Barefoot Monologues

A Journey of the Sole

Guest Post: Runner? Jogger? Who the Hell Cares?

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I am lucky enough to share one of my greatest passions with some of the most amazing people on the planet. People who can run really, really far with little to nothing on their feet, who can climb mountains and withstand immense heat, cold and all sorts of weather. Yes, that’s right, my friends are superheroes. And one of them is the most badass chick I know, Vanessa Runs. A while back I asked her if she could write for me what she thinks about being a runner. Anything – wax poetic or give it to me straight. Per her usual, she chose the latter. Thanks, Vanessa.

Runner? Jogger? Who the hell cares?
By Vanessa Runs

There is a big ugly sign on the side of the road that reads, “YOU ARE A DOG”.

A cat wanders by, looks up at it and thinks: “I wonder who that sign is for.” Then wanders away.

A dog comes along, sees the sign, and starts barking angrily. He reacts emotionally because—he knows it’s about him.

That’s how I feel about the runner vs. non-runner debate. Just replace the word “dog” for—heaven forbid—jogger. Runners shrug. Others get their panties in a knot.

But this is a tired topic. Runners don’t need to define themselves. If they did, it might look something like this:

1. I am a runner because I run anytime, anywhere.
I don’t need a training plan to follow. I don’t need a running schedule. If I have one, that’s cool. If I don’t, that’s ok too. I don’t need people or apps or a piece of paper hanging on my fridge to tell when me to run. I’ll run regardless.

2. I am a runner because I will run alone.
I don’t need to always follow a group, though sometimes I like to. I am equally happy running by myself. I don’t ever need fanfare or applause.

3. I am a runner because I don’t need to prove it.
I don’t need to log or record my “workouts” so that everyone knows I ran. If I log my runs, it’s for my own records—not to prove myself. I know what I am.

4. I am a runner because I don’t measure my performance against others.
I move to the best of my ability and I am not intimidated by “better” runners. I do not feel better about myself next to a slower runner. We are just runners. There is no better. There is no worse.

5. I am a runner because I do not apologize for a strong performance.
If I have a fast race, I will be damn proud of it. I don’t need to downplay my success so others won’t be offended or feel bad about themselves. If I can be a great runner, I’ll own it.

6. I am a runner because I do not make excuses for poor performance.
If I have a slow-ass race and come in dead last, I don’t need to explain why. It wasn’t an injury, and it wasn’t the weather. I’m just damn fucking slow. I’m slow sometimes. Deal with it. I’m still a runner.

7. I am a runner because my body is awesome.
I don’t care what others see or what society tells me. I know my body is awesome because of the way it moves me. I’m amazingly built. I refuse to criticize a body that allows me to do what I love.

8. I am a runner because I have fun.
I’m actually having an awesome time. This is not a workout. It’s not a chore. I didn’t go to bed at night, dreading my run. I don’t try to get my runs over with. I wish they lasted longer.
9. I am a runner because I don’t care what you call me.
Call me fast, slow, jogger, speedster, DFL’er; it won’t make me mad. Define me if it makes you feel better, but tired labels mean nothing. If I’m faster, that does not make you worse. If I’m slower, that does not make you better. So get over yourself and get out for a run.

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2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Runner? Jogger? Who the Hell Cares?

  1. typically awesome Vanessaness. And this is so true.For 31 yrs I have never run with a Garmin or a game plan or a training plan. For 31 yrs I have almost always run alone. And for 31 yrs most people didn’t even know that I AM a runner. In the end it is something as natural as eating and sleeping

  2. Written by the same person who runs with handheld bottles instead of a pack because they want to “look like a runner’.

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