Platinum Star, Baby: Finding Motivation as a Numbers Geek

I’m a sucker for rewards. Positive feedback as motivation is what works for me. Perhaps it all goes back to Mrs. Zimcik, my piano teacher, who rewarded successful lessons with (be still my heart!!) horse and pony stickers. There was the occasional bird sticker, but the horses were best. I still have my lessons notebook, and I vividly remember picking out certain stickers.

Piano Lesson Notebook
One of the best part of piano lessons was picking a sticker to go on my completed lessons page. I still have my practice notebook, shown here.

Christine, my PT, gave me a silver (or as she called it, “platinum”) star yesterday at the end of my evaluation. I wore it proudly the rest of the day and came home to stick it into my running log.

I had some good numbers. My swelling had been at 1.3cm and 1.5cm the last two evaluations. Yesterday, it was 0.3cm. BAM!

Previously, I was able to balance for 28 seconds with my shoe on. Yesterday, she stopped me at 1:00 and I was barefoot. BAM!

I can’t really remember all the other numbers except that they were all better. My strength side-to-side has improved immensely but it has a ways to go (from 45 to about 80 in order to be running, and don’t ask me the units on that because I don’t know…percentage? Pounds of pressure? who knows?).

All of that was enough to put me over the moon. I’m a numbers geek, and the numbers are clearly getting better; there’s no doubt that I’m moving in the right direction. I was extremely proud and very ecstatic.

And then Christine said to me…”And if all goes well like it has been, and if you continue this progress, I’m going to cautiously say that we can start to add some running into the mix by the end of the month.”

Me, almost jibbering with excited disbelief and joy:  “You mean I get to run in here on the treadmill?”

Christine:  “No, I mean outside. At body weight.”


I can’t really describe how that felt, except that there was a huge shit-eating grin on my face, some tears I couldn’t really help and didn’t quite expect, and a bit of weird joyous non-word-type exclamations.

Two more weeks in the compression socks. Several new home exercises. Adding some impact work into the PT sessions. She warned me that we’d be pushing it to the edge of what I can do, that it would be hard and painful at times, and I only have one thing to say to that:


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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

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