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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What Kind of Person are You?

There are tons of articles about what makes you a certain kind of runner.  I think you can learn a lot about the kind of person you are by the way you run.  I think this is particularly true if you look at the way people run hills.  Using this carefully crafted hypothesis, that I have been developing the entire time it took my windows PC to boot, just so you know it is well thought out, you have uphill runners, downhill runners and flat runners.

First you have uphill runners, I will raise my hand and admit "I am an uphill runner."  Even running this morning with my husband, he does what he always does on the narrow sidewalk to home that is straight uphill.  He slides behind me relinquishes the front spot and says "you go first, I know you like the hills."  It is true.  I see a hill and I know, because every article and running book I have ever even glanced at says, I should slow down.  I can't help it.  I see it and my feet just automatically take off.  I am flying up the hill with all the effort and determination that sounds like it might take.  What does that say about me.  Embarrassingly quite a bit actually.  In this hypothesis, uphill runners would share a few common characteristics like a love of making things more challenging. I have to say I am that girl.  If someone suggests I take on a project I like to, not only say yes, I like to play some weird version of the Name that Tune game where they had to guess a song by betting how few notes.  "Kathy would you take over that report?"  Before I even realize it I am saying "yes, but I think the way we have done the report in the past does not go back far enough and review original data points and aggregate the change coefficient adequately.  Would it be okay if I did the report and studied all the past reports and compiled that data into a historical review and then completely redesigned the process to make sure we are capturing as much information as possible?"  I can Name that tune in 1 note!  See for the uphill runner it is not enough to get up the hill or finish the project, you have to leave a little bit of yourself.  You have to give until it hurts, I like to use the term skin in the game.  Pushing to the outer limit is how we roll.

Now the downhill runner they are the coasters, both on the course and through life.  Where the uphill runner is in the woods trying to beat the brush down and create a brand new path and and have all the cuts and bruises to prove it.  The down hill runner took the marked path that landed right at the State Park Lobby Bar.  They read the map and realized the red trail had no hills and was full mile shorter.  They find the uphill person in their office and ask if they want to do the annual report, because it will be a great opportunity.  I personally envy the easy breezy downhill type.  I am as far from it as they come.  Even when I run.  When I run down hill my husband always asks "are you all right?  Your face looks weird! Why are you running like that?"  I always think why does this feel so easy I must be doing something wrong.  So I tense up and "look like that."

Lastly you find my husband, the flat runner.  I noticed this about him when I saw him running a flat stretch by our home yesterday as I drove home.  He was flying along on the road just one with himself and at peace.  He was enjoying the pride of a run, but without the need to actually inflict pain in order to feel like he was accomplishing things.  This is the nature of my husband.  He is a hard worker, but he does not make everything he does a blood sport, like his wife.  He finds the efficient and direct route.  He makes rational and reasonable decisions.  He says yes to the project, works hard, but does not have to revamp the entire process.  He is in for the long haul and he knows how to conserve his strength.  When the hills come he is able to modulate and meet challenges and he is able to coast and enjoy vacation and down time.  I admire that.  I hope to one day find myself on the flat road.  Maybe if I keep running with him.  For now I'll fall back on flat and watch him surge ahead and he will fall back on the hill and be ready with water or CPR when I get up there.  Maybe that is what makes it work.  What does the way you run say about you?

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