This morning, a man called me a jogger.
If you've ever read any of my posts or checked out my race results, then you know that I run slowly. I run very slowly. But I still run.
Although jogging is technically just a slower form of runner, I'd still rather be called a slow runner than a jogger. Why? Because there is something to the way people tend to view jogging and running differently. When people talk about "joggers" they usually do so in a flippant way. Jogging is unfairly considered not worthy of respect and is viewed as being somehow "less" or "fake". This is the meaning that was given to me and my effort this morning when I was called a jogger.
This morning, a man ran by me, loudly complaining about all the "damn joggers" using his running trail and getting in his way. He made a point of turning to me as he passed and yelled, "Learn to run or stay home!"
At first, I was confused. I wasn't walking or skipping or dancing...I was running. I knew I was running slowly, but I didn't think my running was so bad that it would upset people. I was also keeping to the right of the path, and there was no one coming from the opposite direction, so I couldn't have really been in his way, as there was plenty of room to pass me.
I got angry. I was enjoying my morning run until this dude ruined it. He used the word "jogger" as an insult, and by doing so, he caused me to doubt myself. Calling me a jogger implied that my effort and passion, my miles and pain and sacrifice, my goals and achievements were somehow less valuable and less meaningful than his.
I'm sorry, but that is bullshit! Yes, I'm slow. Yes, I'm struggling. But you know what? This is still new to me! I haven't been running my entire life. I started running and have stuck with it, even though it is difficult.
And the awesome thing is that every time I run I'm seeing improvement. I'm getting stronger and faster, and no one, not even this asshole, can take that away from me. I could be at home, asleep in my bed or sitting on the couch watching tv. Instead, I was outside by 6:00 on a Saturday morning to makes sure that I would have time to go for run and still shower and have breakfast before I had to head to work.
So call me a jogger, if you must.
In my heart, I know I'm a runner.