Monday, April 21, 2014


About 7 years ago I had a client who had a tattoo on her calf of the number 6.2. When I found out it meant 6.2 miles, I was instantly impressed. I figured if I could ever run that far, I would definitely get a tattoo like that.
6.2 is also, weirdly, the hazardous waste
designation for infectious diseases

Yeah, I haven't done that. But I think about that ink a lot. I think about how specific it was to a distance that isn't very popular in running. I wonder if it was the farthest she'd ever run, or if it was a meaningful race for her, or it just marked a time in her life when 6.2 miles was important.

I remember how reverently I would treat her entire leg- knowing that the mark of so many miles was there. 6 miles seemed like a distance that no one would ever really, sanely, tackle. I remember how I thought she must be so dedicated to running to have ever gone that far. She must have, like, bought shoes just for running.

And as I trained for the marathon 5 years later I often thought about doing the tattoo thing for the 26.2 mile accomplishment. But then I would think of the 6.2 and realize that, as soon as you ink a distance, you're defining that as a big moment.... but what if that changes, and you realize (as I did later) that 6.2 can be just a half of a training run- not a really big deal- and you have dozens of big moments afterward, and just not enough skin to fill up with numbers?

Perspective is crazy in running. I say that partly fueled by this morning's Boston Marathon performance by the elite athletes, and partly because huffing through my 4 mile route today I had to work hard to remember when 4.0 felt easier.

But as of yet, no running tattoos.

1 comment:

Ali K. said...

I love your perspective on the specific number tattoo. It's why I chose a quote that related both to running and my whole life; in case I fall out of love with running, or have to quit.