Tied Up in the Numbers

As women, we are so tied to the numbers of our body. The day is a constant stream of judgment, from the scale, to the measuring tape, to the clothes size, to the calorie count. A woman who swears she doesn’t have a head for numbers, can quickly size up a food portion and on the spot and figure how much exercise she will have to do to eat. Vacation is in three months, what size can I realistically squeeze into at that time?
I know this isn’t everybody, but as of yet, I haven’t met one who isn’t. Right wing, left wing, feminist or not, we are all subject to the barrage of messages that defines us in small numbers. Part of signing up for the Endurance Challenge, was suppose to be about changing that. Changing the small number mentality to a big number mentality. Instead of thinking, how many miles do I have to run to have that beer, I wanted to truncate the sentence to how many miles can I run? How far can I go? How strong can I get? Can I bike to Jersey?
What happened? Somewhere along the way I became caught up in the numbers again. Somewhere, the fact that I was working so hard and seemed to have so little to show for it, as of today I have lost one pound, made me discouraged. Why? Why does it matter if I lose no weight and I maintain this size if I can run ten miles? The scale flips back and forth, lose two pounds, gain two pounds, lose two pounds, gain a pound. But in the meantime I have gotten stronger, I can bike ten miles with relative ease and am building on that number every day, I can run three miles and hopefully more. I have pushed myself to become stronger. I eat better, mostly whole foods and my alcohol intake has decreased dramatically. Mostly because I don’t want it to interfere with my morning bike or run. So why do I still get so downhearted when I jump on the scale?
On the Fourth of July, my family and I walked along the river. I brought Runkeeper so I could add the exercise to my food diary. All about the numbers. My seven year old daughter spent the time doing cartwheels, round offs, skipping.
“Mommy, let me show you what a walk, skip looks like.” And off she went. For Katie, her body is all about the joy of movement, the thrill of seeing what it can do next. She is not worried about size, or portions. This is the head space I need to find.

Decisions, Decisions…

Last week before my icky, sticky afternoon run, I rolled my ankle a little. Since it didn’t bother me I ran anyway. And really, it hasn’t bothered me much at all. Except for two days ago, when I ran my first three consecutive miles. It didn’t hurt at all during the run, but afterwards throbbed like mad until it was relieved with ibuprofen. That was the last I heard from it until this morning. This morning I ran a little over three miles. I knew that my ankle would not be pleased, but once I started I just kept stretching it out and stretching it out. Before I knew it, I was at 3.6 miles, so of course I stretched it out to 3.75. I was rewarded with some serious, limp inducing pain from my ankle for about three minutes. Really, I thought I was going to cry. It didn’t hurt right away, I think it wasn’t speaking to me, but the more I walked during my cool down, the more it throbbed. At one point I considered calling my husband to come get me. And then it sort of backed off, still aching, but not anywhere near as bad. It is a little bit bruised on the inside and a little swollen. I sat for about fifteen minutes with ice on it and felt much better. I was fine until later in the day I had to drive for about an hour. It is my right foot so it is the one I use for gas and breaks. For some reason that made it angry all over again. Presently, I am sitting with it up, wondering if maybe I should just bike for a few days and give it a break.

And here is where the decision process really comes in, and the old me is sneaking up the sidelines. The day after tomorrow is The Fourth of July. We potentially have three parties to attend on three different days, all of which will include adult beverages. My original plan was to pick one and coordinate a planned rest day with the day after the party. Buuuut, if I can’t run anyway, maybe I should just take a longer rest and enjoy all three. I haven’t lost any real weight in over five weeks (maybe two pounds) and it is only three days and it would probably really help my ankle. Although, I don’t think biking is bad for it at all. But then, I am so worried I will lose all progress. That I won’t be able to run again, and I will be back struggling to go a half mile. And it isn’t about the weight, it is about getting stronger. And, except for my ankle, I am getting stronger. A lot stronger.

Maybe if I just give it a some more ice. And buy more ibuprofen.