. Upon arriving to the mail room, I asked a lady that was there what I was supposed to do with the envelope that needed to be routed to an attorney. I then apologized for seeming ignorant as “I’m not a runner, I’m a paralegal”. From a law firm perspective, a “runner” is someone that delivers packages/mail on behalf of the law firm. This comment hit me as I left and I have decided to use it as the title of this blog entry because it struck me that I am, in fact a runner, just not a runner in the sense that I meant to the lady in the mail room. My purpose at that point to say I wasn’t a runner but a paralegal, was to just highlight why I was so confused as to what to do with the package, since I’m not accustomed to delivering such items to a mail room. It struck me that I could relate this to the person that just picked up running, and is confused by the way to improve, to properly breathe, proper form when running, etc, and often may say “I’m not a runner”. To me, this is false because if you do any running at all, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how slow you are, how often you run, or how far you decide to go. Someone that chooses to run at all is a runner, regardless of experience, time, or distance. Let me give you a little background-which is something I will do intermittently throughout my blog. My intent is not to bore you with a lengthy explanation of my life in one entry, but to introduce things about myself as I go along…which, of course, will include running entries (just to warn you)!
I started running “competitively” if you could call it, in 1993, when I was in 7th grade. Back then we would run races such as the 200 meter, 400 meter, 800 meter, or 1 mile (1600 meter) at the most. I don’t even really recall the extent of our track practices, but I do recall winning ribbons for coming in anywhere from 1st-5th place back then. I think this was the beginning of the “everyone gets a trophy” era, though I don’t believe anyone that came in slower than 5th place would get a ribbon. In any case, I loved winning those ribbons and the feeling of accomplishment that it gave me! I had finally found a sport that I could actually do somewhat competitively!
Naturally, I joined the track team in high school as a distance runner, which essentially included running a mile during meets, along with the 800 meter run and sometimes the 400 meter run if there weren’t enough people available at the meet. High school relay runs were some of my favorite races, and typically I would run the 4×800 or, in rare events, the 4×1600 relay (a track meet typically wouldn’t have that type of race). If I got put into the 4×400 relay, it was super fast and I definitely felt my “slowness”…I was no sprinter, that was for sure! High school was when the awesome medals came into play! It sure was fun winning a medal at the end of a race! Some less fancy meets only passed out ribbons for those that placed, but it was still gratifying being able to see my hard work pay off like that! By my sophomore year, my faster middle distance running friend who had participated in cross-country our freshman year, convinced me to join the cross country team, and that was when I realized my love for longer distance running! After that year, I added the two mile run to my list of races during track meets in the spring season-those meets sure were busy and sometimes REALLY LONG. High school was a great time for me to learn how to become a “trained runner”. When I say this, I mean simply having a coach to show me the proper form, proper breathing, and proper pacing when necessary. Having this background has helped me become the runner I am today.
Well, it is getting late, and I am exhausted. I managed to make it to the gym tonight thanks to my wonderful husband who agreed to handle bedtime for our three children while I was able to attend Body Pump class and get a 10 minute run in after. Since completing my latest half marathon (10/29/17) I have lowered my weekly mileage and focused more on strength training and speed. My goals for 2018 include an official PR in the 5k and 10k, and no half marathons so I can have more of a balance between running and time with family (those “long runs” when training for a half are quite time-consuming). When I say “official PR” I mean recorded by an organized road race. But more on all of that later.