13.1 MILES AND COUNTING —
i’m not great with numbers.
you’re probably not surprised by that considering my profession, and the name of this newsletter - although too calculatedly does have an enticing mystique to it.
i’m not great with numbers because i’ve associated them with failure for as long as i can remember. sure, numbers reminded me that i belonged exactly in the not-accelerated just-average math class, and taunted me over the reality that i would probably never get into an ivy league. but, most hauntingly, numbers picked on my weight. growing up, i weight too much for someone my age and height was a common and unfair refrain in my head, echoed by my doctor, my family and my scale.
so, at an early age i began having a somewhat toxic relationship between me and numbers. when i eventually began exercising and eating right, my life revolved around the hope that i was running just that much farther from last week’s number. i felt empowered when i saw how my slow yet steady hard work was paying off on the scale. i felt heartbroken when nothing changed. by 2018, and minus 50 pounds later, i finally reclaimed my relationship with numbers by squashing them out of my life.
i felt this way until last week. because last week i ran a half marathon. that’s 13.1 miles (even though my apple watch counted 13.36, ahem, sf marathon organizers).
i could tell you about how the distance meant a lot to me because i was the same girl who skipped gym class on timed mile days. i could also tell you how i can thank my boyfriend for inspiring my entire training journey, from first run to the final mile. i could even explain how somewhere between training to go from a 10k to 15k, i began valuing how therapeutic this stupid sport can be.
however, instead i want to tell you about my first thought when i crossed the finish line: 13.1. when i finished the race, i realized that my obsession with numbers finally was going somewhere healthy. numbers were officially a milestone to hit, instead of a reality to escape. and, as simple as it sounds, it was a stark difference compared to how i felt even two years ago when numbers wanted me to take up less space. today, the bigger the better.
this realization was a quiet part of my training. looking back, it’s clear that mile by mile i’ve been unwinding from my unfair associations with mathematical objects. i recently stopped weighing myself as a way to measure success, and now that i’m not sore anymore, i’ve already started thinking about how the hell i’m going to get to 26.2.
i’m still not great with numbers, but i’m getting better. i’m learning to add. this is what reclaiming feels like.