The first part of my blog title is pretty straightforward- I want to get fit. This means I try to eat healthy food, I lift weights, I run, I practice martial arts. The second part of my blog title – becoming legit – needs a little more explanation.
I think I’m doing an OK job of being healthy and fit, like a dude who can pick up a basketball and play a few rounds with the guys. But I don’t want to just be a dude who knows how to dribble… I want to be in the pros. A baller.
Plainly speaking, I don’t want to just be fit; I want to be athletic. I don’t want to just be able to exercise really well, I want to have athletic ability. That’s legit.
Now, I don’t want to play sports or join athletic competitions. I just want my level of fitness to be extraordinary better than the average person who hits the gym three times a week or so.
So why “becoming legit”? Because I’m nowhere near that athletic level. Man, I get winded when we play a game of floor hockey with foam sticks in Taekwondo. I’m like, just let me be goalie (but don’t shoot the foam ball over here)!
Another aspect of the legitimacy is being able to adopt certain labels for myself, especially those that I feel are reserved for legit athletes.
Most notable is runner. I say that I run, but never I’m a runner. Aside from being different parts of speech, there’s a big conceptual difference between the verb run and the noun runner. Saying I run means this is a thing I can do, whereas saying I am a runner means this is something I am. It’s an identity, not simply an ability.
At this point, I cannot, will not, say that I am a runner.
Why? What is a “real” runner?
A runner can run long distances. A runner can keep running after 4 miles and doesn’t just say, f*ck this shit, I’m done. Because let’s be honest – most people who are in decent physical shape can run if they have to. Say, if the zombie apocalypse suddenly broke out, the regular person will be able to run for her life for probably – 30-40 minutes, maybe an hour, tops. But the runners will be able to go for miles and miles. They’re the ones who wont have zombies gnawing on their femur, folks.
A runner doesn’t even need to be fast. They can just keep going. And going. Running is hard for everyone, but a runner manages to overcome the wall. The wall of my legs burn because my veins feel like they’re pumping battery acid. The wall of my heart is tired from breathing. The wall of I’m so bored my brain is going numb (it’s hard to daydream when you’re in pain).
The thing with running is that it’s deceptively simple. It’s so easy to run but also so so difficult at the same time. It’s such a mental game. And I just can’t get my head right. By the time (/if) I get past the 20 minute mark, I’ve already bribed, threatened, cajoled, guilt-tripped, begged, soothed, psyched, and admonished myself. Trying to do that for hours in my head is just as exhausting as the actual running.
I am so
jealous in awe of people who are real runners. You know, the marathoners and such. There’s nothing more legit than running a marathon. Because one does not simply run into a marathon. It takes dedicated training for several months. I ran one race in my life – a 5K in 2013. It was pretty great. I’d feel really good if I could make myself run more of those though. Hell, I’d be happy if I could do something respectable, like a 10K.
So a few weeks ago I’m having drinks at a bar with some coworkers. One person, Kristen, is a new colleague. Somehow we get on the topic of marathons, and it comes up that Kristen has run one in Egypt. Someone asks, how many marathons have you run? And sitting over there, cool as a cucumber, she says, eight. In different countries all around the word. And I’m like whaaaat…
And I’m just over here trying to work up to another 5k guys!!! So case in point: Kristen is a runner. I run.
Some people might say, gee Kim, running seems to be not your thing because you kind of suck at it. Why not try to do something else?
Because this is something I want to be. I want to be able to say I am a runner. I want that freakin 26.2 sticker on the back of my Subaru Outback. Because I see long distance running as one of the most difficult activities, and I really want to conquer it. And yeah, because I think being a runner is badass. Long distance running requires incredible mental toughness.
So world, there you have it – this is one of my major fitness goals. This is a label I really want to earn. I’m not fast, I don’t have a lot endurance, but I’ll keep lacing up those running shoes and I’m gonna keep tryin.
4 thoughts on “On Being Legit”
Nice post. Reminds me of an encounter I had with a true runner as you call it. We were shooting the breeze and I mentioned his Minneapolis marathon shirt. I told him I always wanted to run one and he said “yeah they” i noticed the plural “are fun.” He was about 60 years old so I asked him if he had completed many. And nonchalantly he said that the one he was getting ready for would be his 68th… motha effin 68th. I really don’t know if I will ever do one, but he realky inspired me. The next run I went on I was thinking “if some 60 year old man can run marathons I should be able to go more than this sad 5 miles.” I think I’ll go for a run tomorrow. Thanks for the reminder 🙂
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68? What? That’s a totally different animal right there. But yeah, whenever I meet people like that it never fails to make me feel pumped and ashamed at the same time!
By the way, great posts on your blog, I’m loving the musings on fitness you’re writing about.
Great post. It had me smiling while reading it. I love running. I still don’t consider myself a runner.The longest I’ve ran has been 10 miles. But it is such a mental sport.
I think if you start of slow, you can make your way up to as many miles as you want. I believe it is all about your mental strength and a lottttt of dedication because if you don’t run for a week, when you get back to it, you feel it.
But good luck! Running is such a stress relieve aside from all the other great health factors! 🙂
Good luck with your quest. Similarly, I write (it’s my job) but I don’t consider myself a writer 😉