Monday, May 30, 2011

Fourteen Times Three Makes One Marathon

I have a thing for numbers.  And patterns.  And patterns of numbers.  Which is very handy considering the diabetes diagnosis I was handed 8 1/2 years ago. If there was ever someone who was well suited to their diagnosis - it's me.  My mother and I actually laughed about that as I sat in Intensive Care that first day.  I count everything, see patterns everywhere and like structure.  Hello diabetes management!

Anyway, today's musings aren't about diabetes, they're about numbers.

I'm fond of even numbers and have a particular fondness for the number 4.  Eight and two are pretty good too. Six is fine but it's not very pretty and just doesn't do much for me.

Odd numbers are appealing in a completely different way - I like to manipulate them (add, subtract etc) to turn them into even numbers. 

When I run, it's all about the numbers.

More importantly, it's about finding the right way to look at the numbers in order to reach a balance that is neither too easy nor too overwhelming.  For some people, running is 90% mental.  For me, it's 90% numbers.

For example, when I run a half marathon, I never run 21 kilometres.  I run 3 kilometres seven times. 

Around the Bay was 3 kilometres ten times. 

Sixteen kilometres is a favourite distance of mine because it's 4x4 (wicked!).

The other important thing I do when I'm running is I count up and then down.  In other words, for a half marathon, I have seven sets of 3K to do.  I count up (1 set, 2 sets, 3 sets, 4 sets) and then, once over the half way hump, I change it to 3 sets to go, two sets, one set, done!

It's mind over matter folks and, for long runs, I'll use any trick I can to keep myself in the right frame of mind.

This summer, the new magic number I have to work with is 42.2 kilometres.  I am trying to figure out how to break it down into manageable chunks.   

Right now, I'm leaning towards the idea that, on October 23rd, I'll be running two half marathons.  That's 7 sets of 3K - twice.  Count up for the first seven and then down for the last seven. 

I've run 3K. I've run half marathons. Nothing new there.  This time, once I get to the half marathon finish line, I have to turn around and do it all over again.

What's the big deal?


  1. Me too!! But not so much on race day- more on speed workouts or hills. When we have 10 we have 5 and then 5 more. I count up for the first 5 and down for the second. Yeah us and our crazy brains making it all ok to keep running!

  2. Wow, I really love this!
    I love it because you are weirder than ME! I dislike odd numbers and I especially dislike prime numbers. I'm an even numbered girl all the way. 6 is my favourite number and when I climb the stairs, no matter what I'm feeling I can't leave unless I've climbed an even number of times.

    I REALLY love your theory of 3's though especially when it comes to Marathon time!