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Are you still a runner if you walk?

Let’s talk about running…and walking.

Old thinking (mine): if you walk, you’re not a runner.

New thinking: do what it takes to survive, even if that means walking.

I had 9 miles on the docket for today. That’s 14.49 kilometers and thinking of it that way makes me feel even more proud.


I finished. Yes, yes, I did. But it was hard. Hard. And I walked. Twice.

Here’s the scoop. A few days ago I ran into a gentleman who also works at the university and is a hardcore athlete. One wall in his office is covered with race bibs and medals. We always have a lot to talk about. I mentioned that I was running the Walla Walla 1/2 and found out that he was the race director. Yay! I’ve got the inside track! He questioned me about my training and then said something very interesting.

“You know, it’s ok to walk. On my first 1/2 I ran for 5k, walked, ran for 5k, walked and ran the rest of the way.”


In my brain, unless you run the whole way, you’re not a runner. But his statement opened up a new concept that I wholeheartedly embraced today.


I started out with my typical oatmeal/banana/peanut butter combo with a couple of mini chocolate chips and a handful of hemp hearts thrown in for good measure. Plus coffee. Of course, coffee.

And I was excited. Anxious to get out there. Ready to do this.

The first four miles were ok, but then my body said, “ok, I’m done for today.” I wasn’t even halfway. Uh oh.

I had a gu with me and some water, so I told myself that I could walk at five miles and take the gu and water. (In the past I’ve totally made a mess while trying to eat and drink while running, so this seemed like a logical thing to do.)

I had this PowerGel brand, only citrus flavor. It tasted like lemon curd and I loved it. I ate it slooooooowly, because I did not want to run again.


I finally convinced myself to get back at it, but I never really found my stride. My water was gone already, so I decided that I could make it to Shopko where I knew of a refrigerated drinking fountain. I barely made it. I almost called Matty B to pick me up, but I only had two miles to go and convinced myself that I could do this!

The shoppers at Shopko must’ve thought I was crazy. Red faced, hot, sweaty, disheveled and maybe a bit disoriented, I filled up my water bottle and went back at it.

I did it. Eventually. But I walked twice and thank goodness I’d had that conversation with my friend because I feel no guilt. None. Ok, maybe a smidge, but I’m getting over it.


20 miles for the week.

And my current plan is to sit on the couch, watch some football, and eat some snacks.

Anyone else have this same stigma? Running is good, walking is bad? I’m trying to retrain my thought processes…


2 responses »

  1. I have completed 2 half marathons and I told myself I could walk if I really, really needed to. Then, when I was actually there, in the race, I found that I was so pumped up by the adrenaline and excitement that I never once felt like I needed to. I agree that it is about survival and you wouldn’t want to hurt yourself by forcing the run, but I bet you surprise yourself on race day. Good luck with the training! It is truly an amazing thing to run a half!


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