Monday, March 15, 2010

All Those Numbers!

     This past week has been filled with numbers for me. My weight, dress size, mile pace. At this point it can feel like math education has done me a disservice. This first thing I tend to do with these numbers is compare them to those of others. AGH! It gets really frustrating and makes a person feel worthless. So this running tip is about combating the obsession with comparing the numbers. Here's what my week has been like: my weight rebounded after I recovered from being sick, I had to order my bridesmaid dress for my sister-in-law's wedding, another lady at a party I attended was talking about her mile pace, I went on a couple runs and started looking at confusing training schedules, and now here I am doing my best to give you all advice when I feel like the world's least credible source.

     Now, I certainly don't want you all to feel like I'm sitting here complaining to you. Hopefully you can all relate to some degree. So what do we do about it? STOP COMPARING. Duh. It sounds so easy, right? Maybe it is and maybe it isn't, but it's what we need to do--myself included. So here's what I have told myself to think about these past experiences. Even though my weight has not gone down more, I am still at 135 (my original goal) and that is still very healthy and I am happy with my accomplishment so far. My dress size is nothing to squawk about because it would have been bigger had I not committed to this goal weight a year ago. Besides, I am going to be the most fit person in the wedding party, right?! Absolutely. And who cares if my mile pace is slower than some other lady, because I have run a marathon and I plan to run several more races throughout my life; I have plenty of time to get faster. Finally, running is not about the numbers to me. When I first started running, I didn't care what my pace was or how far I went. The point was that it was fun and it made me feel good about myself. So maybe I'm not the world's least credible source, because at least I have some experience. Admittedly, I am still new to running. Yet that might be what helps me relate the most to you readers and fellow runners.

     I guess this is more of a life tip than a running tip, but it is central to my running philosophy. Running is so much more than pounding pavement. Health is so much more than weight, calories, speed, or any other number. Numbers are just one of the ways that we quantify our progress and results. So sure, use the numbers that will help you. Talk positively to yourself about your numbers and resist that nasty urge to compare. There will probably always be someone better and someone worse. That's why comparing doesn't matter. This is a lesson I am still learning. Hopefully it will help you too. In the mean time, best of luck to you all as we continue on our journeys to better health and happiness! As long as we keep trying, we are bound to get better.
Success is inevitable to those who refuse to quit.


Kathy Haynie said...

Amen! Good advice, Emily. Sounds like it's time for a play day! :)

Katie said...

Great post Emily. And so true. Sometimes I really have to sit down and consciously think through all the little thoughts that run through my head so I can say, "Hey, that's ridiculous! I'm doing just fine!" And so are you. :)

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