Are you an athlete?

How is your day going? Do you need a posture reset? How about a life reset? No? Just coffee? Okay. Me too.

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Besides my wonderful “mini” vacation I took last Friday, the other highlight of my weekend included training for my half marathon. My long distance on Saturday was 10 miles. I ran with a local running group, the PaceSetters, which really helps when the mileage gets high. They reported 130 people signed in to run with the group that day! Great to see people in our community getting out and being active. The PaceSetters set up the course map and 2 water stations on the out and back half course (there’s also a full marathon training course).

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My run went well, though I was feeling some pain in my tight right hip (need to do more of these hip exercises via SkinnyChickBlog). I ran mostly by myself for the first 8 miles. At the water station at mile 8 though, I found a new friend to run with! He was really nice and talking with him made the last 2 miles fly by! As we were chatting about running (what else?), he asked me “So you’re an athlete?” I wasn’t sure how to answer his question.

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I am in no way an “athlete” in the same respect as high school, college, or professional athletes. I like to exercise and while I’m {technically} competing at races, I’m not there to win the race. Like most runners, I do like numbers and compete against myself more than anything. It’s exciting to push myself and see improvements from my training. That’s what keeps me motivated.

I told my newly dubbed “running buddy” that I’ve completed a couple races this summer. His reply was, “So you are an athlete.” Again, I was still on the fence with answering and was hesitant to say “YES.” I’ve finally started to get comfortable calling myself a “runner”, I’m not sure I’m ready to call myself an athlete.

I did a quick google search and came up with this definition from Webster:

athlete: a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina

By definition many of us are athletes, though we may not group ourselves with the likes of Kara Goucher or Michael Jordan. We train and learn as much as we can about running. We are strong, have agility, and stamina to make it through 13.1 or 26.2 miles. Still, I wouldn’t use the term “athlete” to describe myself in every day conversation. In my opinion, the key term that is missing from the Webster definition is competition. Athletes compete against other athletes to determine who is the best. Do I do that? Not quite.

In reality, it won’t change anything whether I think of myself as an athlete or not. However, it’s a label that I don’t think really fits what I’m doing.

If I had to answer the question my running buddy posed again, I would say “Nope, I’m not in it to win it. I’m just a girl who likes to run.”

How would you answer my running buddy’s question? Are you an athlete? In your opinion, what makes someone an athlete?

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4 thoughts on “Are you an athlete?

  1. I’ve been asking myself a similar question since I took up running again a few weeks ago…Am I a runner? At one point can I call myself a “runner”? I feel more like a “wanna-be-runner”…Maybe after I complete a race this fall I will consider calling myself a runner…BTW- I think your a definitely an athlete based on your activities! 🙂

    • I feel the same way! I’m a “newbie” runner. I told someone a while back I was doing a race and they asked “So you’re a runner?” Weellllll, I run does that make me a “runner”? Now, I’m more comfortable with the term because I run consistently.

  2. YES!! If you’re training for a race, you’re an athlete. To me, an athlete is someone who competes in an event – no matter what speed or distance. And beyond that, if you’re an avid participant in a sport (even if you don’t compete), you’re still an athlete! It’s a mindset & dedication more than anything, I think. So you ARE an athlete! 🙂

  3. It’s funny I never considered myself an athlete, I have run my fair share of 5K and a couple of half, but I just don’t think of myself that way. I have often thought why I don’t consider myself an athlete, and I think part of it is that I run for fun.

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