Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Meaning of numbers

The kids and I drove up to PA for a quick MLK weekend visit to my folks. I did the 315 mile drive after my 16-mile run and was fading. I knew I was tired because I glanced at the clock in the minivan and saw 6:37, which registered immediately and clearly as a mile split (an aggressive one for me) and only after that, as an actual time of day. We had a nice drive, regularly calculating the percentage we'd covered along the way (they are math-heads too).

playtime at the pool in PA
Do you notice certain numbers having meaning to you now that you swim/bike/run?

I definitely do. I'm not sure I had much of a concept of time or distance prior to the sport. I can now reference distance relative to things like 25y (length of the pool), 100m (strides), 400m (one lap of the track), 750 m, one mile.....marathon.

My time standards include everything from 20s (max effort intervals on bike) to 3:38 (marathon time). When we considered going to see the Hobbit, three-hour movie, the Hobbit, I compared that to running a marathon, and thought "yeah, maybe I can sit for three hours." We ended up not going; we'll wait for the DVD!

I don't need a metronome to know what 90 __ per minute is (my average run cadence) or 68 __ per minute (my average arm turnover on the swim). I know precisely what 8 mph feels like - a solid run speed or killer steep uphill on the bike. I also know the sensation and sound of 35, 40 mph on the bike!

Ah, no wonder this sport attracts "arithmophelias."

And yes, sigh, it IS highly ironic that I still struggle to count laps at the pool.