Finding a tangent

I'd love to see some fMRI images that show which areas of the brain light up during trail running. Maybe it would explain why my brain wants to do math problems on the trail and only on the trail.

I'm scooting along, not thinking much of anything, and suddenly realize I'm crunching numbers. It doesn't matter of what. Mile paces? Word per page counts? Numbers of minutes elapsed since various life events? Random numbers divided by other random numbers? Not to mention the truly quixotic, like attempts to calculate the volume of irregular shapes, say, my right shoe.

I am not doing it on purpose. My brain just fires up the abacus when I'm not watching.

It wouldn't be so bad except that I've forgotten all the math I ever had except for arithmetic. I used to be able to graph rational functions. Now all I remember are the shapes of simple problems, so when my brain kicks into math class mode, it isn't able to solve very much. Poor dusty old attic.

Actual conversation between the parts of my brain on the trail:

Math Brain: 2.5 + 0.4 + 1.3 + 0.9 / 57 + [42x60/10].
Word Brain: Zzzzzz. Huh?

Math Brain: 32560 / 25.
Word Brain: Whoa! One of us is supposed to be watching the trail! And it's not me!

Math Brain: 30000/25 + 2500/25 + 60/25.
Word Brain: I'm not joking, cut it out! This is not safe!

Math Brain: 3x squared plus 6x minus 14 = 0. Factor.
Word Brain: Really? Polynomials? Are you freaking kidding me.

Math Brain: 14 minus square root of... wait, no... -14 plus or minus square root of um, okay, how about an oval 16 cubits by 4.5 cubits, area 3.14 x 8 x 2.25 — 3.14159 x 18 —

So far it's only tripped me up metaphorically and not physically. But it makes me wonder whether I'd run better if I could actually do the math.


Zoolander said...

This would be a recipe for suicide on the trail for me. Run + Think = Superman

Ann Pai said...

You know my theory: If you can hear yourself thinking, you're not moving fast enough.