I've talked to enough people and read enough articles in running magazines to know that most folks who newly take up running take a while to consider themselves "real runners."
One guy says the moment he felt like a real runner was when he stopped hating it and started enjoying it: rain fell in mile seven of a long run and he felt exhilaration instead of annoyance. A girl says it was when she spent 90 bucks on running shoes. Another when she safety-pinned a 5K race bib to her shirt. I think waking up at 4:45 to log miles and start the day strong sure qualifies. So does finding a running partner who makes the miles unnoticeable because she keeps you entertained with fun conversation. Sporting puke on my shoes after the Las Vegas half is a sure sign, as well.
But lately I've slacked off and it has been hard even to muster a jog when I take my dog for walks. I haven't felt like a runner. I know if I could find a race to register for, that would help - but Summer is coming up and that's a bad time to race around here. So May 1st loomed and I thought of a different kind of goal - a mileage goal. It had to be a good one, a kick-butt one to get me out of my rut. So I decided to try for 100 Miles in May. I didn't do the math to ascertain whether this was even sensible. Maybe if I had I would have tried to tone it down, but somehow I think hard things keep me from losing my umph. So 100 it is! And, since everything in life is more fun with company, I asked facebook friends to join me. Two days in and we have a good little group of 13 people: friends and friends of friends.
Day two of the month and I've already invested some money in the goal. $2.99 for an app touted by one of my favorite running buddies; and about $7.00 on music recommended by another friend when I asked for "fast and angry" selections.
If my identity as a runner has been in question, I'm picking it up again. I liked being out there tonight in the coolness of early May in the desert. I liked my new music, a new route, and all the myriad sights and sounds of my city - maybe especially the bad-ass woman capably walking two dobermans on Green Valley Parkway. I also saw a dad pushing a double stroller, a man in a white striped suit, and a large rat. Something tells me I'll have a long, cool list of sights beheld by the end of May. And after 100 miles, I might feel more like a real runner than ever.