Running the Numbers

Running the Numbers

As I entered the spring of 2012 I knew my schedule wasn’t going to allow me to train for or travel to races this year, at least not during the summer.  So I made a decision early that this would be a fun summer.  This would be the year I could get back to the joy of my sports and not feel the pressures of meeting a training schedule.

What a relief.  At last I could take my time on my runs.  I could stop to rescue a turtle or pause to watch a deer and her twin fawns.  I could go back to pick up the baby bird in the road and set it safely in a hollowed stump.  Hell, I could sit on a rock and paint a picture in the sand if I wanted to…this was my ‘fun’ summer.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I still wasn’t ready to give-up my Garmin.  Even though I wasn’t worried about my mile splits or my average pace I still wanted to know just how much I was enjoying my runs as a reflection of my time.  Does that make sense?

Now I knew my numbers would be affected.  I knew that impromptu stops to smell the wild flowers were not conducive to speed records.  I fully expected my minutes per mile to rise like a slow boil in a pan of ramen noodles.  But what I didn’t expect was the exact number they rose to.

So just last year I could carry myself for a few miles comfortably at a 7:38 pace.  The thought now gives me shivers a little, but it’s true and I was pretty proud.  Now I go out for my normal six mile run at exactly eight o’clock every morning and every mile my Garmin beeps at me with my mile split.  And do you know what that mile spilt is almost every time?  It’s 911!  I am not kidding!

And just so you know, I leave at eight o’clock because my husband leaves for work at exactly nine o’clock, so that would give me plenty of time to get hope and slap him on the donkey butt as he headed out the door.

But now that my morning runs have turned into more of an escapade with Diego. And I spend more time picking up trash and petting dogs, I find I’ve been arriving late to my home.  How late you ask.  Exactly eleven minutes late!  That’s right, I get home at 9:11am.

I’m not superstitious and even if I was I am not sure what it would be that my Garmin is trying to tell me.  Is this ‘fun’ pace going to lead to an emergency?  Or maybe every time my mile split pops up at 9:11 it means I have a new animal rescue…I just need to go look for it…it’s probably in the woods somewhere and I should go for a hike rather than run.

I went looking for answers on Google.  ‘What does 911 mean?  I asked’ and unbelievably, I found the answer!

According to  (The words in hyphens are mine;)

In numerology, you reduce numbers into single digits. So 911 becomes 9+1+1=11
OMG!  11 is my lucky number!  My birthday is 2-11… same as Burt Reynolds btw.)
11 is one of the master numbers. (
I am a master! I have a dog!) It is one of the few numbers that is not reduced down to a single digit (I can’t be reduced either!).
The 11 is also known as the psychics number, it’s the most intuitive of all numbers and it represents illumination and deep insight. The 11 is also very sensitive, charismatic and inspirational.
(Okay, ya got me there.  I don’t know what all that’s about.)

I’m not sure where this column is going.  All I know is that I am a runner.  I like numbers.   They tell me how I’m doing and I can’t avoid analyzing them even if I have agreed not to.  What I will say is this, according to my mile split times…I’m having a pretty fun summer.




I did something a little different this morning.  I decided to take my camera with me on my run.  I didn’t take it with me so that I could shoot pictures of all the crazy animals I encounter on my runs, though I did take a picture of my favorite three-legged/toothless black lab that likes to chase me.  No, I brought the camera for a different reason.

I have written trashy columns in the past, and tried to add a touch of humor to the fact that Sadieville has a littering problem.  This may be the trashiest column yet.  I brought the camera to take pictures of what I get to see every day when I go for my run: trash.

I’ve been letting it get to me lately.  My runs are supposed to make me feel refreshed and new but lately they are making me ill.  Every time I see all the trash I want to puke.  So as a form of therapy, I brought my camera to document the run.  I will decide what to do with the pictures later.

So I am running along, stopping to take pictures of the worst ditches.  I snap a shot of the couch and scattered cushions along the creek, the garbage piled near an underground drainage pipe, capture a few tires…and then I see it.

It sat there in the distance along the road like a tidy little Christmas gift.  As I approached I snapped a few pictures, making sure you could see WAL-MART written on the side.  When I reached it I looked down and shook my head.  It was another trash bomb.

I am skeptical of anyone who has a clean car because I fear they are a ‘trash bomber’.  You know, one of those litter-pigs (‘litterbug’ is too pretty sounding) that gathers all the trash from their car, puts it in a plastic bag, ties it in a knot and tosses it out their window as they drive.

I ran past the trash bomb, disgusted.  But then I changed my mind.  I decided to dissect the little bomb just to see what they tossed out.  As I untied the knot I could feel my heart jumping a little as I realized there was junk-mail in the bag.  I pulled out a letter from Dish Network and noticed the address of the recipient.  I set the letter on top of the bag and took another picture so you could read the address.   Then I put it back in the bag and tied it.

I took a picture of me holding the bag and smiling.  Then I started running down the road and snapped another picture of my hand holding the bag as I ran.  I was really getting into the ‘documentation’ side of my run.

As I passed mailboxes I made note of their address.  I felt light on my feet as I approached each mailbox, knowing I was getting closer.

What I did next was illegal, and unless you can get ahold of my camera you have no proof that I did it.  I will tell you that the pictures tell the whole story.  I can tell you this:  when the judge interrogates me about what I was doing it will probably go something like this:

Judge: “Mrs. Strong, you say you were running down the road?”

Me: “Yes, sir.”

Judge: “And you found someone’s mail on the side of the road?”

Me: “Yes, Sir!”

Judge: “And what did you do next?”

Me:  “I returned the mail to the owner.”

Judge: “Did you take it up to the house and hand it to them?”

Me: “No Sir, I shoved it in their mailbox.”

End of Story.