Monday, September 21, 2015

The dangers of being a mathematician runner....

On Sunday, I ran the Air Force/Navy Half Marathon.  This is my 5th half, and by far my best.  I had a good training summer, even with a three week hiatus of Niki visitation. The weather was great, I felt great.  I forgot to eat breakfast, but Rob met me up at mile 8.5 with a vegan bar, which was AMAZING.

This year, for the first time, the race management didn't outright ban ipods and earphones.  In the past, they have, but everyone (at least in my part of the pack) disregarded that rule, because the worst thing that could happen is that you wouldn't be allowed to win.  Trust me, no one won in my part of the pack.  My part of the pack, winning is just FINISHING. 

This year, I was glad to see them rescind that ruling.  I mean, I'm a slow runner. I finished in record time, 2:59, but that's still HOURS of just listening to your feet pounding and your breath heaving.  I find I actually slow down when I start thinking too much, which I do without a distraction of an audio track.

Even with the audio, I can still let myself slip into a zone where I over think.  For instance, as I was coming up on mile 8, I passed my friend, Rune, running the other direction.  Rune ran the half, and is much faster than I. He was at mile 10 or so.  His partner, and my friend, Cari, had joked on the train ride in that he would finish the half about at the same pace that she walked the 5 mile race course. 

I got to thinking.  And when a mathematician gets to thinking, what we are really doing is writing and solving word problems.

If Rune does 13 miles in the same time that Cari does 5 miles, how much faster is he running? If I was still only at mile 8 when Rune and Cari finished, would Rune/my speed = My speed/Cari?  If I ran at a 10% increased speed, what would that mean?

By the time I was done calculating these out in my head, I noticed that my pace had dropped from 11:15 to 14:55 per mile.  Shoot. That is why I need my ipod.

Anyway, the RUNNING SEASON is now upon us.  If you are a runner, good races friends.  If you are not, watch out for runners on the road.  Especially those wearing ipods.

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