Success By Numbers

One of my many illnesses is defining my life’s success by numbers.  Do I have an amazing wife, son, dog, home, and overall quality of living?  Absolutely. Do I have my health?  I’m lucky to say that for now, I do.  Those alone should qualify as success.

Yet in this world, that’s not enough.  Success comes with achieving bigger and bigger goals.  And to do that, you have to strive to be better.  And I have wanted to be better as long as I could remember.  I don’t know where it came from.  This sort of competition (mostly with myself, but often in the context of others) was not drilled into me by my parents.

Making better a measurable thing is addicting. Never mind becoming a better person – how can you quantify that???  Really the questions should be: how many goals have you scored this season? What’s your GPA?  What’s your SAT score?  How many times in a row can you make a free throw?  What’s your net worth?

At the ripe age of 36, I think I’m finally getting it and broadening my horizons…  Not everything I work on today is to improve some number.  But old habits die hard….

One of my number addictions relates to running.  I don’t run to be in shape.  I run to get faster.  There are great benefits to running like improved mental and physical health, but honestly, that’s secondary.  I run to win.

After a 5 month break from running, today I begin my renewed focus on getting better. The Kaiser Half Marathon, held on February 2, 2014 is what I have set my sights on. In the 2013 race, I ran my best time ever – a 1:23:30.  That’s 6:22 per mile for 13.11 miles.  I would have never thought that was possible even a year before.

For the upcoming race, I want to break 1:20:00.  For some reason, that number is important to me.  Do I get a prize for doing it?  Nope.  Is it important enough to get up during darkness, six or seven days a week, every week for 5 months, and go running?  Strangely, it is.

Why do I do this?