(Note: This piece first appeared on Run Leeds, slightly abridged, in August 2015.)
There are things in your washing which no-one else but you will touch.
Certain songs will always be the headsong for a particular run, and whenever, wherever you hear them you are transported back, trancelike, to that day when…
You have a drawer full of tech shirts with place names, logos, dates… They go with the box of medals. And the collection of crumpled race-numbers. And pile of space-blankets.
Driving along the road you check out every runner you see: their kit, their form, their pace, how hard they are working (… and of course, whether she/he is pretty/fit)
Meals are a case of whatever goes with your carbs.
You still *need* one more pair of trainers (especially if there’s a bargain).
You have a collection of race photos with “Copyright” and “Proof only” stamped across them because you refuse to be mugged for the clean image (or, you don’t think you look as cool and athletic as it seemed in your head at the time). [Copyright]
When an evening with friends or a family event is being arranged, you silently calculate what runs will have to be rescheduled to maintain your mileage and activity levels.
Some places are forever associated with special, lifetime-memory runs (Yose
mite National Park, Derwent Water round, Pollenca to Formentor, cliffs of Malta… or insert yours here).
You are not put off by the weather. In fact, the worse it is the more it reinforces your status as an athlete. And if there is fresh snow….
If you don’t ache a little when you get up in the morning something simply isn’t right.
When you travel with work you take your kit and get up extra-early to try out the canal-path or nearby park you’ve spotted.
Your calendar isn’t the traditional “Day/Month” but “n-weeks until that race”.
When a family holiday is being booked, you are thinking about where you can run to.
When you get new shoes they have a handover from the old ones. And the first thing you do is go find some mud to make them respectable.
And of course: if someone uses the “J-word” (as in “You’re a bit of a jogger, aren’t you?” or “How was your jog?”) you smile politely while masking your fury as you struggle with the urge to punch them.