What it Means to be a Runner

10 Jun

The entire reason that I had my surgery (besides the fact that sometimes I couldn’t unbend my leg) was to be able to get serious about being a runner. So this year I’ve done a lot of thinking about what it means to be a runner. How long, how far, how fast, how often… what are the qualifications and parameters one must meet to call themselves a runner?

I’ve always been of the school of thought that if you move yourself on your feet without walking, you’re running. But there are those out there who believe that you are only running if you are hitting a certain pace. I’m not exactly sure what that pace is, but I am pretty sure that it’s a lot faster than the 11-minute miles I was averaging before my surgery. Since I believe that you are a runner at any pace, what really defined running to me was distance. Which would probably explain how without enough training I ran a half marathon not once, but twice. I wanted to prove to myself that I was, or could be, a runner.

Before my surgery I had some grandiose running plans for 2012. Surgery at the end of April, recovery in May, start running again in early June, half-marathon in September and full marathon in October. Then I remembered that Albert Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, and I realized that I don’t want to be insane. The last two times that I set out to run a long-distance race without a solid base I stopped running for over a year after the race was over. More importantly, I didn’t feel successful, and instead of feeling that sense of accomplishment I felt like I had failed. I left the finish line feeling dejected. I don’t want to do that again.

So I decided that this year I am going to focus on building a base. I’m going to start slow, run often, and love the process. I want to be a runner, not just for 2012, for ever.

Tonight I did my first post-surgery run. I did Day One of Couch to 5k using the Run 5k app on my iPhone. I ran on the treadmill because it was crazy hot in Philly today, and because the treadmill is slightly better on impact for the knees. I’m going to follow Couch to 5k to help me build back my endurance and to make sure that I start up slowly for the sake of my knee. My surgeon warned me repeatedly not to go all out too quickly, so I think following a regimented easy plan will help reign me in. Also, after not working out for almost two months, my cardiovascular fitness was pretty much kaput.

Check out some photos from my first time back in my running shoes!

Beet Red!

Swirly skirt and hot pink and lime running shoes, I like to look as crazy as possible when working out!

Treadmill Stats


3 Responses to “What it Means to be a Runner”

  1. TheLittleGSP September 18, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    OK, so you’ve probably noticed by now since I’ve been “liking” lots of posts, but I just found your blog and I love it!!! I’m going to do my first 5K (or distance race of any kind, for that matter) since freshman year of high school this Saturday and your running stories are inspiring and entertaining!

    • Jessica Main September 18, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

      I’m so glad that you found my blog and are inspired! Keep me posted on your run, I’d love to hear how it goes 🙂


  1. The Slachtemarathon 2012 – very civilised! « Every Run's a Winner - June 17, 2012

    […] What it Means to be a Runner (mainlyrunning.com) […]

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