Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Some numbers

Not sure if you like numbers.  I LOVE them.  I love the way that they can be used like a writer uses words or an artist uses his/her medium of choice to describe and build and expose and evaluate and express.  I love that they are governed by certain rules...that there is an order about them...but that we can also use them to create all kinds of beautiful and meaningful things.

I think a lot of runners love numbers.  It seems that a lot of runners like to talk about stats.  How far did you run today?  How long did it take you?  What's the longest run you attempted before your marathon?  How many 5Ks have you run this year?

For those of you who love numbers, today's post is for you!  First, some running-related numbers:

500         Spots remaining to register for the Philadelphia Marathon (this will be my last's still not too late to sign up to run with me!!)
600+       Miles I will have run to train for the Philadelphia Marathon
2 or 3      Pairs of running shoes worn during training
16           Weeks of training=number of Saturday long runs=number of power bars eaten
22           Miles run during my longest long run
1             Number of marathons I've finished before the Philadelphia Marathon
3:37:47   Hours, minutes, and seconds that it took me to complete my first marathon
3:30        Minutes and seconds that it took me to complete each of 4 800-meter runs I attempted this morning

And now, some water-related numbers:
1 in 8      People world-wide who lack access to clean water
46           Percentage of people world-wide who do not have water piped to their homes
100         Gallons of water the average American uses in one day
2.6-5.26  Gallons of water the average Sub-Saharan African uses in one day  
3.7          Average number of miles walked each way to a water source by women/children in developing countries
45           Pounds of water carried per water pot or jerry can from the water source
3             Liters of water required to produce 1 liter of bottled water
2,900      Gallons of water required to make 1 pair of blue jeans

I use these statistics to imagine myself as a woman in a developing country.  I leave early in the morning with my 2 children and walk 3.7 miles to a water source that may also be used by animals or for washing or sewage.  I hope that there is some water, even if it is dirty.  I carry an awkward container that is the weight of my 4-year-old son on my back for another 3.7 miles.  I agonize about whether to let my children drink the water.  I don't want them to get sick.  I spend so much time and physical (and mental) energy getting the water that I don't have time to pursue other work or hobbies.  My health is impacted by this daily exercise.  I am anxious.  I don't feel hopeful.

For now, this is why I run.

The sources used for the water stats are quizzes found here on the National Geographic website and websites by UN Water, The Water Project, and

1 comment:

  1. This post was both fun and enlightening. (I will think twice about buying/owning another pair of jeans!) It's fun to hear you talk about all the things you love here.:)

    I wonder how much water you drink during marathon training????