There has been a disturbance in the running Force lately.
No, I’m pretty sure we’ve all taken our PRPs when needed.
I’m referring to the social media world, and people knocking other runners down for talking about anything else that doesn’t involve running. Especially with the way 2017 has begun…
To those naysayers…is it really a sin to talk about our personal lives outside of our online brand? Are we not allowed to have opinions about world events or debate philosophy or have academic discussion about *insert non-running topic here*?
Please. We’re all human. Have a seat.
I often post about running, talk about running, think about running. The majority of the online running community that I interact with on a daily basis also has running as a major descriptor of themselves. At first glance, the outsider may immediately stereotype any person with ‘run’ or ‘runner’ in their social media handle as a clean-eating, 7:00-minute per mile BQ athlete with a closet full of color coordinated outfits and an alarm clock chiming at 4am for their early morning run. But once you peel back the layers, one will discover that we runners are far more diverse than what is revealed online.
I am more than a runner. Here are some fun facts you might not know about me:
1. I am a musician.
My first love in life was music, although my parents would disagree with this. (I would run out of a room screaming and crying if people sang Happy Birthday. Worst song ever.) I joined the chorus and picked up the saxophone in the fifth grade (back in 1997, mind you). I literally became Lisa Simpson, gaining proficiency to join the band within just a few months, and proceeded to earn spots in county/district/regional bands in high school, lead alto in jazz band, first chair in summer music camps and concert band, marched alto and bari saxes in marching band, fell in love with conducting as assistant drum major for two seasons, conducted my 100-piece high school choir during my final concert in high school, and auditioned to several universities for their music programs in hopes of becoming a music educator.
While my academic path detoured away from music education in both undergrad and grad schools (different post unto itself), I never stopped the pursuit of learning and performing music. I picked up percussion and joined the drumline. I taught front ensemble at a local high school for their competition marching band. I played in the pit for several high school musicals on sax and percussion. I assisted a fellow director with his marching band for a season. I went to graduate school (originally) for my M.Ed and delved into vocal and timpani performance. I chartered a chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity. I became the national anthem vocalist for our athletic department and held the role for five years, right up until my graduation in 2015.
I’m a music nerd. Plain and simple.
2. I am a weather weenie/science nerd.
I used to play scientist when I was little: I would take all my books outside and set up a makeshift “laboratory” using lawn chairs as I stared at the night sky. I fell in love with astronomy and space science after watching The Magic School Bus Gets Lost In Space episode in the fourth grade. My dad and I did (and still do) watch the GFS models on noaa.gov to track incoming storms, then stand outside and watch them go through. Trust me, if math wasn’t such a bitch, I would have gone to Penn State for meteorology. I did end up with a minor in Earth Science in my undergrad, after briefly switching my major over to Geology. I took a Meteorology course and fell in love, and subsequently enrolled in the program. I am an advocate for the sciences, a huge fan of The Big Bang Theory show, and am always down for a natural history museum. (Not surprising, Night at the Museum is one of my favorite movies!)
3. I am an Army brat
I was born in Ft. Bragg, NC. My mom and dad met while serving in the Army. I have lived across the United States and even in Hawaii where my little brother was born! Personally, I think due to this early travel, my sense of adventure and wanderlust are extremely high; I am always down for a road trip or for daydreaming about faraway lands. Most of my family was/is in the military in some way, shape or form. The discipline that ensued yielded to success during band camp or drama rehearsal or anything that requires even the tiniest amount of discipline and focus. I am often asked if I had ever served, due to the way I carry myself, but I just smile and give my story.
4. I am a nature junkie.
In conjunction with #3, I grew up camping outdoors every summer. Not this glamping shit that you might see online, but legit tent camping with sleeping bags and bugs and swimming in lakes and fishing and campfires. It’s the good life, it really is…and all of this was before technology and cell phones. As I got older and more into meteorology and photography, I started storm chasing and capturing lightning pictures, along with other fun things: clouds, trees, leaves, bugs, landscapes, water…anything that tells a story and shows the beauty of the Earth. I also tented an entire summer up in the middle of the middle of the woods in Maine near the Canadian border a couple years ago. Trust me, some mountain air and a peaceful environment really does the soul good.
Being in the presence of nature is a powerful feeling. It forces you to really stop and be one with your surroundings. In that one silent, surreal moment, your perception on who you are in conjunction with the bigger picture of nature is altered, and forces you to think about life just a little bit more.
Now I ask you…
How are you #MoreThanARunner?