It’s the number of times you run at the beginning because you said you were going to do this thing.
It’s the number of times going up and down the same stretch of access road you think you’re never going to see the other end of.
It’s the number of times a volunteer Coach tells you “You’re A Runner!” and you half-heartedly repeat after them “I’m a runner” whether it feels true or not.
It’s the number on the time clock when you cross your First Finish Line Running, not walking.
It’s the number of layers you pile on – and pull off because who knew you got THAT hot when it’s THAT cold out – running on cold winter evenings. In the dark.
It’s the number of times you get to That Mile Marker on the trail until the one day you get to it realizing that you’re thinking “Already?!” instead of “Who freakin’ moved it?!?!”
It’s the number of times Hollaback Gurrrrl comes on your playlist at Just The Right Moment to keep you going when some part of your brain is thinking “We really don’t have to do this you know…” Thank you Gwen Stefani!
It’s the number of walkers you pass thinking “Yes, we really are racing and I just totally lapped you!”
It’s hours sitting with ice packs and rolling various parts of your body on foam rollers and with your newly acquired little blue handball.
It’s the (arguably more enjoyable) hours spent soaking in the tub with Epsom Salts.
It’s the miles run in The Sweet Spot when everything – and I mean everything – is Absolute Perfection. The birds sing sweeter, the skies are bluer, your legs move effortlessly, your feet barely touch the ground, and your lungs are just made of air itself.
It’s the Epic Superman Sprawl First Fall. That you survive. And finish the run it came in the middle of. And get to show off the Battle Scars.
It’s the absolutely craptastic day at work that suddenly no longer matters when you realize you really did feel like putting in those miles.
It’s the number of runs (and miles) you missed, truly missed, running while rehabbing an injury. And the race you had to pull out of before you even started it.
It’s the runs that suuuuuuuuuccckkkk….kkk…kkkk…K!
It’s the runs that go from Sweet Spot to suuuuuuuuuccckkkk….kkk…kkkk…K in less time than it takes Usain Bolt to win a medal.
It’s the other runners you pass along the trail who pass you again later and then you see each other over and over and over again because you’re both out there again and again.
And it’s the runs like tonight when it wasn’t perfect but it didn’t suck and at the end of the run you just feel good and you’re glad you ran.
That’s when the numbers add up and you know they’re going to keep on adding. Right up to 13.1 and crossing That Finish Line!