Running with Paper Clips

I was talking with a friend the other day about my progress in training for the Disney Princess Run on February 23. She’s a marathon runner, and far beyond my abilities, but I get a lot out of the tips she gives me. In this case, I was complaining about how boring it is to run on an indoor track.

The track at my gym is nice, but pretty small. So small, in fact, that the App on my iPhone can’t get a good GPS reading, so it can’t keep track of my distance. I have to run 11 laps for one mile, which means to complete 5k I need to run 34 laps. The problem is, I lose count sometimes. I’ve got my playlist assembled, and I get into the music. Before I know it, I’m passing the starting point and thinking, “Was that 17, or 18?” I’ve looked for one of those old fashioned lap-counting devices that track coaches used back in the dark ages before the Internet, but I can’t find one.

My marathon-runner friend said, “I have a solution. Put ten paper clips in your pocket. Every time you run a lap, move one clip to the other pocket.”

Wow! What a great idea. This morning I decided to try it. I counted out 10 paper clips and put them in my right pocket. I was faithful about moving paper clips with each lap. It was so freeing to run, just run, and not worry about counting. I felt more energetic today, and was able to focus on increasing my pace instead of counting laps. While I typically run one lap in every 3, today I was able to run every other lap! I’m telling you, I was sailing around that track.

When I finished, I checked my time and I’d completed 34 laps in an astounding 34 minutes. That’s 10 minutes 57 seconds per mile! I was ecstatic! My fastest time so far has been 12 minutes 5 seconds per mile. Woo hoo!

Then I got down to the locker room and emptied my pockets. There were only 9 paper clips.


Okay, so I need to be a little more careful with my paper clips. I just hope nobody slipped on the one I lost. And I sure wish I knew when I’d lost it.