I am a distance runner.
I’m not quite sure when that happened. As I can still remember the sense of triumph I felt the first time I ever ran a single mile.
But now – I have this regular craving to just get outside for a couple hours and see the world on foot.
The long run does something to me that shorter runs don’t. It is my teacher, my friend, my confidant. It listens, it comforts and it clears the mind. It reaches into your subconscious – releasing creativity and solving puzzles.
Yep – all that.
My shorter runs are my harder runs. Where I can push myself to the edge and work on speed and get in just enough to calm the crazies. But they don’t satisfy like the long run does.
And, as a distance runner, I choose longer races. Sure, the medals are nice. As is that 26.2 magnet on my car. (And no, we don’t do it to brag, but merely to identify ourselves to other runners).
But the comraderie of other like minded folks and the internal battles and victories that happen during a marathon or a half-marathon are more satisfying than that of a 5k.
Maybe part of it is that I’m not as fast as I used to be and stand no chance of winning or placing my age group that keeps me out of shorter races.
When my running friends are doing 5ks the lure is there. And sometimes I will run with them. But not to compete. More to encourage and enjoy.
As December nears, so does my last race of the year (or so I say now). And the conundrum it brings. To go long, or not to go long.
I’m registered for a half-marathon on December 6th. And my local running friends for a 5k on the 7th. What’s a girl to do? Skip the half and run with them? Try to do both?
It’s a tough decision. But the long run, she calls my name. And Sunday during my long run, it made the decision for me. I had perfect weather and perfect paces and my subconscious made the choice.
So the half it will be. And I will just go cheer on my friends at the 5k.
Because it’s what I do. It’s who I am. I’m a distance runner.