Runners have a kind of dual personality thing going on, which is really quite interesting. Not the doctors in white coats and clipboards kind of multiple personalities, but rather, a stark difference between ‘life’ and ‘training/racing mode’ personalities.
The ‘life’ side of runners is typically one of being slightly awkward, but in a lovable way. That thing about smiling at strangers, I think runners are typically more apt to have a smile quick at hand. Maybe it’s the fast-twitch muscle response that just carries over into our cheek muscles.
It kind of throws people a bit, especially these days when more and more people seem to be kind of ‘hard’ or harsh. I’ve found that runners, be it by choice or perhaps a bit of childlike naiveté, tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and will go out of their way to help others. Sometimes it bites us in the bums, but at the same time I’d like to think we, and those around us, are better for it overall.
I used to have a friend who said she could tell someone was a runner by the way they walked, an extra kind of bounce in their stride. Runners tend to walk faster than ‘normal people’ too, sort of like walking with purpose; or probably more correctly we get bored of walking because it’s just too darn slow and getting places takes forever.
Runners do tend to vary in that some are incredibly shy and not overflowing with words until you know them while others, ahem like me, probably make up for those lost words and then some. I love the sense of humor of runners; quirky could be an understatement, we relish in poop jokes, chaffage stories, making fun of ‘normals’ who partake in ridiculous behavior…ummm, jogging in jeans?! Runners can be snarky, sarcastic, and you have to be in order to get through the times when the miles are just downright painful.
That last part ties into the other side of runners. The training and racing personality, we’ll call it the ‘go time’ mentality. Here is where a runner can become stoic, intimidating, closed off from everything else. Hyping oneself up to last through lactic acid onslaught, to mentally push their body past its comfort level; so far past comfort the body screams it is in agony.
To do that, to withstand the he** that is running on legs coursing with actual poisons eating at the muscles, making them want to stop, you HAVE to be hard. There has to be a part of your brain that is able to shut out ‘sanity’ and run towards insanity.
Runners are competitive; we thrive around those around us who are BETTER than us, who can help push ourselves past our perceived limits. Your competition is there to help you but you also want to beat them, no? When that gun goes off, runners are adept at stuffing down the ‘life’ side of themselves and slipping fully into the races. For when the gun does go off, your performance ultimately is up to you, and while there can be a team aspect, running is highly personal in that regard.
This is not cold, nor calloused; it is the truth. The best runners are able to shut out personal feelings between the start and finish line and realize it is NOT a personal slight to want to beat a friend, a training partner even, or Joe the Bag Boy. Going one step further, the best runners can then snap right BACK into ‘life’ mode the second the finish line is crossed and congratulate those around them regardless of placing.
Personally speaking, my best and favorite races are the ones where you warm-up with your friends and training partners, grind each other to be your best in the race, then cool-down together. It’s the melding of the two runner personalities.
We are people; but we are not ‘normals’. We are better, because we are runners. [Wow, does that sound elitist?! Bwahaha!]
1) What’s a common ‘life’ side of runners personality trait?
2) Do you tend to be able to shift to a more competitive side of yourself when in hard workout and race mode?
3) What is your stance on racing friends and teammates, do you agree that it’s nothing personal if you are both out to beat each other?
4) So I’m not the only runner elitist around here…lol…name one reason runners might be a little cooler than ‘normals’. And I DO have non-running friends that I think are awesome, so please, no hate mail…mmmk.