I’m not much of a “numbers” gal, but sometimes I find that those numerals help make me more accountable or goal-oriented when it comes to the running realm of my life. Typically, I like seeing elapsed time or mile or half-mile splits on my watch, and I always keep very specific records in my running log about my mileage for each pair of shoes I wear (so I know when to rotate them in or out) and my year-to-date mileage. Keeping such numerically-focused records was what probably allowed me to quickly realize, back in the winter of 2008, when I was having IT band issues, that it generally wasn’t a good idea for me to run more than 50mpw because it was then that my ITB really began to pain me. Had I not kept such quantitative records, I probably would have kept on injuring myself for a long time to come.
In 2009, as you might recall, I spent most of November-December in Kenya with my masters program, and I didn’t run a lick while I was there. Once I returned, C and I were swiftly off to the Dominican Republic for some much-needed R&R, and I realized in between trips that I was really close to hitting the mileage that I had hit in 2008 (1,300), in 2009, minus about twenty miles. Playing this numbers game with myself on vacation (“ok, to run ~20 miles in X days, I should run on average Y miles each day, or run one day extra long with Z miles,” etc.) helped me get back into “running mode” while on vacation, even if it meant running on a dreadmill in a super-hot-and-humid exercise room. Having the feeling of accomplishment that I beat my 2008 mileage was pretty awesome, though, and I was pretty excited once I did it.
Fairly recently, I realized I was far ahead of schedule to beat my 2009 mileage (about 1,300 and change), barring prego-related catastrophe. I knew that my post-marathon mileage would wind down considerably, in no small part related to the +1 status and to the fact that I wasn’t planning to run another marathon in until fall 2011, but I still wanted to keep running as long as I felt healthy. Post-marathon, I haven’t gone more than 20mpw (and probably won’t go farther than 30mpw for the remaining 20 weeks), but, just like in 2009, it sure felt good to beat my previous year’s records.
Granted, 2010 isn’t going to beat 2009 by hundreds of miles—had I not acquired the +1 status, it probably would have—but that’s ok. As I’ve written before, my miles these days are more about my connecting with my underlying passion and joy for running and much less so about being in “training” or PR or Boston mode.
The purpose to my new sense of time—whether it’s the number of minutes for each work-out, the mileage I’ll continue to build, or the budding relationship that’s growing between my body, my environment, and my little growing Yoda—has changed, goals or no goals.
To everything there is a season, indeed…