Life is a number game

numbers1Numbers

What are these little things we see everywhere?

Numbers

They create a sense of accomplishment,

A sense of self

A sense of self worth.

Value

Place

Location

numbers8Numbers define our lives more than we realize.

Our income

Our debt

Our giving

numbers2They define our self

Our weight

Our height

Our clothing size

They define our home

How much

What area

How many rooms

numbers4They define our accomplishments

What place

What grade point average

How many followers we have

How many likes we get.

But why do we give numbers so much worth in our lives?

numbers0

Because we learn to from the moment we are born. As a mother, I can remember the first questions I would be asked about my pregnancies. What is your due date? How far along? How many weeks? How long until you know the gender? How many are there? How many will you have? All of these questions require a value, a number.

Then, once you have your child, the first things people want to know about a baby are their height and weight. (Numbers)

Then time and date (numbers)

Then weeks/months/years (numbers)

How many words? (Numbers)

We are measured by numbers from the very beginning. We learn that these numbers hold value. They define who we are. People see us as the skinny or fat baby, the tall or short child, the rich or poor person based on numbers.

numbers6

We try so hard to change these numbers. To make them different. To make them better. Being better or best means having the highest or the lowest number (depending on what you are talking about). Being better or the best means comparing yourself to others. We should always caution ourselves from being too quick to compare ourselves to others. When we do that to our children we can create a world of hurt.

As a mom, I often find myself saying that the first or the second or the third child did x, y, or z at such and such an age. Then, I find myself saying this to another parent when we compare our children. It is like a three ring circus of “well, my child was walking at 10 months old. How about yours?” And “Oh! Well, my child could read at the age of 2.” Followed quickly by an occasional, “Well, my child was playing Mozart at three.” And so on. It really makes me sad to think I have done that about and to my children. I Am trying not to do that anymore. I try to use names and their character to describe them, but sometimes that is hard in a society of numbers.

numbers7

Motherhood and life are filled with so many numbers. At one point in my own life running seemed like a good idea. How hard could it be, right? So, I signed up for a 5K. I never practiced, never warmed up, and just showed up to run. I came in last place. It took me 47 minutes to run that 5K and it was the most grueling 47 minutes of my life.

Why? Because I let that get to me. I let those numbers give me value. I have learned that those numbers only hold value in that they pushed me to run faster and farther, and to understand that it takes practice to improve my running numbers.

numbers3As parents we wanted to choose a sport for our boys that would help them find their values: hard work, dedication, teamwork, good sportsmanship, etc.. The sport we chose for them is all about the numbers : track and field.

numbers11Talk about numbers, this sport is about how fast, what place, and how far. We chose it because the one thing I did learn from that race was that I could better myself from that time. Track & Field is a sport that doesn’t compare you to someone else. Well, it doesn’t if you do it right. As coaches and parents we are constantly telling our runners to do THEIR best. Not to worry about the other runner’s best, but to focus on what they can do to beat themselves. We push them in practice to stretch, run, jump and throw better every time. This dedication has lead to personal bests for many of our runners, and even a showing at the Junior Olympics.

The numbers here show our runners that they have grown. That their hard work is paying off. That dedication and focus will lead to great rewards. This lesson is not just for running or jumping or throwing, but it will play out in life.

If they focus on the task at hand, do what they have learned to do and dedicate themselves to it, they will find that they are capable of growing at any task.

Numbers. They mean so much, but also, so little.

A number can never compare to the worth a person feels inside. The sense of accomplishment and wonder someone feels as they rise above a challenge and grow from it. No number can ever replace that feeling.

numbers5So I challenge you. Move forward with fewer numbers. Credit yourself for what you can do, and find your non-number worth. What makes you fully you? How do you find your non-number worth? For me, it is how happy my children are, what they believe they can do, the joy in my marriage, and what I know I am capable of. Numbers do not need to define any of that!

be free to love yourself for you
be free to love yourself for you

Leave a comment and help others find ways to find their worth as well!

That race I didn’t run, and the ones I did…

could be worse, but I finished well!
could be worse, but I finished well!

A few months ago I was talking about preparing for a half marathon I didn’t get to run because of not being able to get to the location: stop signs and a few weeks ago I wrote about running a  muderella . On Saturday, I ran a 5K. Not much, but for me, it was tough. I had suffered a twisted ankle in the weeks before the mud race, and over the past three weeks I had bronchitis. I finished a one week round of antibiotics on Thursday, so I had no expectations of doing well at this race. I expected to be at the end, never did I expect to be as strong as I was. I finished a 3.1 mile race in 38:26 minutes. A 12:22.2/mile pace. My fastest ever in a race setting. My happiness stems from this moment:

my longest straight run ever. I didn't keep this pace up, but it was a great way to start!
my longest straight run ever. I didn’t keep this pace up, but it was a great way to start!

So what?

So, I finished a race in the quickest for me time ever. Did I win? no

Did I even do well in my age group? no

Did I even do well for women? no.

Did I finish? Yes

Did I run over 80% of the race? yes

Did my boys see me pushing myself to finish a race? yes

Did I stop? NO

the moral of this story being that no matter how much you go through, you never know what you are capable of until you try. I am registered for a race in December (another 5K) and in May my first half marathon in Boston, and the following weekend, A spartan Sprint race. My intent is to weigh less by then, but my heart says that I am proof to my boys that it doesn’t matter what you look like, it matters what your heart is.

splits show consistency.
splits show consistency.

My heart said, “You got this!” even if my head said,”DO you?” and my body type said, “Haha!” it doesn’t matter.

When we look at ourselves, we have to want the things we say we want. We have to work for them. My body was not prepared to run as fast as I did, and I have paid the price. A strained neck, sore legs, and a pulled back. These are all worth it. They teach me that I need to prepare for the hard parts of life. If I don’t I will get hurt. If I chose to fight without preparation, I may lose. If I prepare however, I may find that I am capable of more than I ever thought!

When all you see are stop signs.

these are on my dining room wall.
These sayings adorn my dining room wall. I do believe the sea is a great way to be free.

As I mentioned in my first post I am running a half marathon in October in Myrtle Beach. I am beyond nervous about this endeavor as it will be my first. I am not an athletic  person. I try hard, but every time I make any progress, there is always a stop sign.

I almost didn't take this picture. I thought they were stickers, but as I got closer I realized how perfect a moment this was.
I almost didn’t take this picture. I thought they were stickers, but as I got closer I realized how perfect a moment this was.

Ankle

Asthma

Throat infection

too busy

Lyme disease

boys activities

school work

lesson plans

papers to write

There is always an excuse to stop pushing forward. So, Like a good driver, I obey the rules of the road, and I stop. Well this morning we woke early to prepare for a busy day, and I found myself saying to Steve “I just don’t have time to run.” (There is that stop sign again!) I started reading through a magazine he got for me about being healthy, and I oo’d and ah’d over the exercises that looked so simple. I was doing nothing, the work for our afternoon party was complete. I stood up and said, What am I doing? I am sitting here reading a magazine complaining that I don’t have time to run. (stop sign)

the view that drives me!
the view that drives me!

I got up, changed into my running clothes, and said “I’ll be back!” I am fortunate to live in a part of my city that is a mile from the ocean. I run towards the water on almost every run because it is freeing. Looking out and seeing open water, remembering how small I am and how big others problems are. Perspective So I ran. It started as a walk. I knew my mileage (4 miles), I knew the time I wanted (56 minutes), I did not know how to get it at that moment.  I took the first step (green light) then, my walking wasn’t fast enough, and I started to run. I felt pain (yield sign?) I started walking again. Would I make my four miles? Could I complete it in 56 minutes? I didn’t know. At that moment, I wanted a stop sign, any stop sign. I had told myself deep inside that i couldn’t do it, and my body was being a good driver and obeying the rules of the road. It wanted to stop. I didn’t.

amazing that someone sees this out of their front door every day!
amazing that someone sees this out of their front door every day!

I remembered that I made a promise to be better, to do anything I tried to do. When my students say “I Can’t!” I remind them that means “I Certainly Am Not Trying” and so, they must not be putting in their best effort. Well what was I doing? I certainly was not putting in my best effort, nor was I believing in me. So I pushed. I ran. It hurt. “Just past that tree…just to that corner…” I kept telling myself these things to get through. I hit the 2 mile mark and turned around to head back. I looked at the open road ahead of me, and I went, I ran, 4-6 blocks of straight no stop running! It felt amazing. I ran up hills, down hills, and around corners. I arrived home with a time that was a little more than I wanted, but I finished. I do not know when in my mind exercise was supposed to be easy. It was just supposed to happen. I danced ballet, ran track in field, and marche din a marching band. All of that was easy. Why? because I had people in my corner, coaches, teachers, parents, support. I coach runners, I know it isn’t easy, but yet, my expectations of myself were, “if there is pain you stop.” instead of “no pain no gain”.

beauties of nature kept me going strong!
beauties of nature kept me going strong!

Now I know that sometimes pain can be real, and debilitating, I would never run if I were injured for real. these pains I speak of are sores and aches. Things that your muscles do when you push them. The way muscles grow, stretch and become stronger. I had forgotten…

my run, mapped out
my run, mapped out

SO I ran. farther than I have (in a single sprint), harder than I have (on any recent run), and hotter than I have (forgot to bring water!) I remembered that If I want to see a change, I have to be a change myself. I need to push, through pain, and through the barriers I have set for myself and just run…I do not have to win, I just have to finish, and today, I feel like I finished!

Me without my running shoes, ready to jump in a cold shower after my run!
Me without my running shoes, ready to jump in a cold shower after my run!