Are Proper Runners Inspirational or Terrifying?

In this thought-piece our WOGOR (Wife or Girlfriend of a Runner) Blogger tells us about one of the curses of being the partner of a runner.

“You run more” is an accusation levelled at me for some time now by a best friend. It’s a little frustrating because I ran before I married an athlete – it was probably just less obvious because there wasn’t as much conversation about running at the restaurant table, in general.

It’s true however, to say that I run more often and, crucially, further than I ever have before. In part that’s because I now know I can, which is all due to the athlete explaining that if I slowed down the pace I could sustain it for longer (I’m pretty sure I’m now as slow as you can get before walking, and certainly much slower than a race walker).

Woman runs along a trail above the California Coast north of San FranciscoThe assumption is though, that I run because I’m inspired by the athlete and the other athletes that are now in my everyday social circles as a result. There is a big difference however, between admiring a gritty cross-country run via the sidelines and being inspired to actually race it. I may complain about cold toes in my gumboots waiting around for the warm-down to be finished before being able to go home, but I’m happier doing that than going for a run while I wait, around all these proper runners.

And there lies the sting. In my head at the start of a long run on Sundays I devise a very complicated route around Centennial Park to avoid running into the proper runners. When you’re doing your best to get into the zone and forget about a fry up or a lie in or any of the other things that other people are doing at 8am on the weekend, it’s demoralising to be over-taken by a bunch of chatting – chatting! How do they do that? – proper runners who lope past me up hills when I am, frankly, imagining myself as the little engine that could.

“You’ll be running with the group, soon!” has been thrown my way at the end of a few long runs by some of the proper runners, too. It’s certainly mostly a joke at my expense, but even if there was a kernel of genuineness in it, I wouldn’t be keen. On my solitary runs at least I can imagine I’m a proper runner.