Natural Runner

So I used to be a skeptic when it came to anyone being a “natural” anything. I cringed at the phrase natural mother (well, I still don’t like that one), and I resisted the urge to believe that anyone was a natural anything. I mean it was always my belief that if you worked hard enough you could achieve any goal you set out for yourself. Call me a naive optimist, but in spite of possessing areas of strength or special abilities I always believed that generally people could strive to learn or do whatever they put their minds to. Well, today I am finally a believer in the concept of someone being a “natural” something – all thanks to my dear runner friend.

It happened during our normal pre-lunch run locker room chat. My friend mentioned that she ran for an 1 hour and 1/2 over the weekend.

I said, “What? You are kidding me!”.

Now, let me explain. This friend is not training for anything right now. She typically runs about 3 times a week or so at 3 miles a run, usually.

She said, “Yeah, it was such a beautiful day and I was looking for this one trail head…”

Um, yeah – that is why I usually run for 1 hour and 1/2. NOT! If I ever run for 90 minutes (or 9ish miles) you better believe it is part of a training program!! I don’t think my body would react well to going from my typical 3 milers to all of a sudden a big nine-er!! This is why they developed training programs that build miles on slowly – to help the body get used to the distance and to prevent injury, etc. But not my girl!! No, she just gets the idea to run long and runs long…like that!! No injuries, no probs. She is the bomb. And she is also a little crazy. She is the one who had a full phone conversation with a friend while running an entire 6 miles!! And I bet she did most of the talking to boot based on her chattiness on our runs (thank God!)!!! Told you she was crazy and I’m so glad!!

So I said, “You know, you are seriously a natural runner, girl – to be able to pull that off.”

She agreed, but then said, “Yeah, but Lisa, you are the better athlete because you work so hard.”

Not sure about that, but it made me feel really good and I was somehow finally okay that I was not a “natural runner”. I didn’t have to be a “natural” or fast or anything else to be a runner. I just had to run. I thought of the typical situation in school where there is the one kid who seems to never have to study and excels at school and then the other who has to work hard for good grades. I realized then that it does not really matter which is which because the result is the same. As we say in yoga, “we are all the same.” The same thing goes for running. What matters is that we put on our shoes, hit the pavement, sweat, laugh, talk, …and run. And why do we keep showing up? Well, its only natural.

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