Runner Apparent

Currently, I am not a runner. I want to be a runner. In my heart of hearts I want to be able to say, “I am a runner.”

If you didn’t know me, but had a key to my apartment and snuck in while I was at work, you might think I was a runner.

In my kitchen, you would find one cabinet brimming with water bottles of various sizes, two or three containers of powdered Gatorade mix with the potential to make swimming pool-size vats of the electrolyte drink. You would find a canister on top of the fridge full of granola bars and Luna bars.

Look closer as you wander into my bedroom. Of the two bookshelves brimming with books, at least two shelves are full of running titles. Everything from a biography of Pre, race training guides to dog-eared copies of George Sheehan classics, the late-great “philosopher-runner.”

The top drawer in my dresser is crammed with socks and under-things, but at least half of the collection is running socks and jog bras. In the closet, along with pairs of boots, loafers, and a few pairs of heels lay several pairs of running shoes, some brand-new waiting to hit the roads and trails.

In the corner of the bedroom, a large storage basket holds miscellaneous workout gear like a balance ball, a yoga brick, small hand-held dumbbells,  stretchy bands for lifting, and a jump rope–all the gear a serious runner might need on cross-training days or to nurse oneself back to health after an injury-prone season.

Back into the closet, a plastic tub holds runner apparel: wicking t-shirts, running shorts (none of the too-skimpy size, but still short nonetheless), and even a black running skirt fills the collection. Dig deeper in the tub to find running tights, half and full-length of different thicknesses, those for a brisk fall day and those for sub-zero midwestern winter run (I lived in Ashland, Wisconsin for college and spent a few years in the Twin Cities right after college). You’ll also find two or three pairs of the swishy nylon “sweats” perfect for throwing on after a race or long run. Several pairs of thin gloves and hats and long-sleeve shirts and jackets round out the collection of wintry wear.

Check my reading pile next to the nightstand where you will find the latest issues of Runner’s World and Running Times on top of the mysteries and biographies. The book at the top of the pile is also my training plan and coach, Marathon and Half-Marathon: The Beginner’s Guide by Marnie Caron.

If you checked my computer’s favorites, you would see several running sites. Kristin Armstrong’s Mile Markers blog is a weekly must for inspiration. I read interviews with elite runners and when I am checking out major sports sites or the sports pages in the newspaper, I am grasping for race results or a quick summary of an upcoming track or road championship.

I can recite qualifying times for the Boston Marathon and close approximates for current world records at various distances. I can answer the questions, “What are fartleks?”, “What are Yasso 800s?”,  and “What are the basics of a marathon training program?”.

All of this and I am not a runner. I haven’t been a runner with any regularity in quite a few years. Despite the gear and apparel, I have made the simple act of running a complex conundrum. Oh, just to get out and run.

I think I’ll go right now.


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