Day 8: I’m Not A Runner

I’m not a runner.

Last April, my neighbor and I decided on a whim to try the Couch to 5K training program. We were sitting in our sun room enjoying a glass or two of wine. One of us suggested the idea, the other agreed, and the next day we were lacing up our running shoes to begin. I don’t know what I was thinking because I’m not a runner.

Eight weeks later, we ran our first 5K race and finished it in 33 minutes. I swear to you, I almost died. “You can go ahead,” I kept telling my neighbor, “I’m slowing you down.” Of course she stayed right by my side until we crossed that finish line together. That was so hard and I felt so proud because I’m not a runner.

Her and I kept running the whole summer. We ran in the sweltering 95 degree Chicago heat. We ran early Saturday morning when we could have been sleeping. We ran in the rain and in the dark. Three miles at at time, three days every week. One foot in front of the other, waiting for the our running app to announce in its robotic voice, “three. miles.” Then we’d slow to a walk, and I’d be sweating and gasping for breath because I’m not a runner.

My family and I would often pack our bags that summer for a weekend trip to our lake house. I would toss in my running shoes and my headphones. “You never know,” I would say to myself. Turns out running around the contours of the lake in the early morning is actually really peaceful and beautiful. But I still hated it because I’m not a runner.

Winter came and my neighbor and I couldn’t run outside anymore. I was glad because I’m not a runner. The thing was, though, I started to not feel so good. I started to feel tired and bloated and, to be honest, a little bit cranky. My husband thinks I’m a runner so he bought me a treadmill and put it in the cold and empty basement. There I am, music on, treadmill whirring, three miles at a time, three days every week.


Dana, who is not a runner

I’ve already signed up for another 5K this summer with some friends from work. I have my eyes set on a 7K in our little lake house town this summer. I’m not sure about that one, though… because I’m not a runner.


Thirty-one days of stories as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers.




23 thoughts on “Day 8: I’m Not A Runner

  1. Ha! This made me laugh. I am not a runner either, except, for reals. I admire you sticking with it to the point that it does become who you are. Running on a treadmill in the basement is kind of depressing, so yeah, you are a runner. 🙂

  2. When you start to feel bloated, etc. when you are not running, you know you’re hooked! It’s amazing what we can do if we put our minds (and bodies) to it. I am a walker; I know that for sure now. It’s always what makes me feel better about myself and life itself. You go, girl!

  3. I love this in so many ways. First, I want to be a runner. Second, I loved how, despite obvious evidence that you are, indeed, a runner, you structured this around the repeated line, “I’m not a runner.” Third, I love that your husband knew you were a runner. And last, you could apply this kind of structure to so many things, including “I’m not a writer” for those of us who still struggle with that identity even though we’re writing. Bravo! I’m going to show this to my students as a mentor text, and I may try it out myself.

  4. Congratulations, Dana. Do something enough times it becomes a habit. When we stop doing it, we miss it. So, even though you are not a runner, I tend to disagree with this, keep at it. After conquering the 7K who knows what will be next.

  5. I’m not a runner either but got sucked into running a 10K in 2 months. You should join my running club. They are a fun group of runners and notrunners. We even run outside in the winter. 🙂 PS sounds to me like you are a runner. I won’t tell anyone!

  6. The title caught my attention because I am definitely not a runner. I love how you kept saying that you are not a runner, but from the sounds of it you have the components of a runner. Keep running!

  7. I used to be a “runner” and then I stopped, and for the last several years I have tried so hard to get back into it and I can not!

    I loved your repetition, reminding us that you are not a runner, but your story behind it sure says that you are!

  8. I am not a runner either. I will play hours of tennis, but running…nah. Give you all the credit for doing so, it does help one think and enjoy nature. Take care of yourself though. Stretch. Maybe that is why I don’t like running; i hate to stretch.

  9. Love the structure! Saying you’re not a runner, while the whole time you ARE a runner!! So cute. Love the picture, too. It says it all!!! You, my friend. You are a runner!

  10. I love that you start with a glass of wine and end with a treadmill in your basement. The picture is phenomenal. I’m a little convinced that you’re runner 😉

  11. That’s awesome! You play the part of a runner very well! I wonder why I wasn’t invited to do a 5k this summer, oh wait, I am really NOT a runner! 😉 You should be proud!

  12. I am legit not a runner. I prefer to stay in energy saving mode. But frankly my dear, you are a runner. I need to pick your brain about structure some time. I can never think if things like this!

  13. Oh, my goodness. You crack me up. Good for you! Go out there and keep running, even though you’re not a runner. Uh-huh. I get it.

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