I understand what my friend was saying, and on the surface running on the elliptical is not the same mechanics as running on the treadmill. Running on the treadmill is not the same as running on the ground. Running on the ground is not the same as being chased by a bear uphill without any shoes on.
The whole discussion reminded me of Oscar Pistorius -- the runner who fought to run in the Olympics despite having double below-the-knee amputations. Some people saw his prosthesis as giving him an advantage, and some people argued that losing parts of both your legs were no advantage. No one would ever say to him that what he does isn't running because it doesn't fit the definition of "both feet leave the ground" because he technically doesn't have feet.
I thought about Megan Vogel, the long distance runner, and many others who have helped their competitors (or their loved one) across the finish line when they could not do it under their own power.
It's been a few days, but I've come to the conclusion that running isn't about the mechanics; it's about the spirit. Running isn't about picking up one foot, and the other foot. Its about moving forward, together, towards our goals and meeting each other at the finish line, wherever that line may be, whatever that line may look like.
Oh, and today's run was fantastic:
Make no mistake, I am a runner.
No one can tell me otherwise.