Thursday, July 21, 2011

Good and bad numbers

My math PhD / bike racer friend Paul Mach might argue that numbers are inherently neutral, but I disagree. As symbols, they mean many things.

The trinity, for example: 3 IS a magic number. How many skyscrapers lack a thirteenth floor?

Here's some more numbers: I push 325 watts at threshold, for a total of 3.71 watts/kilogram. That came up in conversation last night. It used to be 370, or 4.2 watts/kilo. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. I burned 1625 kilojoules on my "easy" version of last night's Wednesday Night Worlds--no more than 250 watts for 2.5 hours.

Numbers: I'm about to turn 41. I though that number might mark the appropriate time for a physical, so I had some stuff looked at.

Resting heart rate: 44. Blood pressure: 108 / 60. Good numbers, all.

But as always, it's the ambiguity of words that trip me up. My EKG showed "early repolarization,,' which, according to recent studies, means that I might be at significantly higher risk of heart attack. It could also mean that I'm a young male athlete.

I have none of the other associated symptoms of a heart condition associated with early repolarization, aside from my persistent problems with low electrolyte levels and dehydration after exercise, which often leads to low blood pressure and dizziness when I get off the bike.

Now we're waiting for a whole bunch of additional numbers from the blood work to show us what those words mean.

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