Trails Through Time
What do you do to make yourself happy?
Runners, by nature, have a propensity to seek happiness in the measurement of things. ...
Illustration by Kevin Howdeshell
Runners, by nature, have a propensity to seek happiness in the measurement of things. In the beginning, you might say you ran to the end of a trail and back in about half an hour, and you're thrilled. As you train more, you might run four miles in 29:30, and you're happy to break 30 minutes. When you become more competitive, the measurements multiply. Now you run six miles in 36:06 at a 6:01 per-mile pace, you finished at 9:20 a.m., the temperature was 50 degrees and there was a slight headwind, but you don't think you'll be happy till you break 6:00.
And then you win a race and happiness seems within your grasp, but the course record is 38 seconds faster than you ran, so you train even harder.
Measuring gets obsessive now, because shaving every second counts. You study food labels for fat and calories, cholesterol and sodium, carbs and fiber, sugars and protein and vitamins A to zinc. You measure how much fluid you need to complete a required run, how much sleep you need, how much time you need to eat your meal before a race. You measure the effects of all your meals right down to bowel movements in preparation for race day.