You are not a number


I figure y’all need a break from all things doggie.

I started writing this post before Bandit entered our lives, and I think it’s a very important post: it is easy to define ourselves by numbers, but we are so much more than any number associated with us.


It’s free Friday this week’s Friday Five  from Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run and I suppose it’s appropriate for a Friday Five post to revolve around numbers.

You can’t stop the march of time


You are as young as you feel.

It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.

We don’t stop running because we get old, we get old because we stop running.

All those quotes are true. I’m not saying things don’t change as we age — they do. We can choose how we react to those changes, but our age does not define us.

Finish Time
And speaking of things changing as we age . . . I’m lucky, I guess, in a way, that I started running when I was older. I haven’t yet hit the “wall” of age, that point when our finish times begin to decline.

In fact, Coach Debbie recently wrote an excellent post on that very subject: Running Against Time.

My finish times can be all over the place, though.

I actually do think finish times can be important, and there’s a blog post in there someday, but the most important thing is that you got out there and moved your body.

Someday, inevitably, my times will slow — which is always surprising to this turtle runner, but it’s true — we can age well, but we will still age. When that happens, I hope I do not let declining finish times define me.

The scale doesn’t reflect how well you ate. The scale doesn’t tell you how much muscle you put on or lost. The scale doesn’t tell you how consistent you were with your exercise. The scale doesn’t say just think about the sodium laden meal you consumed before stepping on me.

It’s a tool, but the number it spits out at you doesn’t mean you’re a good or bad person, a winner or a failure. It’s data, plain and simple.

Clothing Size
Don’t even get me started on vanity sizing.

I’m normally a small or about a size 6 in pants. But I have clothes that are XS and M, and all the way up to a size 10 — that fit me.

There is no holy grail clothing size to shoot for, because there is no standard sizing. Moving on.

Everyone likes a challenge, right? It seems like the more steps, the merrier. You know those nasty little things called stress fractures? Basically they happen when you overexercise. And you know what? You can overexercise with any exercise, not just running.

Yes, walking too much could lead to a stress fracture, too.

I’m not saying that it’s a bad idea to look at your steps, or even to shoot for more steps. But do it intelligently — don’t shoot for a certain number of steps because that’s what someone else is doing. Treat it like running: don’t increase too quickly; remember, slow and steady wins the race.

I’ll leave you with this very short video (yes, Tricia, Karen, and Paula — did it on the first try):

Let me know what you think in the comments:

What changing number are you okay with?

What changing number bothers you?

Do you find yourself defining yourself with numbers?

31 thoughts on “You are not a number

  1. Oh, my, what timing you have, dear Judy. I’m still struggling with whether I will continue with the walking half marathon training. The number. 13.1. I tell myself if I can run it I can walk it. It’s not so much the distance (pace is not a factor in this endeavor), but trying to fit in the time for the long run at the end of the week. Now that I am up to seven miles, it’s taking a chunk out of the little time I have at home.

    I am still struggling with whether to to back to running this fall. I miss it so, mostly not being an integral part of the running community but sitting on the side lines. I finally stopped struggling with that number, though. Two miles or 5K are now my goal. That one half marathon really took a lot out of me. Still, as the car sticker that was given to me by a beloved friend says, “13.1 wuz worth it.” We’ll see what comes, one day at a time.

    I so get you about the vanity sizing. I recently went into a store and told the sales woman I was looking for a simple black skirt, size 6 or 8. She looked at me in an assessing manner. “Size 2,” she said. I laughed. I don’t wear size 2. I tried on a number of skirts in 6 and 8, then 4. They fell off me. Sure enough. Size 2. Vanity sizing. I’d never heard the term, but it’s perfect.

    I tell myself to ignore the scale but after a lifetime of constant struggle, I have to check daily. I shouldn’t and it doesn’t matter, but I need it. Bleah.

    By the way, the video is nice and clear and it also brought me to tears. Lovingly said, what those number don’t tell you. Many thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Connie, there is definitely something to be said for just running for the sake of running — not pursuing a distance or time goal. I do it several times a year.

      It’s also ok to say I picked this goal, but it’s not making me happy, so let’s pick another. Walk a 5k (for speed maybe), or a 10k — more doable? Or just get out there and walk because it’s summer and summer is short!

      I go to WW because it keeps me accountability — that’s where I weigh in because I don’t own a scale.

      Which is not to say I don’t fret about these things myself, because of course sometimes I do. And I know I actually spend way too much time thinking about all of that, as most women do, so sometimes we just need a reminder there is more to life than numbers!


  2. Great thoughts on numbers and how they mess with us. I have to tell you that the one number that bothers me is my age. I don’t feel 53, I don’t look 53, I don’t act 53. I hate that people look at my age and automatically assume certain things about me. I refuse to let my age define me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My age doesn’t bother me. Not yet, anyway. If I colored my hair, I doubt people would think I look 54 either.

      Do I act that way? Maybe. In some ways Maybe not in others.

      But my age isn’t actually something I think about that much, until I look at that gray hair (coloring it just isn’t me, been there, done that) or I tweak something!


  3. We need a constant size chart in every store. Between normal numbers, then some stores using numbers in the 20s and 30s, what?! I just want something that fits, and I refuse to look at skinny jeans.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well said, my friend. Great video. I love that top, too!! The only numbers that worry me are the ones I deal with at work (research data). I should probably step on the scale and see where I am, though. I do wish clothing sizing was more consistent. It makes it so hard to shop.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Great dress 🙂 You are much better shopper than I am. I usually order things online because I hate going into the store. At least you go in and try things on.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree totally. I’m not one for numbers.

    I don’t have a battery in my scale but the number doesn’t matter anyway because your weight moves around hence the menipot. Don’t get me started on the sagging skin, chicken skin thighs, etc.

    I mentioned in my post Wed that I was 63. Many readers were shocked. I try not to look 63 (but it’s genetics and hair dye) and I don’t act 63. I am more active now than when I was 23.

    As far as running times, I read somewhere that it wasn’t age but the number of years you’ve been running before you slow down. Actually I think it was my coach that said that. After 10 years, your times start to slow down. So I guess I only have a few more years left to get those PRs. I don’t feel that I am slower but I do feel that my endurance is less. I used to be able to run longer without walking. Now I don’t even try because because it makes me slower in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do need my accountability of weighing in at my WW meeting once a week (and the motivation, and the inspiration). But I don’t own a scale.

      I know if I dyed my hair I wouldn’t look my age either, but been there, done that, not for me.

      I know about the time thing for slowing down, but I’m just going to ignore it. 🙂


  6. Well said Judy! And great job getting it on the first take!! ;D You obviously feel passionate about not being a number, and I agree… the number doesn’t tell you what kind of person you are on the inside! Lovely post! Have a super great weekend! Hopefully Bandit will mind his manners! ;D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bandit has actually been pretty good, now that we have a sort of routine going (other than the fact that he’s still not real comfortable with me being gone too long).

      We have a feeling he might be just fine with us (the humans), not so sure about the animals, and definitely not sure about any visitors.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love numbers and data. But I love them so much that I know that each on its own isn’t a big deal , it’s where it fits with all the numbers that counts! I agree that vanity sizing is a pain though. It’s awful if you shop somewhere new and you have to guess what size to ask for!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This post is so very true all the way around… for so many years back in my younger days, I really let that age # bother me a lot. Now I know it isn’t something to fear, with age comes wisdom. Great video!~

    Liked by 1 person

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