Just to answer your first question, I am not planning to run a marathon. Nor am I planning to walk a marathon. In fact, this post has nothing to do with exercise of any kind except futility. If this doesn't make you want to run screaming for a sedative, then read on.
2. The Back Story
A few weeks ago, some people I know on Ravelry -- which is basically the knitter's answer to life, the universe and everything -- had a little shopping incident and bought some extra yarn. This prompted one of the more responsible members of our group to propose that we all update our personal yarn catalogs, or 'stashes,' (Ravelry makes it possible for people to keep an online record of their stuff) so that we can actually know what we have before we all run out and buy more of it.
Clearly someone should have put a stop to this behavior immediately. For one thing, this kind of self-knowledge is bad for the retail yarn industry. It's not so good for our knitterly self-esteem either. The reason that most of us don't keep our stashes up to date is the same reason that most of us don't step on a scale or read the nutrition label (now there's a misnomer) on a cheesecake: We. Don't. Want. To. Know. Just like I don't need to know that my cheesecake and I are both already packing enough excess calories to carry us through until Labor Day, I don't need to know that -- based on my current productivity level -- I already have enough yarn to keep myself busy for the next 7 years.
3. The Numbers
Too late now, though. Last week I hopped on the Full Stash Accountability bandwagon and learned that I have 19.6 miles of yarn. I also have 12.5 pounds (yes, POUNDS) of fiber waiting to be spun. Assuming, based on some very spotty and inaccurate calculations, that an ounce of fiber will yield roughly 75 yards of my average handspun yarn, that means that I have the capacity to add another 8.5 miles (yes, MILES, which have been calculated by multiplying the estimated 75 yards-per-ounce-yield by the roughly 200 ounces that I have and dividing by 1760, which is the actual number of yards in a mile) of yarn to my stash.
4. The Problem
I don't really knit that fast. While I was torturing my little head with yarn statistics, I took a look at projects I knit primarily in 2010 to see how fast I was burning through this yarn collection. And the answer is: 2. In the past six months, I have knit approximately 2 miles worth of yarn. That's all. Two. Which El Husbando absolutely will not believe because he thinks I knit all the time. I'm a little surprised at the number myself. Two miles of yarn consumed over six months-- four miles per year-- against 28 miles of real and potential yarn. The equivalent of 7 years (yes, dammit, YEARS) worth of knitting. And that's only if I don't buy anything else.
To make matters worse, the yarn for the four projects currently on my needles is not included in my Stash Mileage figure. That yarn is stuck in a little no-man's-land of unaccountability, so when I finish the projects, I don't even get to subtract anything from my Excess Yarn Figure. This is not encouraging.
5. The Solution
It is clear to me that I cannot possibly hope to use up my entire stash any time soon. And I certainly wouldn't want to waste my money betting that I'll stop adding to the stash in this lifetime. So the only answer is to find an interesting number and try to guess when my stash will arrive at that figure. Hence, the marathon. 26.2 miles. At some point in my future, my actual yarn plus my potential yarn minus my knitted/woven yarn will balance out to a marathon of yarn. I'm guessing October, but that's pretty optimistic considering that I still like to buy yarn and I haven't finished using up the Yarn of Unaccountability. Still, a girl's got to have some goals in life.
p.s. This morning I hung my exercise bra up on the hook where my hand towel normally goes. You can imagine the confusion this caused when I went to dry my face this afternoon.
p.p.s. Just so you shouldn't be without pictures, I'm posting an oldie. We had torrential rain today and my kids all ran outside to play in it. This reminded me of the day I took Nate and Isabel out to play in the giant driveway puddle we used to get at our old house. They ran back and forth, shouting and laughing and disturbing the neighbors, until Isabel fell and cut her knee. She still has the scar, which she showed me yesterday. Ah, the memories.