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.”
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).