The ugly days ARE the beautiful days.
Slightly bored this Saturday morning of mini-taper, I made a monster smoothie, sold some crapola on Craigslist, and made a special drive to get a pair of running glove for tomorrow's 16 mile trail race, The Stone Steps 50k/27k. Traditionally, I've never made a big deal out of gloves, certainly never buying any. Gloves are, after all, like umbrellas and pens, karmically arriving when and where you need them via the great cosmic river.
|Thanks for the gift certificate, Teresa.|
To assuage my guilt, I decided I needed to know how much energy I'd be saving over the life of the gloves, which the store clerk assured me would be at least three years, if I could stay clear of the karmic river serpent's thievery.
I figured that by wearing gloves, I will retain the metabolic and mechanical "waste" heat that would otherwise be lost from my hands to the surrounding air, having to be fueled by eating unnecessary extra calories. (But I always reserve the right to eat extra calories).
I estimate my whole body is about 2 square meters of surface area from which I could lose heat. Since I eat about 4000 kcal per day, that's about 16,000 kJoules of energy given off per day as "waste heat".
Since one day is ~80,000 sec,
Energy lost to surroundings = 16,000 kJoules/80,000 Sec = 200 J/s = 200 Watts
I also estimate that each hand is about 100 square centimeters of surface area. So hands are about 1% of my total body's surface area.
Thus, energy lost through my hands = 200 Watts/body x 1% of body = 20 Watts ...or ~10 Watts per hand!! That's kinda cool to think about-- each hand being heated by a 10 watt light bulb like you might find in my dining room's chandelier.
So, how much energy am I saving by wearing 200 square centimeters of fabric with about R-2 quality insulation (an attic has about R-30)? Can we say 10 watts per hand? So, if I'm running 10 hours per week through the winter, that's
20 Watts x 10 hrs/wk = 0.2 kilowatt-hours per week = ~700 BTUs per week.
Since I used ~20,000 BTU during my car trip to get the gloves, to save the energy it cost me to get the gloves, it would take
20,000 BTU/700 BTU/wk = ~28 weeks.
As long the new gloves hold up for at least 28 weeks, I may not go to hell for destroying the planet. But the more I ponder the question, and the errors of my ways, the more distracted by the thought of calories, I get.
The bottom line is that with a few algebraic manipulations, some plugging and chugging, I now have some sweet gloves that will go well with my zebra pants for the race tomorrow. The result will be a comfortable, enjoyable run. So here's to keeping the nerves in the hands from popsiclizing and keeping the nerves in my brain in cosmic happyland.
|New gloves make me feel like this while running with my friends through the woods.|
In the whole history of the world no one in zebra pants has ever had a bad day, unless they also forgot their gloves.
Race report to follow...maybe. Stay tuned.