I wrote this haiku last year after my massage therapist suggested I might enjoy hearing the birds during my runs:
If I run without
My Nike app or Fitbit
Will the miles still count?
Well, of course they will still count, but towards what, exactly? Yeah, yeah, my overall health and well-being, toward my general fitness level, and in the grand cosmic scheme of things. But what would I know about my run? Did I do better than the day before? Did I run more miles or fewer? Most importantly, perhaps, how many miles did I put on which pair of shoes?
My running buddy April (she of A is for Accountability), calls me Rain Man—a nod to my semi-obsession with my statistics. If pressed, I can’t really come up with a stellar explanation about why I’m so enamored of stats. I guess it just comes down to the fact that I enjoy looking back over time and tracking my progress. I love that I can scroll back through the months and see how far I ran and how fast on any given day, in any given race.
The very first year I started running—2012—I averaged a mile per day (not per run, but per day)—365 miles run over the course of the year. When I realized in late December that I could reach that milestone with a little bit of effort, I got excited and added more miles to my daily runs.
When December 31 dawned, I still had seven miles to go to reach my goal. I had never gone that far in one day, but, determined to make 365, I laced up my sneakers and set out. I finished that run on the middle school track near my house and called Nancy to pick me up because I couldn’t take another step. I finished. And it was exactly seven miles from my front door to the door of the Jeep in the parking lot. I have the data to prove it.
Sometime during that year I realized that I always hit mile two around the beginning of the same song, Florence and the Machine’s Dog Days of Summer. I began measuring my runs in songs instead of minutes and knew exactly where I should be, mileage-wise, depending on who I heard in my earbuds.
Last year in about October I noticed that if I pushed myself I could make 1500 miles for the year. I didn’t quite make the miles I needed—I wasn’t willing to kill myself to reach that goal—sometimes life intervenes and other things take precedence over running. But I came close, within 50 miles or less, and I am happy with that achievement.
I have a new playlist now, the third or fourth one in as many years. If I hear Cher before mile three, I know I’m doing very well. If I hear Rhianna, I know I’m smoking it. I don’t need to see the stats, but I’m happy to know that I can if I want to.