A few months back I was chatting with the new owner of a massage therapy chain. I had just finished my treatment and I was mentioning my purpose for massage.
“Oh, so you jog.” He mistakenly remarked.
“Pardon me?” There was nothing wrong with my hearing but I refused to listen to this nonsense. He obviously wasn’t picking up on the social cue I was desperately trying to relay.
“You like to jog?” he tried one more time.
I decided to put him out of my misery.
“I am a runner.” It was a declarative statement, like the sky is blue or gravity keeps us attached to the earth. Not that there is anything other than syntax separating the word ‘jog’ from the word ‘run’, it just feels like one comes across as a hobby, something you might do casually for fun. The other, something you are.
So when did I move from someone who jogs to someone who is a runner? It isn’t something I do; it is something I am. But, isn’t that what all spiritual growth is about? Moving from simply a state of doing to the bliss of being?
Prompted by a very funny story told to me by one of my running friends (all names and circumstances have been changed to protect the innocent—I only make fun of people I don’t know…), I have given contemplation to the signs and symptoms that show that you have made the stride (pun intended) from jogging to becoming a runner.
You know you are a runner when:
- You have thrown up at least once before, during or after a run.
- You plan all holidays, dates, medical appointments, and kids’ birthday parties around the training schedule.
- You happily set your alarm clock for 5:30 am on a Sunday morning so you can run double-digit kilometers before it gets too hot.
- You have had a blister on a blister on your foot
- You have lost at least one toenail.
- You own a watch that easily uses GPS technology to tell you how fast you are going, but don’t know how to get it to tell you the time of day.
- You own more running shoes than all other types of shoes combined.
- You have more specialized gear than an astronaut.
- When you hear the words ‘body glide’ the first thing that comes to mind is a petroleum based product to prevent chafing.
- You have used your kitchen rolling pin to roll out your calves at least once.
- You know what IT (and its not information technology) stands for and can locate it on your body.
- While the general public is warned about the over consumption of salt, you actually take pills of it on your runs.
- You have had to deal at least once with dogs/horses/wild animals of some type.
- You speak of food as fuel and specific foods never by their real names. Words like bread, pasta and potatoes are always referred to as carbs.
- You know who Paula Radcliffe and Scott Jurek are.
- You check the charge on your Garmin and ipod daily.
- You have read “Born to Run” more than once.
And the final one…based on a true story
- You have veered off the road into the woods—field—ditch—fill in the blank—and emerged with only one sock—a sacrifice well worth it.
And that, my friend, truly shows that you have arrived.