Back when I was a kid--you know, before we had electricity, and we walked uphill both ways to school--we were told that America was going to go metric! Somehow, I always blamed Jimmy Carter for cluttering my head with liters and centimeters, but it turns out it was Gerald Ford who signed the "Metric Convertion Act of 1975." (Thanks, Google!) Like so much of the elementary school curriculum, any knowledge I ever had of metrics has dissolved (along with what we need the pluperfect tense for and the detailed rules for "Foursquare"). All, that is, but for two distances: 5k and 10k.
The other day at Back On My Feet we were discussing our next race, an 8k being held next month. "How far is 8k?" N asked me. "Ummm...like 5 miles?" I said uncertainly. "A little more than five miles, or a little less?" Dude, it's 5:45 in the morning and I don't have Jimmy Carter on speed-dial. But this is important to the guys, they've only done a 5k (3.1 miles) so far, so the jump from 5 to 8 sounds a little daunting. We assured them we'd get them there: we'll train for the next month together, do some hills together, do some speed work together and in the end we'll toe up at the starting line together and talk each other through. Because that's what we do.
Oh, by the way, 8 kilometers is 4.9709695 miles. (How did we survive before Google, anyway?)