The Scale

I've stopped obsessing over the scale, which is a good thing. However, there is something truly animalistic that comes out in me when I go on these long runs (today it was 8. Yes, 8. 8 miles. 8 miles straight. An hour and a half of running.) And today I got to thinking (I had a lot of time on my hands...)

I always rate how hard I'm working by how badly I want to die at the end and how riddled with expletives my inner monologue becomes. I decided during this morning's run on a name for this scale and the only thing I could think of was the Fujita scale and that's already taken. So I took the only other name that I'm sure the scientists who named the Fujita scale would have taken had it been even remotely appropriate and that is, the "F* Me Scale". Because if you thought about it in a tornado situation, and you were faced with one that was headed straight toward your neighbor's house, you'd be thinking (and don't lie, you totally would), "F* me! That's gonna hit Helga's house!" And your voice would be just a few decibles smaller than if it were going toward, say, your house. In which the exclamation would be at the top-of-your-lungs decibel (10 on the "F* me scale") while you're yelling "F* me! That's coming for US! RUUUUNNNNN!)

So in my own f* me scale, I rate my runs by how badly I want to die at the end as mentioned, and it goes from zero (not at all) to 10 (I want to f*ing die).

While running all these other runs whilst training for the half-marathon, I've been maybe at a 4 at the end mostly. I don't really want to die, I'm not in misery, but things hurt a little but in a good way. 8 miles was different. 8 miles was a strong 8. By the very end, my chest was fine but my legs were like two cement stumps plopping up and down the sidewalk. Thump. Thump. Thump. It took actual effort to pick each leg up and put it back down on the pavement. I was thinking, "F* me, look at this, my legs stopped working. How interesting." Almost as an afterthought. Although earlier in the run, there was a time where I thought I was definitely going to stop breathing, and at that point I was definitely near a 10. When you can't even think the words "F* me," you're at a 10. In case you were wondering.

Don't get me wrong though, this isn't whining. This is science. (My own science.) I'm watching my body do stuff it hasn't before and I'm watching what it does in response. It's running 8 miles. It's almost collapsing at the end, but still, there is 8 miles happening, and next week it'll be 9. And it still scares the crap out of me and actually I'm little faster than a tortoise, really, (my husband confirmed this when he said something to the effect of it not being that much work when he runs with me -- which he insists means just that his stride is longer than mine because of my short legs and his long ones, but let's face it, it just depends on which cup you're looking at. He totally means, "you are a total slowpoke", but he will deny that till he dies I'm sure.)

But running 6 miles or 7 miles or 8 miles is ok if I'm playing games in my head with it all. When we're headed out, we talk and chit-chat and I don't think about the mileage ahead. When the topics start to run out, we make fun of people going by. When the breathing hard starts, I go blank in my head and try just to survive. That's usually about halfway through when I devour my chocolate-flavored Power Bar gel and get a little pick-me-up. Then I think about things like the "F* me scale" or blog post topics or how to redecorate my house. Then by the end, we're saying, "It's only one more mile..." and then we just keep going and it's fine. The best and worst part is probably the drive over to our starting line where I'm having a little inner panic about how far we're about to run and my husband says something brilliant like, "Honey, really. It's no big deal. It's easy. You just put one foot in front of the other. For a while... until you're done." So wise.
Bookmark and Share


  1. Wow, 8 miles! I'm very impressed. I aspire to run myself, but that's still a ways away!

    Congrats on your continued success training for your 1/2 marathon.

  2. YAY! 8 miles!!!! Hercules, Hercules!!

  3. Husbands are great for finding the "right" words, aren't they? My husband is my sometimes running partner (used to be my all the time running partner - before kids!).

    Congrats on your long runs - they do get easier. I tend to dedicate each half mile to someone special - it keeps my mind focused.


Talk to me, Goose!

I love comments. Who doesn't love a good comment?