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running but not a runner

I’ve been thinking a lot about myself and my future goals lately. I have BIG plans for the next 12 months, and fitness and family are at the heart of it all. Recently I’ve noticed something funny about myself when talking about my fitness aspirations. People ask me if I’m a runner, and I always answer “no, but I run.”

running but not a runner
See, that may not sound like a big difference, but it is. I don’t consider myself a runner yet. I started running in 2011 when a coworker asked me to join a team of friends for the Dirty Girl 5k. I had never ran outside of gym class, but I figured it would be fun to try a race… once.

Since then, I’ve lost track of how many races I’ve done, running has been an essential aspect of my relationship with Jeff, and I successfully ran through most of my pregnancy.

running but not a runner
Three years later, I don’t run particularly fast, I can’t go particularly far, and I consider myself pretty clueless about the idea of running in general. I certainly don’t have any fancy gear. My shoe shopping process was as follows: Those pink ones are cute! Yeah, let’s go with those! Oh, and my training strategy has always been to go until I get tired. And until recently, that was capped at about 3.5 miles.

running but not a runner
Still, despite all of this, I’ve desperately clung to the idea of completing a half marathon. I’ve steadily been adding miles each week and achieving personal records left and right. This week I ran my all-time farthest with an 8 mile run. I’ve been amazed at how I’ve been able to push myself physically, and I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. But still… I don’t feel like a runner.

running but not a runner
So what will it take? When will I become a runner?

Will it be crossing the finish line of a half marathon? Shaving a minute of my pace? Fancier shoes? Placing at a race? Will I just wake up one day, look in the mirror and see a runner looking back?

I guess I still don’t know. I’ve been hesitant to throw my half marathon goal out into the universe, so here it goes – I want to complete a half marathon in 2014. So please, hold me accountable, don’t let me stop, and perhaps even help me figure out how to go from running to runner.

Your turn:
What’s something you’ve been working towards that you just don’t feel like you’ve fully embodied yet?
Do you have any advice for me?


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  • Morgan August 7, 2014, 5:19 am

    Go get it girl!!’ Good for you, and yes, you could totally complete a half marathon. It’s all mind over matter. I have always used Hal Higdon’s half marathon training plan and have LOVED it and the results it has given me! You got this!!

    • Joanna August 7, 2014, 9:44 pm

      Thanks Morgan! You’re an inspiration – accomplishing so much so quickly after Cole was born!

  • Beks August 7, 2014, 7:36 am

    Not really any advice, except keep at it, and know your limits.
    I’m kind of in the same boat. I really want to be a runner, but I can’t go very far. I have *tentative* plans to do the Disney Princess Half marathon with some friends from college in 2016, but who knows if that’ll actually happen? I really hope it does, though.

    • Joanna August 7, 2014, 9:45 pm

      That’s awesome! Having a partner is definitely helpful – I rely on my husband to keep me moving forward! I hope you girls make your dream happen!

  • Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie August 7, 2014, 9:29 am

    I know what you mean! It took forever for me to actually see myself as a ‘runner.’ I think the big shift for me came during my marathon training. You just don’t run 26.2 miles if you aren’t a runner, or 13.1 miles either : ) Good luck finding a half! There are so many great ones out there this fall.
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted…WIAW: Sugar RushMy Profile

    • Joanna August 7, 2014, 9:41 pm

      I’m thinking as I continue to rack up miles, it will eventually come! Hope so at least :)

  • tara pittman August 7, 2014, 10:39 am

    I am a runner but I hurt my foot and need to not run for a while. That is so hard for me.
    tara pittman recently posted…What Happens When Your Child Needs A Tonsillectomy( tonsil removal)My Profile

    • Joanna August 7, 2014, 9:43 pm

      Oh wow, yes it’s a terrible feeling to not be able to do something you love! I hope you heal quickly!

  • Erin @ Her Heartland Soul August 7, 2014, 1:50 pm

    You are going to rock your half marathon!! (And I totally consider you a runner!)
    Erin @ Her Heartland Soul recently posted…July 2014 POPSUGAR Must Have ReviewMy Profile

    • Joanna August 7, 2014, 9:42 pm

      Haha, well thank you Erin! Now if I can see myself that way…. :)

  • Judy Daniell August 7, 2014, 3:16 pm

    I have 9 half-marathons under my belt and I still don’t feel like a runner. I guess it’s all in the perspective. Somewhere, I’ve decided that “runners” win races and have sub 8:00 miles. I was just telling a friend the other day that I can’t wait until I shed those thoughts and embrace the fact, that yes, I’m a runner. I may not do it fast, or prettily, but I do it.

    Keep it up!

    • Joanna August 7, 2014, 9:43 pm

      Wow, 9 half-marathons?! You are TOTALLY a runner :)

      It’s a strange mindset to be in, but I’m glad somebody else can relate!

  • Anna @ PipersRun August 15, 2014, 8:44 am

    It’s funny, I’ve run for years (5k, 10k, and a half) and I still didn’t FEEL like a runner until this year. What changed? I don’t really know, other then running more and having it become routine in my daily life I think made me FEEL more like a runner!
    Anna @ PipersRun recently posted…What Do You Mean It’s NOT a Rest Day?My Profile

  • Erin @ Home with the Boys August 24, 2014, 5:20 pm

    Just found you through Girls Gone Sporty and we’re in the same town! I just started running 2.5 years ago and love it and I say YOU ARE A RUNNER! If you run, you are a runner! You blog and call yourself a blogger, right?! I get the feeling of hesitating to label yourself as such, but own it, girl! Nice to meet you!
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  • Kayla September 17, 2014, 9:00 pm

    You ARE a runner :) The minute your feet hit the pavement you are a runner. So many people label themselves as a jogger vs a runner or neither. I used to be the same way…I was an occasional jogger. When I became a SAHM, I needed to have goals, so I joined a mommy running group earlier this year (Moms Run This Town is national, so there might be one near you) and signed up for my first half (a month away) :) Best of luck with your half-marathon, I’m sure you’ll do amazing!


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