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?
Great analysis! After thinking about it, I think I’m also in the semi-serious/casual category. I’m excited by running because truthfully it is the first thing I’ve actually had to work hard at, but I don’t ever want to be the person who does nothing except run.
However, I am confident in your “nerd” identifier. I don’t think any non-nerds would struggle with miRNA analysis!
Hey, being a nerd is where its at! Also P.S, if someone chose to run over having a margarita…. I don’t think I would get a long with said person!
I guess, in a weird way, I started considering myself a runner when I stopped thinking of running as a way to keep in shape. I basically started running out of a bit of vanity, started pushing myself harder after reading some really inspiring books about super hardcore runners, and internalized it once I stopped worry about results. I went from someone who was looking for running to support my fitness goals to someone who started making fitness goals to supplement my running, if that makes any sense.
But, on the other hand, the further I go down this rabbit hole, the less concerned I am about racing, or intervals, or even pace. I just find that I like pushing myself to see what I can do, and I don’t really care if there’s anyone around to see it. I mean, yeah I keep a blog, but that’s mainly to just let out all the genuine joy the thing brings me, rather than to brag or show off.
So what does that me me in the end? Some kind of hippy, probably. But it makes me happy. And at the end of the day, labels don’t matter as much as how you feel.