I still don’t know whose idea it was to make a track where 11 laps equals a mile. But I think they were crazy.

Add to that the fact that this only applies to the center lane, and it’s driving me crazy. Here I am, running on the outside lane, thinking that every 11 laps is a mile, when it isn’t. It’s more than a mile, and the fact that I don’t know how much more irks and maddens me. Am I running really slowly if a lap takes me 66 seconds? Probably, but how slowly? Was that 11:12 “mile” really a 10:10 mile? A 9:48?

I like numbers. I’ve always like numbers. Some people I know complain about math. They don’t get math; they’re so glad they don’t have to take math; they just know they would fail math if they ever took it again – not that they would. And the math they are talking about isn’t what I would consider the difficult kind – we aren’t even talking differential equations here. Sometimes I smile and say that I like math, and sometimes I nod along with them.

I never talk about how in grade school I would look forward to this one kind of math quiz the teachers gave us. They called it a “mad minute” and it was a whole sheet of simple addition, subtraction, multiplication or division that we worked on with a time limit of one minute. I always finished, and I always scored well. Those tests were a bit exhilarating for me.

I enjoy the precision of math.

So it isn’t just a matter of wanting to know my actual mile splits for the sake of knowing my speed and progress. It fundamentally bugs me that I don’t have enough factors to calculate my speed to a higher degree of precision.

I can guess, but my guess is that the outside lane is longer than the middle lane. Not precise at all.

So when I ran my 55 laps and kept track of my time every 11 laps for a “mile” it was on the one hand quite satisfying. Every set of 11 laps was under 12 minutes (11:14, 11:12, 11:05, 11:28 and 11:49). If 11 laps were a mile, I’d be moderately happy at those totals. 11(ish) minute miles aren’t great, but they are better than 12 plus minute miles, especially strung together like that. However, 11 laps on the outside lane do not equal 1 mile. I don’t know how far I ran, or how fast I ran. I know I’m faster than the times I recorded, but I don’t know how much faster. It’s enough to make me want to pull my hair.

What I really want is one of those surveyor’s wheels to determine the length of that lap, but it’s probably going to come down to a measuring tape and some good old fashioned geometry.

It’s a good thing I like math.

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