Monday, June 21, 2010

The Fabulous Five-Miler

There's something about doing a five mile run that moves you into a whole new category; at three miles you may still be a jogger, or "somebody who runs sometimes," and four miles really feels more like "one short of five" than a distance in and of itself. At five miles though, you're a Runner.

Schoolhouse Rock taught us that “three is a magic number,” but the only thing approximating a three-miler is a 3.1 mile race, better known as—wait for it—a 5k. Mathematicians know it as the first “good prime” number (also a Fibonaci number which I don’t really understand, but find kind of fun to say.) According to Pythagorians five was mystical because it’s the sum of the first two numbers, 2 + 3. (They didn’t count “1” as a number, which is convenient if a bit confusing.) The Buddhists say there are five hindrances (there’s some overlap there with the seven deadly sins, but really who hasn’t found some redundancies between lust and envy?).

I think that at least in this context it’s significant because when you’re out of breath and bending over and somebody says, “Hey you look tired, how far did you go?” you can just hold up your hand and they get the point…and hopefully a nice cold glass of water for you. Whatever the reason, there’s just something big about hitting the five-mile mark as a runner and this weekend some of our members at Blair House were initiated into that noble and time-honored sect. Membership includes the right to complain about sore quads in public and the right to a second cupcake—“Why thank you, I think I will, you see I ran five miles today and I’m rather peckish.” But being runners as we are, it also means we immediately start thinking, I wonder what ten feels like.

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