When can you call yourself a runner?

How many times how you heard the question, so you’re a runner? I usually hesitate and answer kind of. I don’t really know why I don’t just say yes. A runner is a fast and serious person, very fast and very serious about every step. Right? When can you call yourself a runner? After the first step you take, after your first 5k run, after your first race… How many marathons does it take? Do you even have to run a race? Does it have to do with capacity or discipline?

The past weeks I’ve been bumping into blogs and articles about when is it ok to call yourself a runner. Some people say that you have to be fast and actually accomplish something, other says that as long as you get outside the door you can call yourself a runner. Do you have to run 5k in 20 minutes? Run a marathon in less time than it takes to walk to the neighborhood pizza place? Or is it ok to run slow? Does it have to do with how much you sweat or how tired you get? Can you call yourself a runner if you only run on treadmills and never outside? Is speed a factor? Or your looks? Do you have to look like a runner? And how does a runner look? I am not sure! I guess they come in all shapes.

A runner is a person who runs. And like it. Not always but most of the miles.

A runner runs, in all kinds of weather. You don’t stay in watching tv just because the weather looks bad. You don’t quit and go home because it’s raining. It doesn’t matter if you run 4 miles or 40 miles per week, you run. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you run (but if it is too slow it’s actually a walk). If you work, get your heart rate up and and wear a pair of running shoes then you’re a runner.

We all have different reasons why we run. Some run because their doctor said it’s good for the cholesterol, some people run to look awesome naked, to be able to eat more, some run to clear their thoughts, to be alone, to be good role model for their kids, to feel good, to get faster, to loose weight. We all have our reasons. I wish I could say that I had a really good reason why I feel like it is so necessary to lace my shoes and head out. I wish I could say that I really feel like I want to run superfast and get skinny, to be an awesome mom. I don’t have a good reason. I just like running and it makes me feel so darn good.

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Get a pair of shoes and head out… and stay away from the treadmill!

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And choose your distance for the day.

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Thank you

It’s not really a secret that I happen to go to the gym more or less every day. I usually pack my bag the night before and take off after I’ve dropped off the kids at different schools. If I have to work or do something else I usually try to get in at 5am, before I get the kids up. If I have company I rather run outside in the dark, it’s a great way to start your day. Watch the sun wake up and hear birds and rabbits move in the dark when you pass on the trail and every once in a while you get to greet a deer or a coyote. Extraordinary!

I am pretty good at planning my days around running and classes at the gym. If I don’t have time to run/bike/take a class/swim it is a very bad and not very happy day. When things get routine you tend to forget important things, you don’t notice what is happening around you and you take things for granted. I will try to get better at thanking people around me that makes my day easier and happier. 

The lifeguards at the pool. Always watching out for you, always with a smile, always a nice word. I love the way they talk to the kids around them.

The front desk people, always nice and smiling. And always a nice word.

The ladies in the locker room. I am amazed, the locker room is a never ending story. I am amazed how people can just drop their towels and seriously mess things up. There are people there all the time, they never get a break. And you never see them stand still, they constantly move, clean, help…

There is a very nice guy that always vacuums the stairs that leads from the pool and up two floors. I don’t know how many times he has told me to have a wonderful day. He makes my day every time. He is one in a million.

And of course everybody else… Thank you.

Something totally different. Two days in a row, I laughed so hard that I started to cry. Really laughed and really cried. Isn’t it great to laugh, it makes the rest of the day so much brighter. The funny thing is when you try to describe why you laugh it sounds really lame. And as soon as you do something your kids are there with their phones. So, from me to you… this is how Caroline and I look when we kind of laugh/cry when having lunch.

Swimming on the right side

A new week. Monday night started with a home game and one of my players stayed home sick. The other player got home after 9.30, ate dinner and started homework. Rumors tells me she went to bed 1.15. And from the look she gave me when I woke her up at 6.30 it could been later than 1.15. Great start of the week. Our weekend passed quick. A nice dinner with friends, lots of sleep, golf for some and work Sunday. The slowest weekend in a long time. I am still walking around feeling “post race trauma”, have an emptiness growing and feel like I have no clue what’s going to happen. The “back” fracture kind of made it worse since I can’t run for a while. And it gives me a strange feeling, maybe I will forget how to run? What if my legs won’t work when I try to run in a couple of weeks? Dealing with injuries is not my strongest side. I get angry and feel depressed, I need my daily running/sweating fix. I know, ridiculous. I was so looking forward to a fall of biking and it feels like someone stole something from me. And I don’t have anybody to blame but myself.  

Got a good 1,5 hours of swimming and strength in today and it feels like I am getting back on track. But swimming, still not convinced. It’s just…wet and troublesome. I had my favorite right lane all by myself today until I collided head to head against a not very nice woman. She just got into the water and started swimming in my lane without making any kind of sign to me that she was there. I don’t swim with my head up, I look down at the bottom of the pool when I swim and occasionally my mind disappears away. After our collision we made it very clear that I will be swimming on the left side of the lane and she would swim on the right. I took off and bang. One more collision. She insisted on swimming right over the midline, the wide blue line. Really! I had about 400 yards left so I kept swimming on my side but started some serious sighting and managed to stay away from her for the rest of the time. What’s up with some people? And I was there first!  

School night

Day 2 of curriculum nights. I really enjoy curriculum nights. Not only because you get to meet other parents but because I get to sit and listen to other teachers. I love teachers. It is interesting and I still get surprised and actually blank in my head when it comes to questions. How can people think so differently. We read the same literature and have the same intentions, to educate kids and get them ready for life and everything that involves growing up. And I realize that after 6 great years in excellent schools and with amazing teachers I still feel very Swedish. And it is not all about the language, I know English will always be my second language. It is the way we think, the way we treat children, the way we act and the way we talk. I am not saying that one country does it better than the other, it is just different, totally different. Even if I love our schools here I will never agree about the homework load our kids get. It is in my opinion completely unnecessary. As a teacher I really avoid homework but there are always parents that asks for it, strange. Why? If we want kids to learn and develop a healthy lifestyle let them be kids and let them have time to enjoy life a little bit more. 3-4 hours of homework after 7-8 hours in school (with no breaks and no time outside) is crazy. No wonder everybody has to eat Vitamin D here. I don’t think kids learn from huge amounts of homework, it comes to a point when it get to much and it’s does the opposite. School becomes negative and they focus on the stress and the fact that they don’t have enough time to finish every night. Check out the high school kids at our volleyball games, they don’t have time to watch their friends play because they are trying to squeeze in a couple of extra hours of homework when they are not playing so they don’t have to stay up after midnight. That’s how you create stressed and overworked kids and teenagers. Add on bad eating habits and not enough sleep. And don’t get me started on PE. I love PE, my kids loves PE but there sure are ways to kill the joy of moving and running. Get a stopwatch and ask kids to run a mile fast and they hate running. And grade their throws and kicks, jumps and shots and they will feel like they’re never good enough. Hopefully not for the rest of their life. And why are some sports worth so much more than others, how can you grade sports? And why do we think some sports are cooler than others? We just want our kids to move and enjoy working out. Simple.        

Day 18 of no family dinners. It’s easy, high school sports = no time to eat dinner. 3 out of 5 are taking high school sports and 1 out of 5 takes middle school sports this year that means that 1 person get to do everything else that has to happen around the house every night (without sitting down). If it’s not a game night that has been happening 3 out of 5 nights, then the whole family gets involved and usually gets home around…extremely late for a child. We are on a crazy schedule and somehow I have forgot that I need to get groceries to cook dinner five days in a row. Went to the store twice today since it seems like I lost the ability to think and write notes. Who needs to eat anyway. Well, everybody gets hungry all the time and every time I am around the only question I get is what’s for dinner? The kids cooked tonight and I went to curriculum night, again. Win-win! 

Endurance

How do you sit down when you’re not supposed to sit? Beats me. I am sitting. I kind of forget that I am not supposed to sit. I broke my tailbone Friday. I thought I was ready to conquer the scary trail, got my skis on and went to Sammamish River Trail (Marymoor felt kind of flat and boring the third time.) I was ready for the trail but not ready to share it with others. A nice but unleashed dog was happy to see me and I took a step to the side and hit the gravel. Roller skis don’t go well with gravel so I slowed down, in less than a second and fell on my coccyx. That is a cooler name for tailbone. The bone I broke into little pieces. After scooting around over the weekend I went to my doctor yesterday. I needed to hear that those things happen and it’s ok to run with a little pain around your buttocks. Today running feels impossible so I went to the pool and used my arms. Not my favorite thing to do. And apparently little bits and pieces can move around so I need to stop moving and not sit down.

This honestly sucks. I have had my fair share of injuries the past years and felt pretty done with broken bones and torn ligaments for the moment. This ridiculous piece of bone is totally useless. And so am I. No running or biking but lucky me, I can squat a little. And I have been going on and on about endurance and overcoming psychological challenges. Back to square one. The biggest challenge will be to heal a tiny useless, tail like bone. I usually think “clear your mind and the rest will follow”. My mind is so done with this and it’s on its way to a mountain top but my butt seem to be stuck at physical therapy. A different kind of endurance…

A new year…

All my plans ended around September 1st and life got a bit empty after the race, THE RACE, and I flew back home and life continued. And I turned 41 yesterday. That is a big number. 41, I am middle-aged. Done with tiny kids, have a stable life, a car that I like and many credit cards. And I don’t have dinner at McDonalds or Taco Bell. And I have lots of laundry that needs to be folded, all the time. And I don’t care if it is Saturday or Tuesday when I drink wine since I go to bed around 11 anyway. When my kids talk about old people they usually say she’s 40 something. That’s me! I am now something.

Well, this old lady needs to make plans for this coming year. And I’ve been thinking of my training and racing year and as always I got some advice and help from the guru. What would I do without him? We met and talked. We agreed that now is the time to do fun stuff, rest and try new things. What I heard was mountain biking in the woods, go on long trail runs, fun fun fun fun fun. Take long thinking breaks, watch the view and bring a thermos with coffee, a nasty sandwich and a huge chocolate bar in my backpack. Maybe restart hot yoga and pick up squash again (it’s only been 19 years since I quit after moving from Belgium). Run for fun, I like that. And I saw myself rolling around Sammamish River Trail petting dogs, talking to seniors and having lunch at Red Hook half way into my roller skiing days. That’s what I heard during that hour we met. Sounds nice, right?

I got an email the day after we met. Shoot. Having fun is still ok, I heard right but I still need to do the minimum. My usual strength Monday and Wednesdays, two bike rides per week, at least 20 something miles of running and swimming at least twice per week. And then the fun stuff…

And when should I do yoga, and how about coffee breaks and enjoying the view at the top of Mt Si? And I was going to start with something new. I have heard that biathlon or diving is fun. High jump is supposed to be entertaining for tall people. And how about squash? And curling? And run for fun?

Well, I guess it’s good to get back to normal training hours since it is so difficult to know when to take a shower otherwise. If you don’t exercise, when do you shower? It feels a bit pointless if you’re not sweaty after running or training.

Välkommen höst!

Skolstart och regnrusk, blöta skor och fruset in till benmärgen. Idag var det höstens första skoldag för alla barn på Svenska Skolan i Seattle. Finfina barn som förväntansfulla kom till parken i Redmond för att träffa sina nya klasskompisar och fröknar. Eller var det kanske fröknarna som var mest förväntansfulla och pirriga? Det brukar vara solsken och varmt när vi intar årets första korv med bröd och går tipspromenad. I år dundrade himlen lite, gjorde lite oväsen precis när vi började. Regnet småskvätte lite men de värsta skurarna verkar ha stannat runt omkring parken. Vi klarade oss från att bli genomdränkta och satte oss i bilarna hyfsat torra. Några nya gluggar där det suttit framtänder fick jag se och nog hade nästan alla vuxit minst en decimeter över sommarlovet.  Välkomna tillbaka till ett nytt år!

Det har varit en tuff vecka för skolbarnen här hemma. Inte mindre än tre bortamatcher under förra veckan och vi åkte så långt som till Whidbey Island för ett av mötena. Långa kvällar och tuffa möten. Middag har intagits framåt 10 tiden på kvällarna och läxorna har gjorts efter det. Det är ett hårt liv för highschool barnen som har många ömmande kroppsdelar efter veckan. Nya tag och ny vecka! Go Kangs!

Ett nytt år med nya äventyr har jag framför mig. Tack alla för meddelanden och hurrarop på min födelsedag igår. 365 dagar till nästa är ju en hel evighet. Kan bara meddela att jag känner mig äldre än någonsin. I fredags rullade jag runt på mina rullskidor längs vattnet när jag blev överraskad av en lös hund som var lite närgången. Jag tog ett steg åt sidan och hamnade i gruset. Där var det tvärnit och jag satte mig platt på rumpan. Och inte faller man lika mjukt på asfalt som på snö så svanskotan har fått sig en törn. På’t igen bara, jag planerar att rulla vidare nästa vecka. Jag är tacksam att vi har en mjuk soffa och mjuka kuddar hemma.