Happy pi day!

14 Mar

No radio interview this year, though I did give two talks within three hours yesterday (on two different subjects!)  I actually forgot about pi day until this morning, which also means that I didn’t make a pie =(  I did, however, run the “Pi Day Pi K,” which is a misnomer as it’s actually 3.14 miles, not 3.14 kilometers.  Just a little bit over a 5K.  It was extremely fun and extremely cold.

I’m not a “natural” runner (in fact, I once spent six weeks on crutches with no explanation, but definitely from a running-related injury), and I’d estimate about 100 people passed me during the first mile of the run (I went in the second group, for those taking it a bit slower, while fiance was in the super fast first group).  While running I almost always feel myself thinking “when will this be over?” and trying to estimate how far I’ve run (“maybe I’m one-sixth of the way through now…”).  On the way back I desperately seek out landmarks and try to remember how far I had run when I first saw them (“oh, that rock!  That’s when I was thinking about stopping to walk but then I didn’t because that old lady blasted by me.  That was around 1/3 of the way, maybe?”)  Also, I’ve never felt the mythical “runner’s high.”

I'm the person on the bottom with my tongue out dripping sweat.  Other runners are that guy up there with the sweatband

I’m the person on the bottom with my tongue out dripping sweat. Other runners are that guy up there with the sweatband

Afterwards I’m incredibly achy and sore all over my body.  BUT I feel really accomplished- even if I’m the slowest, least coordinated, wheeziest person at the finish line, I still finished the race, and no one can ever take that from me.  I’m incredibly proud of my accomplishment, probably because of all that misery I described above.  Same thing with math: I’m never going to win a Fields Medal or anything like that, just like I’ll never win a running race, but I sure as hell am going to get my damn participant certificate that says I finished (a.k.a. a Ph.D.)  Maybe I’ll take a really long time and be super wheezy or nervous or stuttery at my defense, but I will finish this race and no one will ever be able to take that away from me.

I tell my students about those six weeks last semester that I did CrossFit (I got a groupon for it), and how I was objectively the slowest, weakest, least coordinated person in the room (there was a pretty pregnant woman in there too).  But I still tried really hard and knew at the end of every day that I did my best in there, and that’s all anyone can ever ask of me.  I don’t expect all of my students to get A’s in every subject, but I do expect them to try really hard, to try hard to ask questions (I know it’s hard), and to get their damn participant certificate.  It helps that I teach a “satisfactory/unsatisfactory” class, so I just want my students to deserve their “S”s.

Wow I didn’t mean to write all that.  Just wanted to say happy pi day, and suggest reading Evelyn Lamb’s post on the other kind of pi (not the circle constant we know and love).


5 Responses to “Happy pi day!”

  1. EfficientAsianMan March 15, 2014 at 1:19 am #

    I like the picture

    • yenergy March 15, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

      Thanks! I thought it looked like I was vomiting blood so I had to put tongue into the caption

  2. Evelyn Lamb March 15, 2014 at 11:20 am #

    Hey, did you just sneak that “fiance” thing in there, or have you been engaged for a while and I just didn’t notice? Either way, congrats. You should get married as soon as possible because weddings are a scam, but marriage is awesome. Or have a giant blowout wedding that costs as much as an apartment on the Gold Coast, whatever floats your boat.
    Speaking of engaging, it might not surprise you that my family watched a fair amount of Star Trek when I was growing up. Or maybe it will surprise you, I don’t know. Anyway, when my brother got engaged, he wrote me a text that said “I engaged Erin,” and I thought that was funny, like she was a Ferengi ship or something.
    Also, I’m totally with you on running. Except that I never do it. For a while, every few months I would decide that I wanted to start running. Then about 12 seconds into my first run, I’d realize how much I hate it, tell myself to stick with it for a few more minutes, and start walking in 6 more minutes. I can ride my bike all day, but I just hate running!

    • yenergy March 15, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

      Haha thanks very much! I did sneak that in (it might’ve shown up in a previous post too). He morphed into SO after he proposed but before we told people, and now it’s been two months and we still haven’t told lots of people. Also appreciate you saying weddings are a scam- they are SUCH a scam! It’s crazy! I got really upset at a Michael’s awhile back because I saw a “ring pillow” for $30. I would rather buy ten tacos than buy a stupid pillow that I would immediately throw away after using for five minutes.
      Ferengi ship is a GREAT idea for a wedding cake! We’re engaged! Full impulse!
      The last time I ran was that triathlon last summer ha. It’s such good exercise! Why does it suck sooooo much? Biking is the funnest but I know I’m not doing anything with my arms nor abs. I’m still sore today!

      • Evelyn Lamb March 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

        I’m sometimes surprised that people who are like me in some ways are not like me in all ways, and weddings are a case in point. I was really surprised that so many of my friends wanted to have big traditional weddings, because that was never something that appealed to me. I think I hurt a few people’s feelings before realizing that my preferences were unusual, not theirs. Now I am less disdainful of big weddings because that’s what some people want, and that’s OK. But I’m always encouraging people to have small, cheap weddings if they want. You’re just as married at the end if you don’t have a diamond ring and a long white dress!

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