8/7/13

Basic Math . . .

I was horrible at math in school. I still am. It is not that I'm a stupid person (I'm in the 30th percentile for average intelligence among people in my demographic profile, approximated - of course) but I do not have a brain for numbers. It is true, ask my checking account balance (frowny face) BUT I learned three things in math that have served the "runner" in me well all these many weeks . . . addition, averages, and percentages.

Let me clarify . . . addition. We are ADDING miles every week for the GoRun Wichita Start2Finish training program. Not necessarily every run but each WEEK. It has been subtle and slow but this week (week nine) I'll run 29 miles. I did 6.5 miles in week one. The "long" run each week (on Saturdays, in a group setting) have generally gotten longer by about a mile a week, too (we have 10 on my schedule for this week). The fact that I can keep adding miles every week and yet the amount of time I am dedicating to running is important to me. Why? Averages.

Averages are important because that is where you find your pace. I run about a 13:00 mile (stop laughing, I weigh 300 pounds and have run for exactly nine weeks of my entire life) over the average of my 220 miles run. Some runs are better (I've nearly broken 12:00 a few times) and some are worse (I've barely avoided 15:00 a few times) and that is okay. BOTH those paces are respectable, for the record, and the key on Sunday, 10/13 will simply be to FINISH. But if I know my average time, I can make a plan. If I ran the half today - at current pace - it would take me 169 minutes (2 hours and 49 minutes) so I will start at about 7:30 AM and will wrap up just before 10:30 AM. BUT because I track my averages I know that I'm inching closer to 12:30/mile with each run. If I can shave just :30 off each mile, I save 7 minutes from my race time. What does seven minutes matter? A lot. I still sorta' hate how running feels in the moment. Every second I DO NOT have to do it makes me happy. But I'm hating the act of running less and less all the time. Why does THAT matter? Percentages.

My final math lesson that is relevant here . . . I'll wake up at 4:15 AM on Saturday morning, brush my teeth and do some prep stuff and head out for my run. I hope to be "sneakers up" (as I like to call it) by 5:00 AM for what will be a TEN MILE run. At 13:00/mile that means I'll stop running at 7:13 AM CT. Ten miles sounds CRAZY in a vacuum but I'm not running in a vacuum. I'm running on a calendar. Truth is I am adding just 11% to my previous "longest run" to get from nine to ten. Next week we'll go 11, 10% more than this week. From 11 to 12 is just 9% and from 12 to 13 is just 8% more. Why am I tell you this? The long run difference in weeks one to two was just .5 miles but it added 20% to my run. I survived. I've added more and more miles but less and less percentage. If I can do "this" - I can do "that."

If you take addition, averages, and percentages and you shake them around my math abhorrent brain it all sums up to one thing . . . I'm going to be just fine on Sunday, October 13th because the numbers are on my side. They combine to give me confidence. They add up to success.

Happy running, fools.