I had an epiphany the other day. At the hairdresser. Yep, you read that right. I sat on that scary chair facing the scary mirror and the scary guy holding the scissors cheerfully asked me “so what are we going to do today?”. The truth was that I was going to give him far too much money for him to give me a hair style I was going to be able to maintain for about 18 hours after walking out of that place and never be able to replicate by myself ever again. I didn’t tell him that, though. Instead, I just described what sort of cut I was after. He asked how short I’d like it to be and my answer was “short but not so short that I can’t tie my hair up when I run”.
There you go. Epiphany. Right? I mean, the lady sitting two chairs away from me was asking for “curls like these” pointing at a magazine. I wanted him to do his job but not do it so well that I wouldn’t be able to tie my hair up when running. I know, I think I’m stupid too. But anyway, as he was cutting away, I thought about I’d said to him.
You see, I feel like I’ve been running for a while now. In fact, I didn’t run a lot in the last couple of weeks and the result was a crankier-than-usual Vera. Running is as much a part of my routine as brushing my teeth or eating entire family-sized bars of Whittakers mint chocolate (and definitely a lot more of a routine than blowdrying my hair properly but don’t tell that to the guy with the scissors). Running influences my moods as much as coffee and pictures of kittens on the internet. I’ve entered more running events than I can count, have an almost psychotic need to always have an upcoming running event planned and paid for, and would put my racing bib collection right up there on a list of things I’d want to save in case of a house fire. I plan my days around whether or not there will be running involved more often than I plan my runs around what’s planned for the rest of my day. I obsess over running playlists for more hours than I like to admit, my kitchen pantry is filled with trail mix and my browser history makes me look like a Department of Conservation worker from too many hours spent plotting trail runs. Hell, right now, there’s more Gu than beer in my kitchen. So, you know, I’m kind of a runner. Yesterday, I went running after dark for the third day in a row. The first two runs in the dark, on sunday and monday, were also under constant rain. They were short, yes, 5km on sunday and 6.5km on monday. But the fact that I got my poptart-eating ass out of the couch and put my running clothes on while it was raining means that running is more than just something I do whenever it’s convenient.
And I even bet you knew I was going to mention the fact that a couple of months ago I ran 35km (that’s THIRTY-FIVE KILOMETERS, capitals and all) in the bush, which is still right up there in the list of things I’m most proud of (a list that includes things like once riding a bicycle for about 200m in a straight line and that one time I re-watched that scene in Love Actually when Colin Firth talks to Aurora’s family in Portuguese and I didn’t cry*).
But anyway, my point is, I never really felt like much of a runner. Until I asked the hairdresser to leave my hair long enough so I could still tie it up to go running. I guess that’s what makes me a runner, more than the kilometers pounding the pavement, the playlists, the racing bibs, the methodically packaged trail mix bags and even my newly-found tolerance to stomach crap like Gu. I’m a runner because I make running a priority even with things that aren’t quite so obviously running-related. It also makes me a potential clinical case but that’s an entirely different blog post.
And yes, I know this has been a major cliffhanger throughout the whole post so I’ll put your minds at ease: he did leave it long enough. Major relief, I know, I felt it too.