Thursday, 8 October 2009

Just the Facts, Ma'am.

If it's 1 PM, Monday through Friday, chances are pretty good I've just returned from my company gym. The hour or so at lunch is one of the few times I am able to set aside and do nothing productive, so I usually go for some exercise, which does little to advance shareholder value, increase the GDP, slow global warming, or put an end to the John-Kate feud. But it does make me feel a bit better, and I guess that has some value.

Today I ran my customary 10 kilometres (around 6.2 miles), completed in 43 minutes and 53 seconds. None of those numbers is particularly remarkable, but I did today cross the 11,000 mile marker. Yes; I keep pretty close track of data - it's, as they say, in my nature. I'm a mathematician, and numbers heavily influence my world. In my life, numbers are a bit like a drop of red dye in the wash; as Homer Simpson discovered when Bart's red hat got in, that single drop tends to colour everything just a bit pink, and so it is with me and data.

As an aside, I took to running almost exactly 15 years ago, following the death of my father from cancer. Part of his grim prognosis was because he was not a candidate for surgery - his lung capacity precluded it, so I reckon, if I get sick, I want to increase my odds as much as possible. In those 15 years and two months, I've now covered 11,001 miles. I thought I would take a look at this milestone by the numbers.

11,001 miles in 182 months is about 725 miles per year.
That works out to about 60.5 miles per month, or 14 miles per week.

The most miles I ran in any one year (1998) was 1154. The most in any one month was 132, in May 1998.

In this current year, I've now covered 664 miles, and hope to reach 850 by year's end.

The earth is approximately 24,000 miles in diameter, so I am not 999 miles from the half-way point. Put another way, if I started at the North Pole, I would now be more than half-way through Chile on my way to the South Pole. Using current projections, I'll reach that point sometime in November 2010.

The best "pace" I've ever set was in March, 1998, when I covered 8 miles in 53 minutes and 13 seconds. Age is obviously slowing me down.

I've run the Bay to Breakers four times (an iconic "race" in San Francisco, California). I've seen, inter alia, naked people, people dressed up as chess pieces, various animals, centipedes, cultists, Democrats, Republicans, and people hauling beer kegs. Because of the staggered start (there are literally thousands of participants, some walking), I usually start after the "winner" is done. One year, I ended up sprinting the last 500 metres or so to pass a guy who pushed a barbeque (you read that right - a round, Weber kettle) the 12 kilos. I'll be damned if a cooking implement will beat me.

My best memory is looking at the Hale-Bopp comet in awe in the Winter of 97-98, thinking that it will not be back for more than a millennium.

I wear out two pairs of shoes per year, so that's 30 pairs of Nikes, New Balance, Asics gel, and Reeboks. I've never tried the froo-froo brands (Saucony, Etonic).

Countries I've jogged in include (in no particular order) Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, France, Germany, Austria, Ireland, and Germany.

All in all, I think, an interesting history for a guy who used to view running as a sort of punishment for mouthing off to the coach in junior high.
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