Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What am I?

Someone recently asked: what's the difference between a runner and a jogger? I was reading the current Runners World and the following quote is on the Warmups page:

"The difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry blank." Dr. George Sheehan, cardiologist, author and longtime RW columnist whose writings helped fuel the running boom of the 1970s.

While I don't fully agree with the quote itself, I do agree with the idea that the difference between running and jogging is how seriously you perceive your committment.

I consider myself a runner because I have specific goals, train, race and otherwise see myself progressing. There are people who finished before me that may be joggers - you know they entered to keep someone company, because there was bbq at the end or whatever. It isn't how they choose to define a piece of who they are. Me, I see myself as a runner because I feel like I have a level of committment and... if there happens to be free beer or bbq at the end of a race, so much the better.

For example, Sunday I ran a 5k that I finished in 39:45. Normally this would be a huge disappointment for me considering how far I've come in the past year - but the first 2 miles I was on track with a 12 minute pace when I got a bout of stomach cramps. The last mile was a combination of slow, gentle jogging when I could and speed walking when I couldn't while telling myself "the faster I finish, the faster I can get to the port-o-potty."

So I was actually quite happy with my time because it means that I'm walking faster and my "slow, gentle jog" is where my running pace was a year ago.

It's one of those questions - like did you get your chocolate in my peanutbutter or did I get peanutbutter in your chocolate debates that have no real answer beyond individual perspective.

Right now I'm content to call myself a runner. I like looking up and seeing my medals hanging on my corkboard or flip through the book where I dutifully paste in my bib numbers and record the race, distance, location, time and pace. Perhaps it's a bit vain, but it what it is (as they say).

In short: Even if I can't float and glide like a Kenyan or run for 24 hours on treadmill in Times Square, I'm a runner baby and damn proud of it.

1 comment:

vanessa40 said...

Congratulations on your race :)
You are a runner...