There are many words that help define who I am. Some describe my career. Some describe my status. Some describe my hobbies. All combine to help give others a glimpse into the things I enjoy, the things I work hard for, and the things that mean the most to me.
However, sometimes there needs to be a little more clarity.
When I describe myself, I do use the word runner. This is primarily because 3-4 days a week, I hit the road. It helps explain why some days I wear more comfortable shoes to work. Or why I’m chugging water and Gatorade a few days before a race. Or why I’m hobbling around after a marathon.
Yet when push comes to shove, running is just a hobby for me.
That’s right, no one is paying me to run. It is not my job. It isn’t even my life mission. It is just something that I enjoy, that helps relieve stress and that makes me smile (most of the time).
This being said, it also serves as a reminder that since it is a hobby – I shouldn’t be privy to things that those who run for a living should be. If I am, it’s a bonus – and an honor – but I surely don’t expect it.
I’m not out to win a race, therefore I expect to pay for my race entry. That race registration helps the organizers create a race that is seamless. The roads are closed for safety, there are aid stations that provide fluid and fuel, there are shirts and medals to serve as memories of the event, there are police officers and EMTs ready to help if needed, etc. While some races may be more expensive than others (I’m looking at you runDisney), most of the local races I participate in are very reasonable and put on some of the best events I’ve ever experienced. Even better, many support a local charity or cause with a portion of the profit.
Since I am a hobby runner, I also don’t expect to be featured in anything. My story isn’t unique. I’m just someone who found running to be a form of stress relief. My race times aren’t fantastic. I just work hard to try to improve them. Therefore I don’t need to be quoted in a magazine, invited to VIP events or flown to a race. Sure, I enjoy meeting elite runners if given the chance, but I sure don’t expect to be treated like them. Let’s be honest, I can relate much more to my fellow hobby runners!
Even more so, since running is a hobby – I don’t even attempt to run a lot of races each year. Sure, I put a few on the calendar to keep my drive of working toward a specific goal, whether it be time or distance. I also try to include a new race, specifically in a new location if possible. However, I know my limitations. With a full-time job (and a few additional hobbies on the side), my schedule is full enough. Not to mention, I know Brent is my biggest cheerleader – but he doesn’t want to cart around to a race every weekend either. I plan my races deliberately, making sure I have time to do other things I love – even if it’s just lounging at home some weekends.
Running is and always will be a hobby for me. And I’m completely okay with that.