Recently I wrote about how hard it is for me, and most women I know, to get past the numbers that surround them. I have really tried hard to not worry about what the scale says, (although I still ask), not think about the tape measure or the clothing size. This has been a continuous battle. I still haven’t given up on calorie counting or tracking how much my daily runs or bikes burn. I say it is to remain healthy and work towards my goal of becoming stronger, and in some ways it is. But I could track that differently, I suppose.
To add to this number obsession, I have become obsessed with how far I can go and how fast I can get there. In the last several weeks I have become anchored to the numbers on my RunKeeper. The pacing, the splits (which I still don’t understand entirely) the milage and the amount of time I am running or biking. Earlier this week I was ridiculously happy that I did six miles in under an hour. Today, I was equally disappointed that I stopped at fifty five minutes and only made five and a half miles. There are times when I am running I wish I never ran six miles, since now I feel compelled to try to do that all the time. Not just to try to do six miles, but do it faster – go past that. My legs ache, my left hip feels like it wants to crack in two and still I do this. I use to run with my phone silent in the mornings, unless I needed my playlist to keep me going. Now I listen constantly for the next update. How fast am I going? Should I slow down? Wait, I only went how far? And I am always wrong. When I feel as though I am running slow as molasses, I find that I’m not. When I feel like I am really moving, I look to see an eleven minute mile. I have absolutely no feel for this.
Cycling is easier. I refuse to let any numbers take over the joy. I don’t care if half of the milage is down hill. I had to pump up hill to get there and the pure joy of speeding down a hill is something I won’t trade for any numbers. I love pumping as hard and fast as I can go. Trying to get in sixteen miles in under an hour is fun for me. Failure, just sets up another challenge. I don’t know why I can’t find this in running. Maybe because I can’t speed down the hill and feel the wind rush up at me. I feel giddy when I come off the bike. I am just so damn happy. When I finish a run, I feel accomplished. I feel proud and a little more confident in everything I take on. Sometimes, when I have an amazing run, the kind where I feel as though I can run forever, I get super happy. Just so damn pleased with myself.
Many days, however, are like today. A tired run, where I spend much of the run wondering what I am doing wrong. In my quest to maintain six miles, I sort of let go of the warm up. I only have a little more than an hour normally to run in the morning, so if I am going to make it something has to give. This also means less cool down time. I know this is wrong. I read Runner’s World online religiously. But the numbers just sort of take hold and I become hell bent on making them. Today I walked for about six or seven minutes before my run and about five minutes after. I don’t know if it helps. But I know I could have pushed myself to run six miles. I just ran out of time. And that makes me crazy. Because right now, six is apparently the most important number.