Am I a Runner or Triathlete?

Me & Monica at our first 5K in 2006!
This week I started thinking about triathlons vs. running. I started running almost 5 years ago, and it took me a long time to consider myself a runner. Since I was chubby & slow, I never felt like a "real runner", just someone trying to fit in. I felt like an outsider in the running world. I finished a few 5Ks, and even my first and second half marathons & still didn't feel like a runner. You see, I was the kind of girl who would find plenty of excuses not to get up for the gym, to skip my long runs on the weekends (even when I was race training), and I would never dream of going out if it were too cold, rainy or snowy. When I signed up for my 3rd half marathon at Disney World with a group of friends, I promised my brother I would go as slow as we needed to so I could help him finish. The race was in January, which in florida should be ideal running weather, right? Last year unfortunately was the worst weather florida had gotten since the 70s, making our 3:30am bus time & 6:30am race start the worst thing I have ever experienced. I had my running tights, long sleeve shirt, gloves, headband, and a disney poncho to block out the rain, hail and snow as we got pelted waiting for the race to start.

Me & Christy pre-race at the hotel

Amy & Christy getting ready for the start

Almost done! at Epcot
We were cold, miserable, and if I hadn't paid so much money to get to Disney & wanted that race medal so bad, I would have turned around & climbed back to bed. My brother & I finished the race in just under 3 hours. His legs cramped up at mile 9, and we walked for the majority of the race after that. It was my slowest finish time ever, but I finally felt like a runner. Only a runner would endure snow in florida to run 13.1 miles through Cinderella's castle!

Horrible self taken shot of me & my brother after the finish
Becoming a Triathlete was a totally different story. I felt it the minute I crossed that finish line. Maybe it's because I struggled into a wetsuit at 6am, maybe because I was crazy enough to ride up the practically vertical hills, maybe it was because I pushed myself to keep running even though my back felt like it was going to give out on me. The moment I crossed that finish line & high fived Sally Edwards, I felt like a totally bad ass triathlete. For months people had looked at me like I was crazy when I told them about the swim, bike, run plan, and I proved I could do it. Totally Bad ass!

Now clearly I have more running races under my belt than triathlons, but now I'm trying to figure out how to be a runner/triathlete. Train for both at the same time, improve my body to benefit both sports. Thankfully tri season is over for now, and I can focus on the running.

Me & Monica after my Athena win!
I signed up for the Hartford Half Marathon's 5K for next weekend! My friend Jessica at work helped me out by taking my backup shift at work, so now I can do my first 5K road race since my surgery & watch my brother & friend Ashley finish the Half Marathon! I won the Athena category a few years ago at this, so we'll see how it goes this year! The Manchester turkey trot is on thanksgiving & New Orleans is looking like a definite, so my calendar is looking good so far!

Today, I got out of work around 2:30, and really wanted to go for a run. I got home and in my mailbox was a fabulous motivational surprise that I can't let you in on yet, since it is for our next giveaway! I was all pumped up & ready to go for a little over a 3 mile run. As I was heading out, I felt so good, I decided to add on another loop, which really turned out to be a pretty good sized extra loop. I thought about adding on a little more, but my right knee was aching (old ACL reconstruction) and my back was starting to bother me, so I started for home. I had no idea how long the run was, but it felt like the longest distance I've done in awhile & I was able to keep my heart rate manageable & my breathing under control the entire time. I only needed 2 rest breaks walking for the knee, and didn't walk at all until almost 4 miles in. Total I ran 5 miles! Guess I'll be fine for my 5K & the turkey trot, I'll start working on building my speeds.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway HERE for an Inspired endurance Triathlon bead, and be sure to check out their website HERE for lots of fabulous running jewelry!

Want to know how my triathlon went? go HERE to get my Danskin Triathlon race report!


Jana said...

I can relate to the "calling yourself a runner" thing. I just ran my first 10 mile race and was in a car full of avid runners. Every single one of them has done several races including marathons, half marathons, relays, 5K etc.

I said to them "I can't wait until I can call myself a distance runner" One of them replied "Uhhhh Jana.... you are a distance runner"

Just thought I'd pop on and say hi.

Jana (From WW boards)

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

Congrats on your 5 miler! Woohoo!
Even though you may not have done a lot of running races, you ARE a runner. Anyone that runs is a runner! It doesn't matter how far or how long you've been doing it! You should be proud of all you've accomplished and be confident in calling yourself a runner and a triathlete! :)

The Green Girl said...

Congratulations on the five miles! ::high fives::

I love that you got a bad time for your brother.

Stephanie Anne said...

Jana - thanks for stopping by! Isn't it funny how we underestimate ourselves?

Aimee- Thanks for the pep talk! It's nice to finally think that I belong to that "club" of people called runners lol

Green Girl- Thanks! I don't think my brother would have made it without me, but now he's gone on to do another half & his 3rd one is next weekend. His goal is to beat my PR lol

Carly said...

I know exactly how you feel. I felt like a triathlete as soon as I finished my first tri. I think it has something to do with the fact that many runners I know, people who do marathons, would never dream of doing a tri. So in some respects they are in awe of me and that's cool. But I felt like a real runner after this last winter when I kept up my running through the cold, snowy winter. :-)

Stephanie Anne said...

Carly- thats my goal for this year, run outdoors even when its cold or snowing!