Today’s run started like any other. We decided to go back to the place where we first ran together to see how far we have come. In March, Jimmy and I ran this trail in 42:14. I program my RunKeeper to track my time and distance. The countdown begins, 15…14… and finally RunKeeper announces “Activity Started”, and we run. In the first 5 seconds I start making bets on what is going to give out first, my mind or my body. But soon I realize that I have to focus on my run. We are running a trail and it is very rooty so each step must be made carefully.
When I run there are two things I listen to ~ my music and the lady’s voice on RunKeeper updating my with my split times and distances. So I know soon she will giving me an update. She rattles off a bunch of numbers to motivate me, but really all I hear is “You are ahead of your target pace” or “You are behind your target pace”. Nothing worse than having a physically challenging run and someone screaming at you that you are not running fast enough. So I try to focus on the run – step, step, breath in, step, step, breath out.
When I realize that we have had to run more than 5 minutes (my first prompt), I glance down at RunKeeper and realize we are at 15 minutes. I remember now turning off the voice prompts when I went on my last walk. But it made me think, I am running for ME right now, not because someone is in my ear saying go faster, go further. I was in control of my own pace. I was not being judged on my performance. I could push harder if I had the strength or slow down if I needed a breather. For the first time since I started running, there was no pressure to “keep up”. I was actually doing my own thing. I felt FREE!
This awoke feelings in me I had not expected. I have based my whole existence on numbers – the scale, the time, the distance. By taking away the need to perform at a certain level, I was actually enjoying my run more. Could this translate to the scale as well. If I was not focused on getting to that golden number, could I actually enjoy my life more too. The realization started to creep into my thoughts that just maybe these numbers were getting in the way of what was important, ME!
As we approach the end of the run, I stop my RunKeeper. And the familiar voice said “Activity Stopped”. I glance at the time ~ 31:21. Are you kidding me? We shaved 11 minutes off of our time. But what I noticed second is my distance. 0.01 miles. It said my average mile was at a pace of 56 hours and some odd minutes. It made me realize that the numbers lie! These numbers that I have placed so much importance on may not be accurate in determining my strength, my love and what I have to offer.
From this experience today, I am learning that when I am not focused on the number I do and feel better. Taking away the stress of performance whether on a scale or on a run is very freeing. Why has it taken me so long to see that happiness has always been within my reach but I just kept pushing it away looking for a better number.