This morning I read one of Amy's posts about her struggle with identifying herself as a "Runner." It got me thinking about what really is a Runner. Is it someone who loves it, gets lost in it, can't get enough of it?
Working in the field of bioinformatics—and science in general—we put labels on everything. We categorize, annotate, and curate as much information as possible. We group things in different ways to glean meaning from the unknown. Recently I've been struggling with some
miRNA analysis. I've been working on a project that does not want to be finished, and it has really taken a toll on me. One day, I sat down with a labmate and, out of frustration, decided to write down every single, possible type of RNA that we know of in order to clear up some of the confusion we were having. So far the list includes: snoRNA, miRNA, siRNA, scaRNA, mRNA, rRNA, tRNA, and a few others. Keeping all of them straight, the structures and the functions, is a nightmare. By breaking them down into groups and labels, it is slightly more manageable. The problem, though, is that not every subtype has an exact definition. Thus, back to the point of this post: labels and generalizations don't always fit.
The term "Runner" has been a tough thing for me. I personally don't think of myself as a Runner, though I go out for runs three to four times a week, host a fitness blog, and read running books. So I guess it seems silly now that I think I'm not a Runner. I think the mental block for me is that, like Amy, I don't think at the end of the day running in and of itself is what motivates me. For me, seeing people get motivated to change their lives around and get healthy is what really motivates me.
I guess what I propose is that, like RNA, there are really subsets of people who fall into the general term "Runner." There are those crazy-hippy-barefoot runners, minimalist runners, shod runners, sprinters, marathon runners, and ultramarathon runners. I guess I really am just a different kind of Runner, a semi-serious/casual one. Though I don't eat, sleep, and breathe it like hcRunners (hard core!), at the end of the day, I still go out and run. That is what is important anyway, isn't it?