I am reading Running the Edge by Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano thanks to a recommendation from Adrienne on her blog. In the book Adam describes what it means to be a runner and I think he nails it:
Running is more than a sport. It is an identity. I am not somebody who just likes to run. I am a runner. This is the difference between a pastime and a passion. I like to play golf, but I am not a golfer. I like to cook, but I am not a chef. I don’t just like to run. I am a runner. It is a passion. It is part of who I am and is woven into the fabric of my personality, character, and psyche. People who run to lose weight, to meet a standard for the military, or for any other purpose beyond running itself are still running but more as a pastime than as a passion. Passionate runners run because they love the feeling of running in their legs and chest. They run because running flows from their pores as easily as sweat. They chase faster times, longer runs, and better workouts for intrinsic reasons that transcend any extrinsic benefit. They run because an internal force inside of them drives them to test their limits. They run because in running, they are in the moment, in flow, living a life they chose.
Catalano, Tim; Tim Catalano; Adam Goucher; Billy Mills (2011-09-01). Running the Edge (Kindle Locations 615-622). Maven Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Andrea likes to tell people that with me running isn’t just about the benefits like losing weight or staying healthy. She says "Tommy just has to run". She is right. If I could not run I would live, and live well, but it would be like I lost a big part of who I am - physically, emotionally and even spiritually.
I am a runner!