Since joining Team Lean last month for their 10-week fitness challenge, Thursdays have become all about the numbers. As the official weigh-in day, it has proved to be both a day that I look forward to and dread almost equally. I look forward to it because so far, I’ve lost every week; I dread it because the naysayer in me tells me that this will be the week I don’t. But as necessary as it may be for this community challenge, I don’t want my focus to be on that number. I’d much rather it be on a blood pressure reading that remains low for my age, or the number of runs I’m able to get in during the week, or my daily glasses of water.

This morning, I discovered one more new number as I was creating a calendar for a journal entry in my Move More Eat Well class. Curious to know exactly how far I’d gone (literally!) since starting Couch to 5K on January 16, I added up the distances I’ve run and discovered that in the 36 days that have passed, I have logged 44 miles. Forty-four. This roughly equates to running

a marathon…

plus a half-marathon…

 plus a 5K!

Or, for those who are local and know my neck of the woods, it’s also about the same as running from my house in Cotton to Thomasville and then halfway back again!

I’m incredibly proud of that number. In addition to representing a physical distance traveled on my own two feet, it also represents time that I’ve deliberately chosen to spend on myself, away from my computer and the million things that would distract me from my goals. I like visualizing the miles end to end because it helps me to realize that I’m on a journey: the scenery and my circumstances are unique each day and all I have to do is choose to participate in it.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12: 1-2

This verse holds new meaning for me now that I’ve begun running. So many times I catch myself looking down at my feet, plodding along at my s-l-o-w pace, focusing on breathing and my gait rather than where I’m going. It never fails that when I pick my head up, pick a point in the distance and focus on it instead, that my  spirits rise and I feel empowered. It really is a wonderful metaphor for the Christian experience. That when we fix our eyes on Jesus, he will give us strength.

I didn’t run today. As much as I’m enjoying it, I’m trying to take the advice of seasoned runners who say that it’s better to take a day off between runs to let your body heal and adjust. I’m still carrying around a massive amount of extra weight and the last thing I need is to get hurt and take myself out of the game completely. I did some kettlebell intervals instead and will look forward to adding a few more miles to my total tomorrow.