Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Road Race

I ran my second race over the weekend. The first race I ran was in February, a 5-miler through picturesque Ambler, PA. This past one was a 10k (or 6.2 miles) in a town right near Ambler. Brian ran it with me. I beat him by 6 seconds. It will never happen again; my beating him, not racing.

I enjoyed both races much more than I expected. The first one in Ambler, I did by myself while Brian raced around dropping me off and getting the kids to their sporting events and then picking me up. I thought I'd feel very self-conscious but I didn't. I struck up conversations with a few people as we waited for the race to start, very friendly. My brother, who runs a lot of races, once told me (long before I met Brian) that if I wanted to meet guys I should do races.

I think I'm nervous because I am an erratic runner--I'll run fast then slow down and then speed up again. I hate running with people for this very reason. I tried running in a running group once and had to stop (and they were probably very happy about it).
But it didn't matter during the race because I passed some people and some people passed me. And then more people passed me. On Saturday, I found myself running behind this woman with a t-shirt on that said something on the back like, "Is it rude to count the number of people you pass out loud?" I kept seeing that shirt and I didn't like the saying so I sped up at the end and passed her. I know, rather childish but she'll never know the real reason; I hope.

Throughout the day on Saturday while running errands, I'd stop every once in a while and think, 'Oh yeah, I ran a race today, boy I feel good.' It was great knowing I had started off the day with an invigorating race. Now, I know why people get up at the crack of dawn to go to the gym. I'm not saying I'm going to join them anytime soon, but I understand.

And yet, I still don't know if I can call myself a runner. I know it sounds weird but when I talk to people about what they do for exercise, a lot of people will say, "I run, I'm a runner." But when does one become a runner? After one race? Two races? My brother (the one who runs, I have 3 brothers) told me about a race he is running in Germany. My niece (his daughter) is graduating there with a degree in culinary arts. Anyway, the half-marathon they are both running, takes place the day after she graduates. I asked, "Doesn't she want to hang out and have some beers after she graduates?" He replied, "Well, then she'll just run slower." See that's a real runner; even tying one on doesn't stop you.
But my problem may just be a personality quirk. A few years ago I would answer the question, "Do you work?" with a long involved response about how I stayed home but sometimes I stage managed, on a professional level. I never just said, "I am a stage manager."

I think I may call myself a runner if I can keep running and still stage manage a show. My prep week for The Seafarer starts next week and then it's rehearsals. I've signed up to do the 10 mile Broad Street run in the middle of all of it. If I can keep running (getting up early if need be), and even run Broad Street without falling flat on my face, then maybe...just maybe, I'll call myself a runner.

Then again, maybe I'll just be a part-time stage manager and mom who runs occasionally.

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