Monday, March 11, 2013

Math does not lie

Last February I was eMailing with a buddy about a race I came in last in.  I wasn't embarrassed that I was last,  or even upset, I finished what I started see: ""Start as you mean to go on".  I was actually embarrassed to hold up the awards ceremony!  I mean really, the folks that came in first had to wait around nearly an hour before yours truly crossed the finish line!! He and my father pointed out that the race results clearly showed three people only finished one lap of the two lap race, so I wasn't last, huh.  I remember crossing that finish line and knowing I was the last person out of those woods and even when I said, I'm last, I heard oh you aren't last.  I assured them I was.  My buddy, being the engineer he is, pulled up the race results and did a statistical analysis on them.  I love engineers.  He replied with this:

 “Congratulations on the race.  Great job!  I took the results and ran them though a statistical analysis.  Your time was only 2.35 standard deviations below the average.  In statistical speak anything within +/-3 std deviations is considered “normal”.  So you were absolutely in the same class as the rest of the runners – math does not lie.” 

Holy cow Math does not lie!  What a genius!

 That phrase “Math does not lie.”  Runs through my head when I’m racing/running.   Because I have not become smart enough to figure the splits to meet my goal ahead of time and write them on the back of my bib to peek at during the race. I have to do the math in my head.  Which, in retrospect, probably isn't a bad thing because I suck at doing math in my head.  Ask my hubb who nearly goes crazy when I’m trying to figure out a 15% tip.   He looks at my puzzled face and says, "Hon, you are a numbers person why is this so difficult?"  I freeze, I panic, I have no idea.  Finally, after years of this dance, he said move the decimal point over two places, remember that number and then cut that number in half and add the two numbers.  Holy cow, that is 15%.  What a genius!

For my first Marathon our team coach gave us some tips and tricks for when the going gets tough.  Count backwards from 100, the amount of concentration you have to have is amazing and you forget that your body hurts you forget that you are tired you are just trying to remember 99, 98, 98, 90, oh wait I messed up 100, 99,98,97,96, 95, 94, 93, 92, 91 wow I’m on a roll, oh I like that shirt, wow bright shiny object.  Oh shit what number was I on?  Hey wait aren't there dunkin donut holes coming up at mile 24, what mile is this 15, hmmm how long will it be till I get to mile 24, lets see 24 minus 15 is 10, no wait it is 9.  My pace is 10:45 so crap that is a lot of math to do.  Let’s round up to 11 and hmmm.  Before I knew it a mile or two have gone by and I was feeling like running.  What a genius!

I love those “What a genius!” moment, someone making something easier or maybe just a little less painful.

And that is what I thought about on my 'recovery run' this morning,  Despite the sharp stabbing pain in my left hip I went out, figured maybe 3 miles at most, just down to the beach and back.  After dropping my badge at the guard shack and chatting with the guard, he commented the St. Pat 5K shirt was a cool shirt. I headed out with a right hand turn, bag the beach, let's explore a bit and try a new route.  50 minutes and 4.4 miles later I was back at the guard shack retrieving my badge feeling refreshed and sans hip pain.  

Beth, thankful for all the geniuses in her life


  1. This post is awesome! I laughed out loud because math is not my strong point. And I mean simple math. Two years in a row, I made reservations for my birthday. Both years, I gave them the wrong count, because I counted wrong. Let me be clear, this was not a big party, under 20 people both years!

    Anyway, great recovery run! I had a short 2 mile run today with a friend at a super slow pace. It was nice after pushing myself so hard yesterday.

    1. Thanks!! Double thanks for the ups on FB!! Oh I freeze when I do math in my head, and seriously it distracts me enough to get through a tough mile or two!! B

  2. Running While Mommy sent me. Loved your blog on Math. I will be back again. Thanks for the laugh. I quote, "Run Strong, Think Big".

  3. Running While Mommy sent me, too. I signed up to receive your blog posts regularly.

    Another Rhode Island runner.

    Connie C.
    North Providence