High on 10 miles

Ten miles on the books, and I’m wondering: what makes a runner a “runner”?
runner on track

Saturday’s run: 10 miles, 1:56:50 (9:19 / 10:12 / 10:59 / 11:25 / 11:54 / 11:57 / 12:16 / 12:49 / 12:59 / 12:58)


That was my first run for double–digit miles in two years. Maybe more.

And it hurt.

Not necessarily because it was 10 miles, but more because it had been two weeks since my last longer run of 8 miles. With only one or two runs and a couple workouts in between. Not exactly my normal work load.

I felt good and refreshed, properly fueled, and ready to go. And also nervous.

The first 6 miles felt good! A dull ache started in my left knee within the first mile, but it wasn’t bad and I wanted to run. The compression socks kept the blood flowing in my legs for the entire time! I stopped to stretch out my calves a few times to keep them as loose as possible.

Some point around mile 3 or 4 I decided to stop looking at my watch. I didn’t have a time goal going in; I just wanted to make it through 10. It was perfect fall weather and I settled into a comfortable jogging pace and enjoyed the space around me. No pressure. Just me and the trail. And for most of those 6 miles I couldn’t keep the smile off my face if I tried.

It was lovely. Thank you, my first runner’s high ever.

After that, things went downhill. The knee wasn’t happy at all. What started as a subtle ache was becoming a sharper pain. I still felt strong – which actually surprised me – but I couldn’t stride out for a longer and faster stride. I had to keep the stride short and right under me to manage the knee pain.

Should I have stopped and walked? Yes. Do I regret finishing, even it was a (painful) jog? Nope. But ask me again once I get into the week’s workouts.

This run was more than just a run for me. It was a bit of a milestone. 10 miles. Double digits. A respectable long run.

Because as I’ve been blogging more, becoming more active on Twitter and continued my reading of other great blogs… I’ve been thinking about this question:

What makes a runner a “runner”? When do you earn that title? man and woman running

Is it a distance? Is it a speed? Is it about doing races? Or is it about consistency?

If I only spend 2 month each fall and 2 months each spring working through a training program, does that count? The rest of the year I’ll do shorter runs and focus on other workouts. So far, I’ve done training programs to improve, but don’t run the races. And I’m not fast.

Now, obviously, this isn’t a terribly important question. 🙂 It’s just been on my mind as more people have asked if I’m training for a marathon.

I’d love to know your thoughts! Runners and non, fitness peeps and not. I’m curious if there is a general consistency, or if we all have different thoughts.

How have you thought about or defined a “runner”? For my running friends, at what point did you considered yourself a “runner”?

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11 thoughts on “High on 10 miles

    • This was a first for me. I’ve honestly started thinking it was just those crazy distance runners making it up. 🙂 Can’t say I expect to feel that often, but it was nice while it lasted.

  1. So funny how we’re so happy to tackle those milestones and then we say ‘it hurt’.. I do that every weekend…when hubs or anyone asks “How’d your run go?” lol 😉 Have a great week!

    • Soooooo true. I guess I’m motivated by the personal challenge…. only reason why I’d keep doing something that I find so hard and/or painful. But it just feels so empowering to reach a goal!

  2. Good question, I’m trying to relate this to my writing. I’ve written a novel, am I a writer? My first thought is ‘yes’. BUT, I haven’t sold even one copy yet therefore perhaps I just write? Does someone have to be paid to get to really have a title? I don’t think so but just posing the question. Personally, I think if you put one foot in front of the other and go fast your a runner:) Congrats on the 10 miles that’s awesome!

    • Well, I don’t go fast, so there’s that. 🙂

      For me, I think it’s about consistency. Running is not my main workout year round…. so I’ve never thought of myself as a “runner”. By the same token, you’ve been consistently working on your book stuff for a long time, and have started #2…. so I would say you’re a writer.

      Or….. maybe I’m thinking about this too much!

  3. Interesting. I’d consider myself a triathlete even though I can’t currently run, because it’s my favorite sport and I’m working my way back (hey, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad)! I’d say that you’re a runner if you are working on it, working towards it and have a love of the sport. And really, it’s just a feeling deep down inside that no one can tell you about but you.

    • Hmm… I like this idea: If I feel like am a runner (or triathlete or writer or whatever) and I’m working on that skill, then I am one. I guess I’m still discovering that feeling that says, yes, I am a runner.

      Congrats on training for a tri! Part of me thinks I would enjoy a standard triathlon more than a marathon because I like biking long distances more than I like running them. 🙂 What made you decide to be a triathlete?

      • I started out running and found my way into it after a few marathons. I wasn’t a fast runner, and realized that I loved cycling, so I figured I’d give it a try! Now I’m hooked and pushing myself to get back into training. 🙂

        • I’m not a fast runner, and I already know I like biking and swimming a lot. Tris interest me simply because it’s still a long endurance race, but not as long of a run. The University where I work does one every spring… I just might have to do it in May!

  4. Pingback: Me & running don’t always see eye to eye | Piloting Paper Airplanes

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