async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Can I Still Call Myself a Runner?

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Can I Still Call Myself a Runner?

It's been a few weeks since I've posted a training recap. Summer's kept me hopping! As much fun as I've been having, the training hasn't stopped. I'm not training for anything official, though. I have a half marathon on the calendar in September but unless some sort of running miracle happens, that race is going to be a DNS.

For me right now, running is kind of a non-thing. I've been pretty much phoning in my runs this summer. As much as I consider myself a runner, the fact of the matter is that for the past 6 months, running has felt hard. God knows I've whined about it enough here on the blog. I've given up trying to figure out why. And you know what else? I'm not really bothered by it right now. I've been so busy staying active doing other things that the low mileage hasn't affected me. I'm sure that come fall when life slows back down, the running struggle is going to become real again.

Maybe the cooler temperatures will bring some kind of running miracle? A runner can only dream. Who am I kidding? With the almost non-existent mileage that I'm logging right now, can I even call myself a runner?



My miles for the month of July totaled 57. Barring months where I was injured, this has to be an all-time low. But stay tuned for August. So far, my miles for August have totaled an abysmal 18. I don't even know what to say. This week on Wednesday, I ran 6.2 miles. While the first 4 miles felt fine, the last 2 were really hard. I'm in a strange place and it's kind of humbling.

on my way to 6.2 humbling miles
On the other hand, I've been finding joy at CrossFit. Who even knew? Coach Sammy Jo had me do my one rep max for deadlifts (180#) and back squats (140#). We haven't worked on heavy lifting--at my request, we've been doing higher reps--but it's nice to see that I'm able to bring it when I need to! The weekly challenge hosted by the box where I work out has pushed me to limits I didn't think I possessed. You know I love a challenge--and the 80 pushups as part of last week's challenge, while tough, were doable. As were 60 hanging knee raises. This week's challenge brought some crazy heavy three minutes holding all kinds of things including 53# kettlebells. I won't deny that I love pushing my body like this and I'm glad I can. I've got the calluses on my hands to prove it!


Weekly bootcamp provides me with a little extra strength training with cardio on the side. Some of my running miles have come from bootcamp--the coaches have been incorporating more running into our classes. Starting this week, I'm going to be participating in the WOD (CrossFit) on Mondays in addition to bootcamp on Thursdays. I'm pretty sure that I'll be humbled in a big way, but I'm up for the challenge.

SUP on the channel that leads to Lake Wisconsin
It's summer and that means time on the water!! We haven't been able to get up to Lake Wisconsin much until this month, but two weekends in a row means doing all the things I love. There's been SUP on my new inflatable SUP, kayaking, and best of all, waterskiing! The boat is running well this year and we've all had fun challenging ourselves while my husband pulls us around the lake.

Going for that HoHoRuns spray!
I've been pretty sore and fatigued after all this activity and I recover doing yoga. It's still my favorite way to stretch it all out. Jamie's vinyasa flow class at EMPOWER Summer Camp renewed my love for moving my body through a flow class. Plus it feels so good! My home practice has mostly been Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. She's serving me well.

There's no denying the meditation power of yoga.
James Pancoast Photos
Can I still call myself a runner? Runners use the mantra "if you run, you're a runner". I'm enjoying the well-rounded routine I've got going right now. Do I miss running long distances? Hell yeah. But in the interest of honoring my body and living in the present, this is where I'm at right now. Stay tuned for fall. Hopefully, all the extracurricular activities I've been doing will bring some strong miles in the cooler weather. Let's see what happens.

Even thought I'm not running a lot, can I still call myself a runner? /via @oldrunningmom #runchat #runner 

Can I still call myself a runner? Have you ever gone through a period where running dropped off for you? What is your favorite backup activity? Will running come back to me?

I'm linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Rundown.

64 comments :

  1. YES you can still call yourself a runner! Part of being a runner, for me at least, is knowing that it's a lifetime sport. As such, there are ebbs and flows. There are 200 mile months and 12 miles months. It's awesome that you are exploring other ways to move your body and treat it respectfully. Higher mileage will come when the time is right. Meanwhile, you are most definitely, 100%, still a runner !

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    1. I know this, I do... but I've never felt as discouraged as I have this year. Injury is one thing, slowing down is another. Hopefully the cooler fall temperatures will bring me some good miles!

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  2. I think that you can absolutely still call yourself a runner. Just because you aren't running as much as you used to, you still lace up your shoes and hit the pavement - it doesn't matter if you do one mile or 20 miles. Also I think it's great that you are finding other fitness activities that bring you joy - variety is the spice of life!

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    1. I do love all the ways I can find to torture my body, I mean work out! It's really good to have a few alternatives when running isn't happening.

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  3. Yes, you can still call yourself a runner. If you can't, neither can I! Doing a variety of activities is the only thing that has kept me sane in the 16 months since I sprained my ankle. I've had a lot of starts and stops with running, never getting past about 5 miles. I miss those long distances, too!

    I've consistently been doing yoga since April (with Sanela on Prime Video.) I ran 8 miles yesterday and the only pains I have are tired muscles - nothing that feels like an injury. Finally!! There's hope.

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    1. Yay to 8 miles! That is my favorite distance to run and I'm hoping to get back to it regularly this fall. It sure is frustrating calling it quits so early into a run!

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  4. I terribly miss my Saturday morning long runs with my friends, but I know my spine can no longer handle the longer mileage. I'm debating on signing up for a half with a friend in NC in September, but if I do, I will be running it extremely undertrained. My mileage is only about 60-70 miles per month, a far cry from the 200 in my heyday. We have to accept where we are in life and be the best that we can at that point (admittedly, that's very hard for me). Perhaps the lower mileage this summer is exactly what your body needs to reset and you'll feel better in the fall. Do you find that humidity affects your RA? And yes, you definitely can still call yourself a runner!

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    1. It's weird because the humidity is dialed up to 11 today (95%), yet I feel really good. No swelling and no aching. So I can't figure this thing out. I'm hoping that fall brings me some running relief too.

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  5. I would call you a runner and you're definitely an inspiration to this runner: so strong! It's interesting that the cross-fit works so well for you where running doesn't, but I'm glad you have that outlet. And good old Adriene. I should have done some of her at home this week - I was concerned that if I went to class I would end up sobbing in the relaxation bit.

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  6. You are a runner, because you run (not important speed and mileage) and because you think as a runner. I am sure that with the cooler temperatures all the problems will disappear. Now I feel lazy and I am slow but some days ago, in a rainy morning the temperature was a little bit cooler and I forgot all the troubles: the run was easy and I felt good.
    Last but not least, many years ago, an important trainer of mine said: "in summer run less and do "summer sports", be sure that in fall you will be a better runner".

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    1. Oooh, I like that trainer's advice! That is exactly what I have been doing this summer.

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  7. Right now I am totally not missing running longer. I think more runners can be served by taking a break sometimes. And cross training and strength (also cross training) are never bad things! They only make us stronger runners.

    Just like pace doesn't matter, mileage doesn't either. And I bet that cooler temps will help, too.

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    1. I tell myself these things but my heart just doesn't want to believe it...

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  8. So as you know, I have also been struggling w running this summer. This week I only ran twice and I am ok w it. I am also enjoying staying active w lots of other things right now. I do miss longer runs but I know they will come back when the temps drop. Yes we are both still runners! thanks for linking up

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    1. I know you're in this struggle with me and are enjoying all the fun summer alternatives. Fingers crossed we're back at it come cooler weather!

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  9. I think you are fortunate to have so many other fitness options. Even though the running is not where you'd necessarily want it to be, your body is maintaining its strength (as well as getting stronger). You're doing what you're able right now, and that's a far cry from giving up. Keep on keeping on ;-)

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    1. I am grateful that running has provided me with strength and endurance to participate in other activities!

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  10. Yes, you can absolutely call yourself a runner. In my opinion, being a runner extends well beyond actually running. It's a mindset, a motivation, a connection with other runners over the experience of having been there too.

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    1. Coming from you, I"ll take it! It's just so hard seeing myself slow down like this. I wish I could get back on track!

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  11. Only a runner would say "I've only run 18 miles this month am I still a runner" so you're definitely a runner! And a much better cross trainer than the rest of us;-)

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    1. Thank goodness for cross training! When you're used to 100 mile months, it's a weird place to be.

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  12. Awww, I get where you are now. I was down for a few years with some hamstring issues. It got to the point that I couldn't even run a half mile without discomfort. I eventually just had to stop. And coming back sure is humbling! But dang, you are killing it at the crossfit. Those weights!! wow. And all the other sports. Way to keep busy and enjoy yourself while running isn't working for you.

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    1. It's funny because when you're injured, you can give yourself some grace. Me, I don't know what is causing my slow down.

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  13. I was running way fewer than 57 miles when you encouraged me into the linkup, and you never said I wasn't, so yes you are. I'd also say you're an athlete with al the activity you do. Glad you're having some summer water fun

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    1. Thank you! It's so weird because I wouldn't ski when I was marathon training. And here I am skiing and not running.

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    2. water skiing looks fun. Never done it, but we used to parasail as kids and I miss that. Not for avoiding in training, it's just not as common as it used to be.

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    3. Waterskiing isn't as common these days either, as it has been replaced by wake boarding. Funny thing is, my boys can both wakeboard but they want to slalom. My oldest can do it; my youngest is still working on getting up on one ski. It's harder than wakeboarding and I think that is the attraction.

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  14. You are still a runner. Just because you aren't training for anything and you aren't hitting high mileage, you are still out there. For a good solid 2 years, I didn't train for a single race. I ran what I wanted. Some weeks it was 3 miles, some weeks it was 10 but it was never more than 20 for a whole week. I let my body decide what to do. I think it's good to mix it up. Running will always be there.

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    1. Oh, you make me feel so good! It's a weird place to be, a runner without a plan. I keep reminding myself that when I started running, I didn't race. I just ran. It's what I need to do right now. Kind of liking the variety in my workouts.

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  15. One word for you.. yes. :-)

    Perhaps the low mileage is what your body needs right now to get ready for the fall.

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  16. So right there with you. Stupid pelvic fracture kicked things off and then the breast cancer. As I've been training for this upcoming 10K (which has now turned into three 10K races across 3 weekends--guess I'm a sucker for a series), I struggle because I'm still dealing with post-radiation fatigue and as my physiatrist warned me, I feel that fracture all the time. I mean it always hurts. So I'm slower, I'm discouraged and it's just a lot :(

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    1. It's so hard when our bodies let us down. Running has always been my 'thing' and like you, I feel the loss.

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  17. My mileage is about the same as yours, mostly because I want to do all the other things but also because running has sucked lately. I think being a well-rounded athlete is good too!

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    1. Running has sucked, hasn't it? Heat, humidity, physical complaints...whatever it is! I agree with you and I'm grateful that there are so many other things I can do.

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  18. Of COURSE you are still a runner! I can't imagine how hard the struggle is for you right now but you're still out there getting it done, no matter how hard it feels. I truly believe you're in a bad cycle right now, probably due to many factors, but you will run free and clear again my friend - I just know it!! Stay the course and you will find your way back. In the meantime I love how much SUP and yoga and CrossFit you're doing and how much JOY those activities are bringing you. Keep your head up! Fall is coming :-)

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    1. I hope you're right! I've had slowdowns due to injury but not just because... Hoping that cooler fall temps will give me some more miles!

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  19. I say "YES" - you are still a runner. 57 miles in a month is not nothing. Have fun this summer and don't worry about your running (or lack of it). Running will be here for you when you are ready to come back! :)

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  20. You are absolutely still a runner! You have done an awesome job of staying active and challenging yourself in news ways and there's absolutely nothing wrong with putting running on the back burner for a bit.

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  21. You are absolutely still a runner! Once a runner always a runner in my opinion, even if you are not actively running anymore.

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    1. I miss it but I'm still getting out there. Just not getting very far!

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  22. You don't have to ask for permission, you can call yourself anything you want. Long, short, hard, easy, it's all running and it'll always be IN you. Once you make peace with miles and pace and realize they don't define you, the joy returns. Plus look at all the fun you had on the water and the gains at the box! It's all about balance and enjoying it.

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    1. Absolutely! I'm actually ok with where I'm at right now with running--it's just hard to call myself a runner with the low mileage I'm turning in. But I can, can't I?

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  23. It's ok to take a break once in a while... and if crossfit is what brings you joy right now, then keep doing that!

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    1. I guess if the break from running was on my terms, I'd be ok with it! Damn body...

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  24. I have been through a few phases where my body just really felt better with strength training than running for some reason. Wish I could tell you what brought running back, but, I think it's just time and mysterious bodily preferences.

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    1. I hope that's the case! Thank goodness I have strength training right now.

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  25. Yes, you are still a runner! I've definitely had phases of low mileage (like grad school when I probably ran 10-15 miles most weeks and right now). It's not about the mileage, it's about the repetitive habit of getting out the door and running. This summer humidity has been brutal but fall is coming soon.

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    1. That's why I just keep going. Even if it feels hard and even if there isn't much distance covered, my legs need a reminder that this is what we do. Send me some endurance please!

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  26. Balance is so important, and it sounds like you really have that going right now! I love the variety of activities you've got going. And you have to enjoy the time on the weather in the Summer since it's hard to get that without traveling once the cold weather hits :)

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    1. That's what we keep saying. We really only have a few more weeks where we can get on the water. I'm going to see Holly in September, so that will give me one last hurrah!

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  27. oh gosh if I'm still a runner, you certainly are! to be honest with you, I can't WAIT until marathon training and the race itself is DONE and I can finally go back to doing less running and more cross and strength training. there's not much joy at the moment. next year I just want to focus on fitness and short distances... though my friend in Tel Aviv just asked me to run the half with her in Marrakech in January... haha you KNOW I'm tempted. At least she runs my pace!

    You know I think you just need to focus on something else to find a different way to find joy in running. I know you are competitive and I know you like to be fast but what if you took those things out of the picture? I know acceptance of where we are at right now is really hard sometimes (don't I know... and pretty sure you guys gently remind me all the time), and even though there is not a lot of joy I can still be super grateful that I still CAN.

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    1. I'm inately competitive and even today at CrossFit, I struggled with the endurance piece, coming in DFL. I'm proud of the workout I did--don't get me wrong--but I want to know where my endurance has gone. I get gassed so quickly. My doctors don't seem to think it's a big deal, but compared to other women my age, I'm already ahead of the game. That's too bad. Looks like I'm on my own here. This fall, I've got some ideas about how to find out more..

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  28. You are definitely a runner Wendy and I admire how you are so active and doing what you can! You are killing it at Crossfit and I can't wait to hear how it goes when you do the WOD! You have a great balance going right now and you are enjoying yourself! That's what truly matters. :-)

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    1. You are so right! I just need to find the missing piece of the puzzle--where my endurance has gone. If I get an answer, then I can move on.

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  29. You absolutely are a runner! Maybe not the runner you used to be but a runner just the same. I'm amazed that you can do all that weight training. You inspire me!
    How's the inflatable SUP? My husband wants to get me one.

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  30. I'm glad you have been able to enjoy other workouts lately! I think the running will come back, especially if you allow yourself the time away as you've been doing. I bet forcing it would just make it worse. Hopefully running will feel better once it cools off in the fall!

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