Yesterday morning I rolled out of bed and began the slow process of getting ready for my 12-mile run. As usual, the first thing I did was pick up my phone and look at the current weather conditions. And as expected, it was a chilly 24° outside. I pulled on pants, a long-sleeve base layer and a pullover, and then topped things off with a hat and what are basically ski gloves.
As I started my run I was struck by the cold. It'll take just a mile or so to get warm, I thought. But even though my muscles eventually got there, the rest of me didn't. My face got numb to the point where I would have had difficulty talking, and my fingers were freezing. I made it through the run in one piece, but came away struck by how cold 24° felt.
This morning my routine began at about the same time, this time with different results. Today the temperature was 30°, or 6° warmer than yesterday. Instead of pants I put on shorts, and instead of a long-sleeve base layer I elected for one with short sleeves. I walked out the front door and was surprised at just how much warmer 6° felt. I took off down the hill and as I rounded my first turn I already felt warm. My pace was quicker and each breath I took in didn't produce that sharp winter reminder in my lungs. How could 6° make such a huge difference?
As I continued my run I began to wonder if the number 6 has some kind of magical meaning. What other things do we measure that are significantly different when separated by a measure of 6? How about 6 pounds? Over the holidays I ate a lot more than usual and one day noticed I didn't feel like my usual self on a run. I hopped on the scale and found I had gained 6 pounds. Ok, maybe it was 5ish, but I know my weight fluctuates 2-3 pounds all the time and don't notice it.
Can you think of any other measurements where a difference of 6 is suddenly noticeable? Pace? Distance? Ounces of wine or beer? Let me know in the comments.