Running is a fascinating sport to me because nearly anyone can run and it can be done at almost any stage in life. Of course, not everyone likes to run and there are many other sports that welcome athletes of all levels with open arms. I have a number of friends who consider themselves beginner runners and I know plenty of people who hate running but love biking, lacrosse, swimming, tennis, pilates, and every sport in between. In trying to define what kind of athlete I am, I also find myself asking what kind of athlete to I want to be. I have always considered myself a runner at an intermediate level with middle distances as my preferred “natural selection.” However, in recovering from ITBS, I have found myself trying to become a more diverse athlete.
One interpretation of the question of “what kind of athlete are you?” is about how you perform as an athlete rather than whether you are a walker, runner, weight lifter, biker, etc. Are you a casual athlete? Consistent, competitive, weight-loss driven, diverse in your sports, beginner at everything, advanced in something? Again, I always put myself in this “runner” bubble at the self-appointed intermediate level, but the more I think about it, the less I know how to answer the question of what I want to be. I love running but I don’t know that I want to be an elite runner. I don’t feel compelled to try to win any of the races I enter, but I do want to consistently improve my personal records. I also don’t want to lose the joy found in simply going for a run.
In the hopes of adding a triathlon or two to my race schedule, I’d also like to become a biker and understand proper form, performance, and training as it relates to cycling. There is no doubt that I am a beginner biker and despite the fact that I can swim, I would place myself at the below-beginner level of swimming, if such a category exists. Continue reading