Everyone runs for a different reason, but that reason is specialized and meaningful to him/her. I started off as the girl who ran to relieve stress and transitioned into the crazy lady who races distances for a better time, every time. I had an interesting conversation with one of my friends the other day, we were talking on the phone while I was simultaneously cleaning out my closet. In the back of my rack I pulled out a size 8 pants. I remember buying these so so many months ago. It was one of my proudest days. Up until that point I had been a size 14/12 pants and for the first time since middle school I was finally a single digit size. So I said to my friend, "Why do I keep these pants, my 4s are starting to hang off me, why do I have these?" I asked in a rhetorical fashion but she responded with, "To remember where you came from." I have such clever friends with such tactful responses. So I folded the jeans and put them back in the closet.
This is my Type One: Run it off. A lot of people get into running to lose weight. I mean I certainly started noticing the benefits when I kept needing to buy new clothes and stepping on the scale with a "Are you serious?!" response. For an average runner, one mile will burn about 100 calories, give or take. So as you get into longer runs it starts to add up. The challenge for this runner is probably in diet. If you run often or you run long, making sure you eat enough/not too much can be a tricky thing to balance. I would often times come home from a 3 hour workout, starving, throw back a bunch of nutella and toast and pass out. Probably not the best idea. Counting calories was more important to me when I was this type of runner than the kinds of foods I was eating.
So when you run long you get lean right? As a runner, your ego can be your best friend and your worst enemy all at the same time. As I started to take on longer races, like the half marathon, I noticed that I was dropping weight but I was starting to become more interested in my pace, time and how far I could go. One weekend, when I was training for my first half marathon, I remember being dropped off 7 miles out from where I was staying, in corn-field WI and told to run back. I ran through rain, sun, past turkeys that I thought were going to eat me and made it back. That was the longest I had run at that point and damn did I feel good. But when I ran the actual race itself (13.1) I was mortified with my nearly 3 hour time.
Type Two: Running for Time: This was the runner I had evolved into. Having a few races under my belt my objective shifted from just finishing the race to meeting a goal time. This didn't come easy. I started changing up my lifestyle. At this point I was a full fledged vegetarian but I did a lot of research about how my increased intake of carbs was holding me back from dropping to a smaller size, which ultimately would allow me to have a faster pace. I also started befriending a lot of runners and asking for tips. They directed me to the weight room where I learned the importance of lifting and the benefits of having a strong core. My lifestyle was starting to shape around the sport of running and my daily routine, around my workouts.
I was so much involved in this sport of running, I was working at a gym part time for a free membership, talking to everyone who came through about the sport and even making some really valuable connections. One of which was my triathlon coach. I met her one day as she came through the gym with her Ironman hat on. We chit-chatted here and there when she came through and before you know it I was approaching her about coaching me for my first half Ironman. I worked with her for 16 weeks with an outlined training plan and a mix of different workouts. I never learned more about my body/working out than I did when I was training for this even. HIIT training, plyometrics, circuits, and box jumps were just some of what I got myself into on top of endurance training. With all of these new workouts I was seeing a change in myself, mentally and physically, like never before and I knew this was the person I wanted to be.
Type 3: The Runnerd. Ok I have to admit I didn't come up with that one, BUT it is quite witty. I like to think that this is where I am at. Completely in love with the sport of running/triathlons. I find myself reading articles about core strength, tips on biking, retweeting professional triathletes and subscribing to as many blogs as possible. Each workout I do is now focused to improve my overall strength and ability rather than burning calories. I do my best to write down what I eat every day, at what time and I put a lot of focus on my protein intake. I can see myself being a part of this sport long term and love talking to everyone about it....that must be annoying :P But overall the best part about this type is knowing that I have worked through each of the other two and that's how I'm here today. Running/racing define me and drive a lot of my motivation in life. It's been an evolution of sorts though. The person we become is determined by the choices we make.