There is something about the world of endurance sports that loves to measure things. We love numbers. Love, love, love numbers. We sometimes call them “metrics” and use fancy names for heart rates (are you working in Zone 2 or Zone 3?) along with numbers from power meters and Garmins and VO2Max rates. We love to talk about the right carbohydrate to protein to fat ratio and things like our basal metabolic rate.
This is the great dichotomy for myself — I am a creative type in a rational world. Feeling I understand. Reason and rationality, not so much.
From this line of thinking came my pondering about a very important metric. Cake.
See, for my birthday last weekend I was blessed with two birthday cakes. The first was a chocolate andstrawberry cake (thank you mom!) while the second was cleverly hidden away in the back of the Subaru as a surprise dessert after the Fly By Night Duathlon (thank you Mark and Mark’s mom!)
And so if I was to measure how cared for I am around my birthday, well, two cakes seems like a pretty darn good metric.
Warning: Long bike ride season has begun and since safety and sanity keep me from listening to tunes on the road, I have nothing but time to ponder things that really matter. Like cake.
Ah, cake. It was calling me after my two hour bike ride today. And my thoughts of cake and training reminded me of a certain encouraging email I received a few years ago from Colleen Cannon. I know Colleen from attending two of her camps through Women’s Quest and while training for my first triathlon, emailed her after a particularly bad day in the pool.
“What do you do when you have a bad training day?” I wrote her.
“I never have a bad training day,” she wrote “because there is always cake.”
I laughed out loud.
Frankly, I still giggle when I think about it. I giggle not because it’s funny, but because of the wisdom in its simplicity.
Back to metrics.
While I’m not a “numbers” person I do like to follow directions and please the powers that be (whomever the powers that be in the particular situation may be). I like to do what I’m supposed to do. I like to get better. And in this world of endurance sport, getting better often is equated with getting faster.
But that’s just one definition.
Getting better can also mean continuing to challenge myself. It can mean the quality of how a run or a bike or swim feels. It can mean being mentally strong enough to push through a tough workout. It can mean being emotionally strong enough to forget the times and focus on effort, knowing that the benefit is still there, that each push, regardless of the metric measurement, is making you faster, stronger, better.
There are endless ways to measure getting better.
And then, there’s always cake.