I have a friend who has an American mother and a European father. She grew up in England, seemingly perfectly normally. Her mother recently told me about the two things that allowed both her children and her marriage to survive. ‘Firstly, I bought an American washing machine and tumble drier,’ She told me. ‘And secondly, I used the weather charts in the back of the newspapers to work out what my childrens’ temperatures were in Celsius.’
Which I thought was remarkably sensible, given that on my recent trip to the States I had to keep asking people what the temp was ‘in real’. Which was exactly as well-received as you would imagine. I was asking what the temperature was because I wanted to make sure I had taken full advantage of my ‘gloating rights’-and eagerly reported back on the exact temperature of every single one of my runs.
I was running because I have agreed to participate in the Nike+ British 10km race. I do not know how long 10km is. I am perfectly aware that it is 6.2miles, but that is a little like explaining Keynesian economics using Kantian philosophy-I’m still very much not going to fully understand what you’re talking about, no matter how much I frown concertedly. I have a perfectly adequate grasp of distance, but it is not measured in either kilometres or miles. There’s ‘the walk to the tube’, which obviously can be multiplied as necessary; there’s ‘the distance you can cover whilst holding still-hot chips’, which is pretty standard though highly susceptible to weather conditions, and there’s ‘the effort of getting to the corner shop’, which, personally, is at a constant setting- too far.
I found out yesterday that another one of my friends is also running the Nike+ British 10km race. ‘So, ‘ I asked cheerfully. ‘Do you know how long that is?’ My friend looked at me thoughtfully. ‘Too short not to complete, and too long to run without training. So either way, a bloody nightmare.’