We runners are fairly simple creatures by nature so to speak. Give us some shoes, some running clothes, and point a direction and off we go to get a run in, but that is where things can get complicated. Numbers tell us how fast or better how slow we are. Numbers tell us how far we went and of course numbers tell us how many calories we eventually burned while being out there running. Races are usually based on a number as a number used in determining the distance of the race. 5K, 10K, 1 Mile, 10 miles, 13.1 aka half-marathon, and of course the magic 26.2 which represents the magical 26.2 miles you need to run to complete a marathon. We do care about how many marathons or half marathons we completed and it is perfectly normal to brag about it when talking to other runners. Some runners put stickers on their cars – showing off what they have accomplished. While some people are Ok with one sticker, I have seen quite a few cars with a boat load of 26.2 and 13.1 stickers. I guess at a certain point they can use that as an argument to buy a bigger car so that they have more room for additional stickers.
The other morning – a couple of days before Thanksgiving – I was at my bootcamp workout at Kosama and one of the other members there asked me if I would be doing the 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Thursday. I tried to be funny by explaining I would not because it is too short of a distance, but the look in that persons face told me that my response was not funny. “Dare you to say that a 5K is too short of a distance for a runner”. Well, from a fitness perspective the 5K is the most misleading race distance ever (at least in my opinion). People run or walk the 5K race and then consume a huge amount of food because they burned hundreds and hundreds of calories, but the sad truth is that a 5K barely puts a dent into your daily calorie consumption. And it definitely does not justify to have seconds at the dinner table – not even close. Sure, for a couch potato running or walking a 5K is an accomplishment and I congratulate you, but do understand that you are barely scratching the surface when it comes to running and hitting any type of numbers and as a runner you need to understand that numbers “matter”.
It’s funny sad sometimes during my morning runs. Not sure if my Nike Plus GPS watch is not “awake” so early in the morning (pre-5 AM) or what is going on, but I usually run the same route and over time I have seen the distance shown on my GPS watch to vary quite a bit – sometimes up to a quarter mile. If I want to do a 10K in the morning or a 7+ mile run then being short a quarter is not a big issue from a fitness perspective, but it sucks because I missed my goal and so you might see me running around the parking lot on those morning which looks a bit stupid at times. Again, this comes down to the importance of numbers for us runners. Funny thing – I saw other people do the same thing. I guess I am not alone when it comes to wanting have a full number completed for my run. Well, I admit that I am into numbers to a certain degree. This year one of my goals was to become a member of the Marathon Maniacs. To be able to do that you have to “hit” certain numbers. In my case I ran 3 marathon in two weeks.
Runners are fascinated by numbers. Average pace, time elapsed, PR, distance, and many other metrics matter to us – some more than others for sure, but running and having “numbers” associated with it in one way or the other would be hard to swallow. For many it seems to be an obsession analyzing the numbers (data) up to a point where it becomes an obsession. We buy Garmins and other GPS watches and quite a few people use their phone to “verify” the accuracy of our GPS watch information. Dare you to miss a couple of yards on a run or not being able to share that accomplishment on Facebook or Dailymile with others. Some runners want to run a certain race in every state and quite a few have done just that already and many times more. Pick your poison (aka race distance) and then schedule a race in every state of the United States. Then there are those that want to run a marathon on every continent of this planet and sure enough – you can do that easily. Even Antarctica has its marathon race now. The list could go on and on – it is easy to use running and combine it with numbers. After all – numbers matter, they really do 😉
Do you have a running related goal that matters to you? Please feel free to share it in the comments section below.