“My name is Dannie Kohan.
And I believe in living by numbers.”
— Rebecca Serle, “In Five Years”
That’s the problem with running. So many numbers.
I’m in lane six. I’m thinking it’s about 438 meters for one loop, give or take a meter. Which is troublesome, because I have no idea what a meter is. And then there are also two women in lane six, which leads me to lane seven, except there are only six lanes. And I’m in zone two, which wants me to stay below 111 and 127 bpm.
My pace is sub-14, which is a first so I’m pushing too much, which leads me into zone 3 and my watch into a temper tantrum. 160 strides per minute. 0.74 stride length. 40 vo2 max. $5,000 max out of pocket. WHY DO I CARE ABOUT ALL THESE NUMBERS WHEN I’M BASICALLY A TURTLE? WHY WOULD TURTLES BE INSULTED BY THIS COMPARISON?
The run is exactly 4.31 miles in 60 minutes, which is coincidentally the length of tonight’s “Fresh Air” episode on KJZZ 91.5, but I forgot my headphones so I’m left to do math in my head. How many miles will I get with an hour of 13:58? How many hours is a 24-hour race? Exactly how many years were covered in the book “In Five Years”?
I think the Garmin is totally fooled by the track, recording the run as faster than it really is. That’s OK. I could use the help. How many meters does the Garmin misjudge because of tangents? Is a modest little dirt track with flour lanes meters or feet? Which makes me want to listen to Little Feat with the Frisbee Brothers. Or Steely Dan. Except I forgot my headphones. I might have mentioned that. We’ll never know if Rikki did lose that number.
The lights are on because The Rugby Boys are on the field tonight. Rugby Boys are large. If they at any point decide they want lane six, they are welcome to it. I watch them every Thursday and I still have no idea what the point of rugby is. But then I watch the war a lot, and I am clueless about the point of that as well.
Some strollers, one fast guy in lane one, a little girl who keeps running across the track in an effort to take me down. She will make a fine rugby player one day.
An hour seems to be just right. Sixty minutes of solitude, long enough to purge the soul but short enough not to be too intimidating. Except for maybe the Rugby Boys. This could work.
Maybe numbers are OK, even if I’m not sure I believe in living by them.
I hope I’m still around in five years.
I hope the world is, too.