It’s funny, because I’m not very fast at all. I’m quite sure I’ll never qualify for Boston. Heck, it will be years before I feel I even have time to train for a marathon. I have never won a race (though I have won my age group a few times — mostly when I was the only one in my age group) and don’t ever expect to. My average weekly mileage is probably 20 miles at the most.
But somehow, I’ve become The Runner.
Because I’ve decorated my bulletin board at work with my race bibs, everyone at work knows that I run. (“I could never run a marathon,” they say. I tell them I’ve never run a marathon either, just 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons. They claim that “to me, a 5K is the same thing as a marathon.”) Even several of the pharmaceutical reps who come in know that I run. They look for something to connect with you about, and this was an easy thing for them.
Among friends and family, as well, I am The Runner. My 13-year-old friend David told me this spring that he wanted to run a 5K with me sometime (I’m still waiting to see if he’ll follow through). Chef’s cousin Jon told me the same thing last weekend, and we’ve got tentative plans to do that this summer.
When friends who are new to running get started, they sometimes ask me about their aches and pains and how to avoid or relieve them. Which is funny, because I ask the same questions of Chef (although he mainly plays soccer now, he actually has run marathons, so I consider him a more experienced runner than I am) or his dad (who mostly cycles now, but also has a long history of running).
Running is part of my identity. It’s not necessarily how I think of myself, but it seems to be part of how other people think of me.