Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Writer! Runner?

Day 13 of 31 at TWT!
Some of you know that I've been trying to be a runner. Or, if I'm using the same logic that Stacey Shubitz taught us years ago about being writers, I suppose I AM a runner. If a writer is a person who writes (as opposed to a "real" published writer), then a runner is a person who runs, right? And I run three times a week. Not particularly fast, and not particularly far, but I run.

I'm not sure why I can so easily call myself a writer but find it so hard to try on the identity of "runner".

Partly, it feels like I should be good at something in order to own that title. I know I'm good at writing. I've gotten feedback throughout my life that I'm good at writing in a variety of situations, so I know other people also believe I'm good at writing. Therefore, I'm a writer.

I'm not particularly good at running, although I'm not overly bad either. (In fact, I've even gotten encouraging feedback that I run like a runner!) But with running, I feel like I need to achieve some sort of objective accomplishment to claim the title of "runner". If I can run an __-minute mile, I'll be a real runner. If I I can run a 5K someday, I'll be a real runner. Right? Yet, I don't feel like I need to publish a book to call myself a writer. I don't tell myself that because I "only" write blog posts, I'm not a writer. I don't believe there's some sort of objective number of posts per week that I have to write in order to be a writer.

I don't do that with any other title I claim. I don't feel like I'm not a reader if I don't read a certain amount of pages every week. No matter what, I'm a marching band girl, even though the most we've participated in the Alumni Band lately is a couple of parades.

Ultimately, I think the difference is that writing has felt like a piece of my heart for so long that it really is an integral part of who I am. I pretty much can't not write. As long as I can remember, I've kept a notepad by my bed for those times when I wake up in the middle of the night with a burning idea that I JUST HAVE TO WRITE, right then. I often decide to write "just a short post" and find myself coming up for air an hour and a half later, shaking myself back into the real world like I've been in some kind of haze. I've always been a writer.

This running thing is new. It doesn't pull at my heart like writing does. I certainly don't wake up in the middle of the night with a sudden urge to go running! Sometimes, I look ahead and think, "Ugh, I have to run again tomorrow." But even as I think that, I'll flex my muscles and feel a slight pulse, like my legs and arms are saying, "Let's go!" I'll feel a little tightness in my muscles or notice them getting stronger and more defined, and I'll stand up a little straighter and walk with a little more pride, wishing I was wearing a sign that said "I'M A RUNNER NOW!" so everyone could see the small differences I feel. I'll start to feel bogged down with the stress of school and life and my thoughts will shift to, "Oh good, I'm running tomorrow!" as I anticipate that glorious clear-headed floating feeling that's an added bonus to just plain running the knots out.

So I suppose it pulls at my heart, but differently. I have to make myself run... but I sometimes have to make myself write, too! That just means it's hard, not that it's not part of who I am. It's a newer part of who I am, but I watch students become readers and writers in my class every year, and I don't discount their new identities. If I feel moved to write poetry about it, it has absolutely taken hold in my heart.

I write. I am a writer. I run. I am a runner.


  1. I like the way you worked through this. In the early part of the post I was going to comment, "You write, You're a writer. You run. You're a runner." But you figured that out before I could say it :)

  2. The views of our identity are always navigable, and slippery. And sometimes, elusive. We are always in the midst of change. So who we see ourselves as being, and who we see the world as seeing who we are, is in flux. Runner/Writer ... keep moving onward!

  3. There's no doubt in my mind, you are a writer and a runner. You do it, you own the identity of that activity. I, on the other hand, am not a runner. I used to be a walker, but lately that has slipped away. Remember, you are great whatever you choose to do.

  4. Own the identity of runner as much as you own the identity of writer!


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