So am I an Athlete Yet?

I read a post on a Facebook page that I follow and the poster made an interesting statement: they said that all athletes are runners but not all runners are athletes.  Their reasoning was based on an obstacle course that they had recently participated in.  Along with the other competitors, there was an elite-level ultra runner.  This poster beat the elite which they interpreted as being in superior physical condition.

So naturally I got thinking about that.  There are quite a few assumptions that this person was making, not the least of which was that the elite was trying to win or at least push themselves to the max.  For all we know, they were just there to try something different.

There is also the assumption that the elite runner were in prime condition.  They could have been nursing an injury or an illness.  Or maybe they lack upper body strength to tackle those obstacles.  Or were there for emotional support for someone else.

Who knows why this person finished the course faster than an elite distance runner.  The point is: at what point do you consider yourself, and by extension others, an athlete?

I work with several people that no one could argue were athletes: former professional lacrosse players, a former globally ranked (as in top 10) Muay Thai fighter, Grey Cup winners, nationally ranked CrossFit competitors, people that have actually made their living playing sports.  There are other folks who run marathons for fun or play sports several times a week.  I would consider them athletes as well.

Now what about me?  I don’t even really consider myself athletic much less an athlete and for the life of me I cannot figure out why that is.  Perhaps it’s that tendency that I have to down play accomplishments.  I’m not very good at selling myself (OK that sounds a bit weird but I think you know where I’m going with this) so it makes sense that I wouldn’t embrace my athletic accomplishments.

I mean since only 2014, I’ve done an eight km race, two 10 km, a 15 km, three half marathons (two on the coldest days of each year), two marathons, and a 50-mile race.  I know that’s not a lot compared to other people but considering that at the start of 2014, just running 5 km was an accomplishment.  I lift weights several times a week, and do yoga as often as I can.  I can hike all day long with a pack on my back.  And yet, I still find it hard to consider myself an athlete.

Maybe it’s because I think of an athlete as being someone who is dedicated to pushing themselves harder and farther than anyone else.  They monitor every morsel that crosses their lips and work out for hours a day.  They live, breathe, and sleep pushing their fitness level.  Well my friends, that ain’t me.

As far as I’m concerned, the only person I compete against is myself and that stupid little voice that says I should give up.  As much fun as the races are, I don’t run to race.  I know some people thrive on the pressure and need a race to get their shoes on and out the door. Heck, if I actually trained better I’d be doing a lot better when I do run in races.

But as I’ve said before, I run for me.  I run for the benefits to my mind and my body.  I like having a body that can do most of the things that I ask of it and a mind that for the most part says “yeah we got this”.  Maybe in the end, that’s all that really matters.


22 thoughts on “So am I an Athlete Yet?

  1. An athlete is, by definition, a person who competes in one or more sports. Running is a sport, you sign up for races, you compete, therefore, you’re an athlete. Doesn’t matter if you’re only competing with yourself. Is the marathon runner who placed last in the Olympics any less of an athlete than the person who won it? Slower maybe, but still an amazing athlete. You are an athlete. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmm,
    This now got me thinking too, it seems like many people on social media consider themselves “athletes”, but I guess, I used to know what being an athlete meant, but since growing up and embarking on new paths, I am not sure if even I would be considered an athlete to anyone anymore. Not like I am playing college sports anymore and I don’t compete in CrossFit anymore (as of now anyways) so, I mean.. wow- as much as I love competing and doing events, I don’t do them as often as I probably would like to and hopefully that changes. I think so people use the term athlete to give themselves a title – not all people but some.


    Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. It’s like when you read something by someone credited as being a”fitness blogger” and people take everything they say as gospel. Well as I typed that I realized that I could now call myself a fitness blogger…mind blown

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Woah!
        So what is considered a “fitness blogger”, like honestly, is it anyone who talks about fitness or does it mean much more than that? I mean I don’t think anyone takes my stuff as gospel, lol. sometimes I have to think about what all goes into being a fitness blogger, so I don’t stray too far off the path. Congrats on becoming a fitness blogger.
        Someone else was telling me how their blog is now turning into a “lifestyle” blog and I asked what it meant and it all made sense, but it seems like many people start with a blog niche and then it changes or expands then it gets a different name , if that makes sense.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahaha I see articles written in big magazines and such and they reference fitness bloggers and friends who follow social media accounts and stuff and swear by their programs. Then you try and find some kind of credentials and there’s nothing. Even if you’re getting advice from someone with degrees coming out the wazoo I still think it’s your responsibility to research it. That’s all I’m trying to say. I’ll present my opinion or information that I have researched and it’s up to the reader to make their own decisions.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hmm,
        I have not ever done that, looked at a magazine and looked up their credentials of the people they referenced, but now I will because I want to and that is a good idea. Really good idea. Many times, they are “athletes” , lol so that makes them 100 percent right, right?! lmao.
        I would agree it is our responsibility to do our own research and find what works for ourselves, because not everyone is the same.
        I am not sure how I present my information, but this gets me thinking about it, lol. I suppose I will pay more attention to how I present my information to readers, although, I think I do a rather good job of not demanding people to pay attention to me! lmfao, I mean I don’t want to be the one they blame for any injuries that may occur! XD no but seriously, I understand what you mean. Those are valid points to make.


        Liked by 1 person

      4. You’re good because you just say what you say and that’s it. We watch what the pros do and try to emulate it forgetting that they have dietitians and coaches and a personal PT standing by to keep them going and in optimal shape. I think it’s the same thing with these diet programs: someone writes a book about how to eat but what do they have to back it up? Just throwing it out there 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Thanks for backing me, lol. I think the reason I stray from “telling people what to do” is because I have learned in training clients, it doesn’t help — it scares them away and it makes them defensive at times.
        I want to teach people, and guide people when I train them but I don’t want to be the atypical trainer unless needed be. People are afraid of fitness and afraid of eating healthier, honestly (in my opinion) and this is because we have put so much emphasis on it and haven’t yet begun to relate to those who are starting out. We can’t relate to something we haven’t been through and if you don’t understand something , it is hard to fix it. lol


        That is my wise words for the day, back to being a stupid person in society! lmao

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I totally agree. I know some people need a boot camp type of training but most want to feel invested and involved in how they do things. Otherwise we’d all be eating our vegetables and lifting our own body weight.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Staying healthy isnt a crime-Fitness is a lifestyle choice and commented:
    So this post had me thinking about some things, I mean I guess it is assumed anyone who workouts and does fitness is an athlete, right?I am not so sure anymore. When reading her post it out some thought in my mind about this term. Seems more people these days call themselves “athlete” but for what reason? and what does it take me to be considered an athlete. I believe some people use it for the title.. but maybe I am wrong. This gave me a blog post idea to write about in response to this bloggers post! thank you for this post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think you are being generous to the author of the FB post in calling it an “interesting” statement, personally I think it is plain stupid of that person to make that kind of assertion and then be able to proclaim who should/should not be considered an athlete. But, as a few of other comments have stated, does it really matter? And, to state all athletes are runners is quite ridiculous…based on what exactly? Are all swimmers, pole vaulters, gymnasts, cyclists, rowers, volleyball players, and divers by default, runners? Maybe, maybe not…depends if they incorporate running for cross-training, but there is no way such a stereotypical statement can be quantified. FWIW, I consider myself and every single one of the other runners that line up at every race or grind out miles on the trails to be an athlete. Great thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It wasn’t so much interesting for the content but because I’ve never thought about it or felt the need to define it before. I’ve been told that an equestrian isn’t an athlete because the horse does all the work. Well talk to me after a gruelling ride and your legs almost collapse when you jump off. I’m glad that I’ve been able to stimulate so much conversation about it and I’m enjoying reading everyone’s thoughts on it.


  5. According the dictionary, the definition of an athlete is “a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise”, yes you are an athlete! Regardless of the level you compete or how fast and far you can run, you still have developed the skills necessary to run a 5k, half marathon/marathon, etc (that’s impressive).

    Love the post and never settle! Competing against yourself can be extremelly rewarding but don’t take it too seriously and have fun! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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