My Metric Mess

Posted March 15, 2010 by jimhigley

It’s payback time for me.

All that daydreaming I did back in fourth grade when Mrs. Paseka was teaching my class about the metric system is coming back to haunt me.

“I’ll never use this stuff!” I told my mother.

That comment didn’t help the situation. It only led to a lecture on the importance of “learning how to learn, blah, blah, blah.” I didn’t listen. All I knew was that we didn’t live in Canada and I wasn’t about to fill my brain with any useless information. Because of that attitude, I never remembered which was smaller–millimetres or centimetres. And, I really hated the fact that everyone didn’t spell those two words “millimeters and centimeters” so it only added to my refusal to “Think Metric.”

Which leads me to the payback I face today.

I’m running a marathon on Sunday. The problem is it’s in Italy. Actually, Italy’s not the problem. The problem–and the payback–is that it just sunk in my head that I’m running this in kilometers, or should I say kilometres. Either way, for the last five months, my entire training program has been based on running a 26.2 mile marathon. I’m feeling kilometrically challenged.

Everything from my pace to water breaks have been done in the comfortable world of miles that I live in.  But now I need to convert all my thinking into a 42.2 kilometer run which sounds dauntingly impossible.

Don’t you just know Mrs. Paseka is shaking her finger at me right now?

Last night, I decided I could work through this. So, I printed a copy of the official course map–which included the kilometer markings. I decided I needed to add the mile markings on my own. That was easy. But then I started to obsess over the fact that important things like water stations and porta-johns were all located at kilometers 5, 10, 15, etc. And I’m a pretty predictable porta-john user every 7 miles. How was I going to deal with that?

So I’m stressed. And I know the next few nights I’m going to have nightmares about being one very confused runner, wetting myself, and looking for the finish line at kilometer 26.2.

Does anyone know how to say “Running Fool” in Italian?