A few years ago, just as I was about to tell a friend that I love running as much as she does, she said, “The only thing I don’t do when I go for a run is walk. Real runners NEVER walk.”
I felt like a poseur. A fake.
I’ve heard the “real runners never walk” rule a lot, but I’ve walked. When I hurt too much to run, I’ve given in to the pain.
Not only that…
…A couple of times I even took a taxi home.
…Instead of carboloading the night before I did the Vegas Marathon, I had some greasy food at Hooters. (It was the closest restaurant to my motel.)
…Even though real runners are supposed to switch out their sneakers on some kind of schedule, I’ve worn the same ones through multiple marathons and for about half-a-decade.
…I don’t know my pace. (When two marathoners meet, the first thing they ask each other is “How long did it take you to finish?”)
This weekend, for the first time in my life, I ran an ultra-marathon distance! I did 30.5 miles. On my own. Carrying my own water and food. (And no taxis were involved.)
A marathon is 26.2 miles. Ever since I finished my first one — even while my knee throbbed — I wondered if I could go longer. Turns out I can.
Don’t you hate getting sucked into other people’s definitions of what’s “real”?
“Real runners never walk.”
“Real cyclists never get off their bikes.”
“Real entrepreneurs never get a job.”
Every time I buy into that, I feel “real,” but miserable. When I do what I want and ignore the “real” people, I sometimes feel embarrassed at first, but I’m prouder of the results.