Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Runner

I realized something this past week. For 30 years, I have considered myself a soccer player who happens to run. Soccer was the first sport I played, and I loved it right away.  But I always wanted to run - I can remember going past the middle school track and wanting desperately to run on that track (even though it was an old cinder track). I eventually set records on that track, but I was still a soccer player who happened to run long distance.  I was county champion in cross country, and city champion in several events through middle school, and I received a varsity letter as a freshman cross-country runner.

Still I was a soccer player who happened to also run.  That's why I would do both in the same season. In fact, as a high school sophomore, I chose (club) soccer over (varsity) cross country. I was definitely a soccer player who happened to run.

This past week, however, I realized that this is no longer true. Now I consider myself a runner who happens to love to play soccer. I still play soccer and I play my hardest.  I love getting together with the team.  I love a great pass. I love scoring goals.  But I am clearly a runner who also plays soccer. 

A defining moment in this realization has been my Saturdays.  Before, I would certainly not run on a Saturday in anticipation of my soccer game.  I would want to keep myself fresh for the game.  But over the past couple of months, I've been finding myself out for runs, even longer runs (8-9 miles) on Saturdays, game and all.  I'm not exactly even training for any races or anything - just running to run.

I now define myself as a runner who happens to love soccer.


WES ELLIS said...

I define myself as anything but a runner... who occasionally forces himself to run so that he doesn't die at a young age.

The Thief said...

I've found that there are three types of runners:

1. The certifiably insane ones who live to run. This type runs every race (of every distance) they can get to and dreams of running. I am one of these.

2. The runners who generally like running, but who can take it or leave it. They usually run a race or two (usually a local fund raiser) and have probably run a longer race at some time. They are usually pretty reasonable people.

3. The "I DON'T LIKE RUNNING" type who want to stay in shape, so they run anyway. If given any choice in the matter, they would do anything else, especially play a sport, but there are just times when they have to run.

(note this doesn't include all of the NON-Runners out there, of which there are many, many sub-categories...

Mike said...

Good stuff. Very interesting how we define ourselves. Running is a "second love" for many athletes. It is simple, natural, and requires verly little equipment and no special field or court.

The Thief said...

Thanks for dropping in, Mike. You've hit a good truth there.