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Double Digit

July 12, 2010
This story was originally published on Saturday, July 3, 2010 in
the3six5 project, 365 days, 365 points of view.

I ran ten miles today. I ran away from my laptop and laundry, dodging demands for chocolate milk security; now I brag. I am a showoff and a rebel; but more important, I am now an ‘Intermediate’ on the Nike training chart, no longer a ‘Novice’. Novices will only run ten miles next Saturday.

Ten has a big ego. In hexadecimal, ten is where the numbers end and the letters begin. Binary ten is where freedom breaks ground, where possibilities become infinite. “Double-digit unemployment seen in region,” headlines yelled, “Dow Jones fails to keep above 10,000.” Faith is instructing Jews to give ten percent of our income to charity. Indeed, a ten-percent tip was what a small-breasted waitress could expect at the ice cream parlor in Haifa, when I was in college.

“Don’t worry about GU,” Coach Jenni prescribed, “until you run ten miles.” The newsletter bullied: “Be the best athlete you can be!” Fear made me invest in awesome glow-in-the-dark gadgets. I bought a heart rate monitor with a replaceable battery feature. I got fuel belts in Large and Medium, because long runs would make me thinner.

I went on my first ten-miler mission in the summer of 2008. I velcroed a fuel belt on my waist, filled one bottle with water, one with orange Gatorade. I stuffed SHOT Bloks into my bra, calibrated my heart rate monitor, shuffled my playlist. My double-digit time had come. The first nine miles went uneventful. A mile before home — I peed in my pants.

I do not carry a fuel belt anymore and I only wear dark black shorts now. I stopped using my heart rate monitor when the battery ran out. I do not run with a watch. Instead, on race day, I tag along a couple of run buddies who run my pace. One of them would likely have a GPS watch and announce the stats every few minutes. Their time is my time.

I am an ‘Intermediate’ now. I am in the double-digit zone and I say stuff like ‘tempo’, and ‘finish strong’, and ‘can’t do GU’. Twenty-ten, bring it on!

Art: Double Digit © 2010 Nurit Pazner. All rights reserved.

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