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The Zombies Don’t Care About Your Numbers

zombiesApps that track your daily nutritional intake down to the very calorie. Scales that spit out your weight to the tenth of a pound, plus your body fat and BMI. The running app that generates your exact pace and distance covered, then speaks it to you every five minutes. Every day you strive to be faster, stronger, and fitter than the day before.

And when the zombie apocalypse beings, none of your numbers will matter.

You don’t need to be faster, stronger, or fitter than your calorie-tracking app or those size 6 jeans. You just need to be faster, stronger, and fitter than the zombies. Well actually… you just need to be faster, stronger, and fitter than everyone else running for their lives.

I wasn’t sure if I was truly ready for the zombie apocalypse. I’m too numbers driven. As someone who likes pushing myself simply for the thrill of the challenge, I’m extremely competitive with myself. Not so much with the numbers on the scale (I don’t have one), but with pretty much everything else.

I bump up the Stairmaster another level higher than last week. I squeeze in one more squat or push-up in these 30 seconds than I did in the set before. When I’m not looking at some sort of iPhone or cardio machine screen, I am counting watching the clock or counting my reps. If my running pace slows down 10 seconds this week, I’m discouraged.

How I got my act together to prepare for the zombie apocalypse

I don’t like being so driven by numbers. It would do me no good in a life or undead situation. I decided to take a stand against myself to guarantee my survival.

When I got my things together for the Men’s Health Urbanathalon last Saturday, I decided I would leave my watch at home and my iPhone in my gear check-in bag. I was going to run an 11-mile obstacle course completely gadget and number free and just go with it.

So off I went at the starting line, unaware of how fast or slow I was going. The course wasn’t marked well, so I didn’t even know what distance I had covered. I just ran.

Since I wasn’t aiming for a certain mileage pace, I actually stopped at the hydration stations instead of trying to simultaneously drink/shuffle through (which as you runners know, ultimately leads in spilling Gatorade all over ones face and also choking on the three drops that actually make it into your mouth.)

Along the way, I listened to people’s conversations around me. I reveled in the Chicago landscape. I reflected on life. I got bored and daydreamed a bit, then came up with the idea for this blog post. I tackled the obstacles as they presented themselves and tried my hardest to resist the temptation to cheat.

My legs were shaking after four rounds up and down the Solider Field stairs, but I was still able to hoist myself unassisted over the 6-foot barriers immediately after.

I noticed I was passing people from earlier waves. I was passing a bunch of people actually, because I wasn’t feeling that tired. I finished with a little help over the last wall, with no idea what my time was, thus no number to compare myself to other contestants.

It was exhilarating. I felt fast, strong, and fit, and I didn’t need a number to prove it.

Now I can say that I am ready for you zombies. And sorry I’m not sorry, my fellow man who has not been logging the hours as I have been. I don’t need the numbers to prove to you I am fast, I am strong, and I am fit. You will see for yourself when the time comes.

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Betsy Mikel | betsymikel.com

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