The Magic and Mayhem of Numbers

Most runners I know are obsessive, myself included. And the thing we obsess about most? Numbers, of course. After all, that’s how we quantify many of our goals, challenges and accomplishments.

  • NumbersThe number of miles we run per week.
  • The number of races we participate in each year.
  • The numbers we need to hit to qualify for Boston.
  • The numbers on our Garmins or Fitbits.
  • The numbers on our scale.
  • The numbers on the treadmill.
  • The numbers we want to add to our long runs.
  • The numbers we want to chisel away during a race.

Numbers can be just the motivation we need to keep us fired up about reaching our ongoing and ever-changing running goals. If you’re like me, you love them, but maybe sometimes a bit too much.

I began thinking about all of this number business when I saw the “Run 2015 miles in 2015” challenge floating around Facebook. My first instinct was to say, “Hell yeah!” even though I knew this was a bad idea all the way around for me.

As much as I love the idea of a challenge like this, by focusing purely on numbers instead of being smart about recovery days and listening to my body, I know I’d be setting myself up for a litany of injuries.

So instead of zeroing in on mileage this year I have decided I want to focus on celebrating numbers in a different way. I want to say “Booyah!” to things like…

  • JesusitaTrail12515The number of times I try new things—new trails, new groups, new races.
  • The number of times I stay in the moment during a run, listening to my body, knowing I’m pushing myself at exactly the right pace and distance for where I’m at on that particular day.
  • The number of big sweaty hugs I give.
  • The number of times my heart explodes with admiration when I see 80+-year olds still running, always looking happy and always sporting a warm smile.
  • The number of times I get a newbie excited about running or convince her that she soooooo can run that first race.
  • The number of times utter waves of joy wash over me as I coach my kids running teams, seeing that little spark ignite in them.
  • The number of times I laugh so hard I cry with friends who share their lives with me on a run, knowing that what’s shared on the road always stays on the road.
  • The number of times a challenging day becomes an “Abso-freaking-lutely YES” kind of day after a run.
  • The number of times I’m filled with gratitude because I can run.
  • EllwoodTrail_JenM_12715The number of times I push myself outside my comfort zone.
  • The number of times I return home from a run feeling happy, exhausted and invincible.
  • The number of times I say, “Good morning!” to another runner on the road and mean it heart and soul/sole (after all it is a ‘good morning’ when we get to run).
  • The number of times I make a smart food choice because I know it will make me a better runner and a healthier person.
  • The number of times I work on strength, core, and cross-training in order to support my running goals, and more importantly, my running longevity. After all, I want to be one of those 80+-year old runners who inspires all those young farts!

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