At what point do you become “a runner”? Runners World addressed the question this week when a runner and creator of The Oatmeal admitted he used to “hate any kind of exercise. Especially running.” He felt like a runner when not running felt like a chore. I know exactly what he’s talking about.

I’m all about calling myself things and faking it until I make it.

I like calling myself a runner, but I don’t like running. I think people who run long distances for fun are masochists. I run to build up endurance and challenge myself. Oh, how I love to compete with myself. Running is great for that because you can always go faster or longer or add more hills than the last time. But here’s the real confession that might make the editors of Runners World shake their heads and say, “not a runner.” I don’t know how to run outside.

I do it, of course, but I never learned to pace myself, so I tend to go all out at the beginning and then find an excuse to walk. Oh, my laces are loose. I’m too hot, I should take off my hoodie. Oh, look, something shiny. I should take a picture. I don’t like this song.

I can run outside for a race because I just find a 9-10-minute milers and match their speed.

I know it’s all a mental game because I can run for 45 minutes on the treadmill. I can turn on the hills. I can bump up the speed, and I don’t quit, so I know I can do it. I just don’t know how to transfer that to the path or beach or boardwalk.

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