Warm and fuzzy math

If you had told 7th grade me I would one day use math every day at my job, I would have said get the fuck out, minus the fuck because I was a pretty good kid. I was not good at math, though, and in fact struggled so much I was downgraded to a class for math misfits. I muddled through, with strong hope that I would at least not need to remember algorithms and linear equations. And I don’t, but I do a lot of simple math every day.

Yesterday I went back for the third time to the early morning runner’s group I joined to learn to run faster. The first time I showed up late and had no idea what we were supposed to be doing. Everyone else ran really fast and I left feeling pretty discouraged. The second week, I showed up on time but didn’t understand the directions and everyone else ran so fast I lost the group altogether and felt even more discouraged. Walking back to my car, I started talking with a veteran member, who told me his pace one day increased mysteriously. Yesterday I showed up and again didn’t really understand the directions and again was passed regularly by herds of runners who remind me of light-footed gazelles. But yesterday I also beat my old personal record from October. I did some math and calculated a 27% increase in speed from when I first got my running watch in June. I’m elated and motivated and so glad I didn’t give up.

I’m also doing the Camp Nanowrimo thing this month, though I’m only 6.7% through my self-prescribed word count goal and already 10% through April. I’ve decided I won’t get 100% bummed if I don’t make it because, you see, for the first time ever I’m sitting down to write creatively and so far I love it. Plus I still have 90% left of April. And please don’t correct my math if I’m wrong because I didn’t even do any better in that 7th grade class for math misfits. I transferred back out because if I was going to get a C in math, my parents figured it might as well be in regular math.

I’m reminded once again why it’s important to stick with something. Oftentimes I have this quiet but persistent voice in my head telling me what I’m doing won’t work and why. Occasionally, another voice that is never my own will offer another point-of-view. It will tell me I can get faster or write something substantial and all I have to do is keep running and writing, though never at the same time. If I just keep putting one foot in front of the other or huddling over the keyboard in my spare time (ha), I may one day not recognize myself anymore, but in the best possible way.

17 thoughts on “Warm and fuzzy math

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  1. Yeah for you, lady! The running thing is awesome, and so is NaNoWriMo… just keep on keeping on.

    Also? I am SO BAD at math. Still. Forever. But I write. So, I am pretty cool with being numerically-challenged.


  2. Such a good reminder. I was asked to do the reading at my regular Monday meeting and it was the last page of the big book – well page 164 last bit of “A Vision for You” – which has “We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny” as its penultimate sentence. It took me a long time to get the relevance and meaning of the word “trudge” – it means that persistence of putting one foot in front of the other either literally or metaphorically. I constantly forget this, I want it all, now and expect that to happen and normally berate myself for being a failure if the ultimate goal is not achieved instantly in anything I attempt.

    27% – that is a really great achievement, a hell of an increase – look at athletes at the top of most sports their increases are small increments nothing like that – when you think on it that way you are way better than say Bolt I mean he doesn’t improve his 100m by 27% and he practices day in day out… 🙂


  3. I like that second voice of yours better. The first voice, the inner critic, needs a long walk on a short pier. Unfortunately, it’s with us for good, but I know my job is to tune my ears and thoughts to hear the second voice. The inner critic gets nothing from me, and I let what it says pass by and a “thank for for sharing, but no thank you”. Having said that, I sometimes stumble and believe the inner critic. And I know I am believing it because my mood shifts, my actions are awkward and my thoughts turn to something darker and away from the Creator. Keep listening and nurturing that second voice. All the things you are doing – in all aspects of your life – seem to point to the fact that you are kicking the first voice to the curb as much as possible. And that is inspiring, my friend! congratulations on the writing – for years I have kept saying that I would do that challenge, and every year I let is slip past. Maybe next year! So wonderful to hear that you’re doing the things that keep you healthy and happy.



  4. I am 100% certain I enjoyed your post although I am only 50% sure about your calculations. but 100% convinced I will not check your figures. Don’t remember where I heard it but as a plus, math exercises can improve your memory. Thanks for writing. Run like the wind blows..


  5. I love this mid-journey post. I bet you don’t recognize yourself one of these days. If you don’t mind me saying. This is how we succeed. At least it’s how I did. Get up move forward (or not) fall down …. and then repeat. My life is so much better because I kept trying. I’m very excited to read more. Good, good stuff … the middle!


    1. Lisa – I love hearing your perspective because 1) I know you have a lot of sobriety and 2) you have a wonderful way of looking at things. So thank you very much for this comment. It means a lot.


  6. It all adds up, doesn’t it. When you look at the bottom line we seem to be the sum of our minuses and pluses, though I’m definitely listing you as an asset. Thanks BBB!


  7. Wow you’re pretty amazing. That running thing… whew…! And as for the maths, I am so bad at maths whenever I do my tax I have to phone up my mathematician friend and say ‘how do I work out percentages again?’…I’m sure he thinks I’m a total joke..nice to hear from you BBB…xxxx


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