Fourth Grade Math to the Rescue!

Earlier today, I found myself trapped in a “knowledge forum.” The meeting’s content wasn’t right for me, but I had picked a chair where I couldn’t easily leave. Worse, after returning home late from last night’s Emmylou Harris concert, I was starting to feel a little sleepy. What to do? What to do?

Fourth grade math to the rescue!

“Writing things down keeps me awake. Doing math keeps me awake. So handwritten long division and multiplication should keep me awake,” I thought. “What shall I compute? I often think about Ironman, so why not compute something related to that?”

My swim speed has been improving recently, and I was curious how those and future improvements might impact my Ironman swim times.

Swimmers measure speed by talking about the time it takes to swim 100 yards (or 100 meters depending on your pool). Swimming an Ironman’s 2.4 miles? Great! You still talk about time per 100.

For a long time I had plateaued at almost exactly 2:00/100. At that rate, it takes 1:24:29 to complete the iron-distance swim.

Lately my long swims have improved to right around 1:48/100. Those 12 seconds per 100 yards don’t sound like much—it’s only 10% faster—but over 2.4 miles, that’s almost eight and a half minutes! 1:16:02.

Between now and next September, I’d like to try to take another 10% off. Maybe it’s possible; maybe it’s not. If I can get my swim pace down to 1:40/100 yards, I should be able to swim the distance in 1:10:24. I would be extremely happy to see that.

Now that I think about it, that was exactly my pace in the Gulf of Maine during last month’s Rev3 half. Hmm . . .

For your consideration, here are the results of my in-meeting calculations:

Pace (/100 yards) Time to swim 4,224 yards
2:00 1:24:29
1:48 1:16:02
1:45 1:13:55
1:40 1:10:24
1:35 1:06:53
1:30 1:03:22

How do you stay awake in meetings?

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