Thursday, February 17, 2011

Casual Runner vs. Serious Runner

I've been pondering this question lately:

What's the difference between a "casual" (or, maybe some would say "recreational") runner and a "serious" runner? 

It's no mystery as to why I've had this on my mind recently.  Since diving into this world of blogs (mostly running ones), I've had the chance to read a lot about people's different experiences with running and to do a good amount of reflection on what running means to me in my own life.  (Not to get all "mystical" on you or anything...)

So, I'm wondering, what exactly is it that moves you from the "casual" realm into the "serious" realm? 

First of all, is it a sliding scale? 

Do you have to compete, or can you just run for your own pleasure? 

 Do you have to keep getting faster and pushing yourself farther?
Do you have to employ the latest running technologies and gadgets?
Do you have to subscribe to Runner's World? (I'm kind of joking here.)

Let me make clear that I have no intention of judging anyone based on the above questions, or otherwise.  I guess I just feel like I've sort of come to a proverbial fork in the road with my own running, and I'm wondering which path to choose.  Stay more "casual" or move towards more "serious"?  (I guess that shows you where I stand on the "sliding scale" question.  Oh, I'm so transparent!)

You'll notice that I do not display on my blog a list of any of my previous races, upcoming races, PR's or anything of that sort.  That's because I DON'T HAVE ANY!!  Oh, okay, I once did this 5k in 1997 and I think I finished in, like, 35 minutes or something.  And, I've mentioned that I did a half in 2000 with my husband and totally sucked because we did not train properly.  But, other than those two things, I GOT NOTHIN'!  So, I'm starting to wonder where my running is going if my running isn't growing?  (I didn't really mean to make a rhyme there.  Catchy though, right?)  But, just how "serious" am I willing to get?  I know this is obviously a personal decision, but I'd love to hear any thoughts you might have on the "casual vs. serious" question.

 And--to completely change the subject--we had some killer Thai food tonight.  I pretty much always get giddy about a good meal, and this place is always a good meal.  Lulu's Thai Noodles is our new favorite place to eat, which is cool because it's right by my husband's work.  Even our kids love it--they've really taken to the steamed pork dumplings.  Tonight we tried tempura vegetables and they were quite a hit.  (See?  All you have to do is deep-fry the vegetables to get the kiddies to eat them!)  We also tried the fried banana ice cream for dessert. Yum.  Here's some pictures of the evening...

Well hello, Lulu's!

Tempura vegetables...

Thai Garlic Noodles.  Nope, you might not want to talk to me for a while...

Steamed Pork Dumplings.  Had to order a third plate of them for the kids tonight.  Those kids are getting expensive to take out!

Night-night, Lulu's...

I also wanted to mention a great blog that my friend, Kila, writes.  If you read my first post on this blog, you will have already read about Kila.  She was the friend I talked about running Sunset Cliffs (in Ocean Beach, San Diego) with, and she writes a beautiful, creative, inspiring blog called Lil Surfer Girls.  Kila competed in her first triathalon last year and was inspired to do more!  Her goal this year is to compete in two more tri's and a half-marathon.  Woohoo!  So check her out and share in her journey!


  1. I think your moving...rather quickly to the serious runner since completing that 8 minute mile! I remember when I posted my first run on daily mile...i wish you would log there commented on my 9 minute mile! You go girl! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. i love that you are a "real" eater. I struggle with the diet part of staying healthy and I am glad to see someone else agrees that veggies taste better fried! :)

  3. As a serious eater, I support you either way. Have you tried Pho the Vietnamese soup? I love it. I think you should try it running or not.

  4. Tempura veggies be still my heart. My thai place throws in some pineapple along with the veggies and I love it. Favorite place to eat ever. :)

    I have never considered being a *serious* runner. I certainly compete...but usually just against myself. That's what my time tests are all about. I haven't had any true time to dedicate towards training since I'm working ft and going to school. I really think that it might be in my future to get more serious after I graduate and free up some time.

  5. I am not competive. I don't race. I have only taken part in a few 'organized' events. My distances are between 2 and 12 miles, and my times are not fast, or even inmportant.

    But I consider myself a serious runner, because it is important to me. I love to run - usually alone, sometimes with my husband.

    And I am a serioius eater too!