I am a Runner.

by Morgan Belisle


I can’t tell you how many people have asked me the question, “Are you a runner?” in the last few years.

If you’ve been a friend of The Sneaker Store, you almost definitely know Rich, Josh, or Scott…probably all three of them! You’ve seen Sam, Geoff, and Karen at local races and group runs. You’ve maybe even followed some of our student employees in their college running careers. But me? Probably not!

My husband, Josh, and I took over running The Sneaker Store one year ago today. For Josh, buying The Sneaker Store was a natural fit. He had worked for Rich for over 19 years and always dreamed of taking the reins when Rich was ready. Josh was a natural born runner. He loves running. He loves talking about running. He loves running when it’s hot. When it’s cold. He runs fast. He runs far. He started running in high school and never stopped. I married a runner.

Me?

I was in drama club. I can’t catch a ball. I jog/walked the mile in high school gym, er I mean phys. ed. class.

I am not a runner.

Don’t get me wrong… I *loved* the idea of owning our own business. I was a Spanish teacher for eight years, and after deciding to be a stay at home mom when our first son was born, Rich began mentoring me on the business-end of the business. I was on board for the back-office work, (I actually love it). Payroll, check. Inventory management, check. Buying, budgeting, bill paying, check, check, check. Running? That was Josh’s department.

Don’t get me wrong, I had started running when my sisters and I decided to run the Boilermaker in 2011. I trained for about four months, ran the race, and I had a BLAST (runner’s high is totally real). The running seed was planted. I patted myself on the back and decided to take a few days off (totally earned it), and a few days turned into about 8 months.

Because I wasn’t a runner.

I somehow became a person who would train for a few months in the spring, run the Boilermaker 15K (or 5K if I wasn’t prepared), then stop until the next year. Then I had a baby in 2016, and after that something began to change. Big Shift #1: I didn’t just want to, I *needed* to do something for myself. Something that made me feel good (yeah, tacos, chocolate, and beer help sometimes too)… but running made me feel like an individual again, and not just a mom (in a way even tacos can’t help).

I ran. But I wasn’t a runner.

I was slow. And inconsistent. And I didn’t know ‘the lingo’. I felt intimidated by “real runners”. While I was pregnant with baby #2, we bought The Sneaker Store…and what a ride it’s been! People who knew me from my younger years probably thought oh, how nice that she supports her husband in his new venture. Because they knew me. And they knew:

She’s not a runner.

So, post-baby #2 I slowly started to run again, and I started to meet more people who were into running. And they weren’t all as fast as Josh, but they were runners. And they all had different goals and reasons for running. And then few months back while thinking about a post for social media, I came across a quote that became Big Shift #2:

I am a runner, because I run. Not because I run fast. Not because I run far. I am a runner because I say I am, and no one can tell me I am not
— John Bingham

Something about that quote just flipped the switch for me. It took away the intimidation factor. I just run for me, and that’s enough. I’m setting new goals and having fun with it. I’m running with friends and running alone. Josh and I are taking time to schedule our runs so they’re part of our routine. I’m finding group runs to be super motivating for me. And I’m a part of the running community now. Not because I’m fast enough or because I run far enough…but because I run and that is enough!

Looking back on one year of owning The Sneaker Store (yay!), there have been lots of changes. I’ve learned a lot about the industry, the business, and myself. We’ve grown to a family of four. I’ve struggled with life balance. I’ve had some losses, and lots of wins. A lot has changed. One major change? A year ago, if you were to ask me, Are you a runner? I would’ve said …Oh, I run sometimes, but my husband is the real runner. Today? Today I’ll tell you Well, I’m not fast, and I might not run far but…

I am a runner.

How about you?