Stephan and I participated in the Ragnar relay from Madison to Chicago this weekend. Stephan ran. I drove the van. We had 11 runners. We were supposed to have 12, but one had a family emergency. I brought my shoes. Surely they would need someone to just step in (ha ha) for a leg or two... right?
Wrong. Eventhough there was a perfect little 4 mile run that I could have slipped into, they didn't let me run.
In another lifetime I would have just typed, "They didn't make me run." But I wanted to. I wanted to run so badly. Record my start time, figure my pace, slap that relay band on my wrist... cross the finish line with my team after achieving something amazing.
Nope. I stood with the stroller as they crossed together at 2:45 at Montrose Harbor. I made sure to stand far enough away so no one saw the tears in my eyes. Just to prove something, I went for a run yesterday. But I couldn't even make it one full mile before my lungs gave out.
I had a dream last night that I saw a man with the finisher's medal from a 1/2 marathon that's taking place in Chicago in August. So I went for another run today... just now. And came to a realization:
Finishing a marathon didn't make me a runner. Getting up the next day and going for a run did. Crying at someone else's finish line did. Running without anything tracking my run does. I ran today and I have no idea what my pace or distance was. And it doesn't matter. I ran because it felt good. I ran because I can. I ran because I wanted to.
THAT makes me a runner.