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Fish out of water

June 19, 2006

What happens when someone whose best race distance is 100 kilometers does a series of twelve 220-yard sprints on an old dirt track?

In my case, the result was part workout, part performance art. The best analogy I can think of is that of an American League pitcher coming to bat during an interleague game. The athlete is familiar with the task at hand and even practiced it frequently sometime in the distant past, yet the muscles don’t quite remember what to do. His main options are to be extremely tentative, thus ensuring failure, or to flail and thrash vigorously, thus risking both failure and injury.

I chose the flail-and-thrash option yesterday in pursuit of relatively fast times (31 seconds on nine of the intervals, 32 on the other three). Fortunately, no permanent damage seems to have been done. Not to my body, anyway; the track now has a few new ruts in it.

I’m reminded of the quote by Casey Stengel, the late manager of the Yankees and Mets, in which he said, “Oldtimers weekends and airplane landings are alike. If you can walk away from them, they’re successful.”

I think that goes for 220-yard sprint workouts as well.

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