So this morning I sat down for a bit of marathon practice. 30 minutes of memory followed immediately by 60 minutes of recall. The problem I always have when I haven’t done this for a while is just keeping concentration over that long period - my mind wanders, and I find that I’m just looking at the numbers and not remembering them at all while I think about something else entirely. It’s a real effort to keep my mind on the job, but I know from experience that if I get so I’m back in the habit of doing this every weekend I’m not busy, it soon won’t be a problem any more.
In 30-minute binary, I draw lines down the page, dividing it up into groups of 4-3-3-4-3-3-4-3-3 (each row for me is three images, each composed of a consonant made of the first four digits, a vowel from the next three and another consonant from the final three - when it comes to binary, perhaps because they’re spread across a wider area of the page, reading them takes a little bit longer, and I still find myself doing the intermediate step of spelling-out the word, which I don’t really do with decimal numbers or cards). A lot of people now use pre-prepared transparency overlays, and perhaps I should start doing that, because it really would save a little bit of all-important time. I just have trouble shaking off old habits.
Another little bit of time-wasting is that I do one journey at a time, and since a journey for me is 26 locations, that equates to one page (25 rows to a page) and one line of the next. It would make more sense to just use 25 locations in each journey, but again, that’s not the way I’ve always done it. I draw new lines when I turn to a new page, so I draw my lines, read the next 25 rows, turn the page, draw lines again, memorise the first row of the next page, then revise it. Then I read the remaining 24 rows of the second page, turn to the third, draw lines down it, memorise the first two lines, repeat that journey, and so on.
What I normally consider a good time for a journey is four minutes, but I was a bit over five minutes for each of them today. Again, I know I’ll get faster with practice. So I did five journeys and the first 15 rows of a sixth before I ran out of time (unlike numbers and cards marathons, I only look at each one twice, I don’t go back at the end to revise everything again. This might be because I take a little bit longer to memorise them in the first place, so they stick in my mind better. I’m not the only one who finds this - Gunther told me, years ago, that he reads numbers and cards just twice, and binary only once, without revising at all). So I looked at 4350 binary digits in total.
I normally expect to have a lot of gaps in 30-minute binary. I consider 80% success to be the target to aim for; that is, if there are twenty lines on a page that look correct and five that are wholly or partially blank, I’m satisfied with that. I used to have even lower percentages than that, before I started linking the last image on each location with the first on the next - I would normally attempt well over 5000 digits to get a score in the mid-3000s.
Today, though, I certainly didn’t come anywhere near to the 80% - I haven’t checked them yet (it takes a long time, I might not bother until I’m getting scores I’m not so ashamed of), but I know it was a score maybe in the early 2000s. But I can build on that! The important thing is just doing this and not getting bored and wandering away to watch TV half way through!
Edit: Okay, marked them while watching some wrestling - 2125. I’m sure I can beat that next time!