It started in college, although it wasn't always miles I was counting.
I like numbers, I have always enjoyed them. When I was just learning math I could add and subtract in my head from the beginning, I imagined the numbers as shapes, it worked every time. I was very good at math.
In college it started with schedules. I would start out at 6:30AM (run), 7:15AM (shower), 7:25AM (dress for class), 7:30AM (breakfast), 7:45AM (bike to class) 7:55AM (class). For the most part it was healthy, but then I needed something else, scheduling my day out in 15 minute increments just wasn't enough.
In an effort to be "strong" I started counting numbers, miles per day..week...month. I wanted to run 65, then 70, then more than 70. Unfortunately I paid more attention to the numbers than the way I felt and spent most of my time on the elliptical machine with an injury.
Post college I was able to run as much as I wanted- there were no limits. I had some small successes but was usually hurt by April every year, spending 5-7 months in a water-jogging belt strapped to the wall of a pool, sweating through intervals until I felt like passing out. Injured. Chasing numbers has always left me sitting in the same place: on the bench.
Since coming back from pregnancy last fall I have really stayed away from counting, mostly just estimating, and have stayed virtually injury free except for some small flare-ups here and there.
So what the heck am I chasing numbers for now?
Not getting confident, lack of. See standards are much higher than last year, and as much as I could care less about being considered anything more than the athlete/jogger I am today, in order to remain where I am, I need to get better...and not slowly, either.
Honestly, most of those around me are putting in 85-100 mile weeks, I'm lucky to hit 75. There are odd times when I think I hit 80 miles...but I don't know, I stopped counting.
Last week I was determined to hit 80 miles, working my way up to 90...but my daughter was sick and I simply said to heck with it...not important.
This week I am back on it. I can get 3X13-14 mile days in a row and be OK, I can get 90+ minutes on my recovery days, I can maximize singles... I can run at lunch...I can be a psycho.
And is it really all worth it?
I don't know. To be honest, every time I run faster, I spend a few hours totally excited about the fast time, then spend the next few days/weeks/months..coming up with reasons of why I am not good enough. And really, who is? Truthfully, 2:52 was fine for me. I am a mother first and foremost so....awesome. BUT when I realized that 2:52 was not the goals/standards that others had for me, everything changed.
I wasn't good enough for me anymore.
I hope that the number craze doesn't make me crazy. I can find time to fit an extra 10-15miles in here and there without sacrificing family time. However, is it worth it? Is it really worth it?
I guess its time to find out.
Happy running, all.