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Numbers are just numbers

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Numbers….

When did they become an obsession??

When I started racing professionally in 2009, I was managing training with work and every day life. I just turned up to training, did the session, and left. The only time I ever really got frustrated was if I got caught up at work and couldn’t get in my afternoon session….especially if it was one of my favourite ones! Numbers then didn’t really matter. Sure I had targets, but that’s all they were. I hadn’t attached any meaning to those targets….I didn’t have time to. And I also didn’t really care. I had just turned pro to make a bit of extra money if I could while I pulled in my income from a 9-5 job.

But as time has gone on, and my circumstances have changed, those numbers have started to take over and trick me to believe they have some meaning. Run paces, track times, swim times, bike speeds…. thank god I don’t use a power meter or else I could add that one to the list as well!

And it goes deeper…. my mind has been doing this to me for years in other ways.

As a female (and I know some males) I know at times we can struggle with the number on the scales or the size of clothes we wear, and our silly minds start attaching a meaning to those numbers. Add that to all of the swim/bike/run numbers going around in my head with their associated ridiculous meanings at times and I wonder how sometimes I can function at all!! Now, the next thing is that if you do this often enough, we start forming beliefs based on something that our own minds have made up. These beliefs are not made from true facts…they are formed from MADE UP facts. FALSE facts.

I had this epiphany during a ride here in the mountains on Tennessee last week. And it was interesting because it happened as I was over thinking and dreading the ride I had to do the following day…my mind was already hatching meanings for the pace, feelings, or outcome of the ride that was to come. When only a few years ago I was chomping at the bit to do one of these rides….I didn’t care if I got dropped by the boys or if I had a crappy day….I would give it to myself with whatever I had on the day….then walk away.

Needless to say, I have let numbers mean too much. It is not the fact that I am now I full time athlete and I need a part time job to keep my mind occupied. This process started well before triathlon came into my life….and it’s about time it stopped. Its time to look at the numbers, write them down, repeat them to yourself, and see that they are just that…NUMBERS. They have no meaning…other than of course the obvious facts that they are. 40km/hr on a bike is simply 40km/hr. 3min around a track is 3min. 130lbs on a scale is 130lbs. That’s it.

If I write the numbers down, put them in my pocket and keep going about my day, I notice that those numbers float in and out of my head all day. But most of all I realise that they have not stopped me doing anything during the day that I set out to do…because they are just a number.

Recognise numbers for what they are…just numbers…and you shall be free!