Why does my local track resemble an aging males prostate?
As a late 30’s male, I’m only a few years away from regular visits to Dr. Jellyfinger. Now, however, my prostate means nothing more to me than a distant health warning such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Wilford Brimleyism.* But I feel like I’m getting to know my future prostate right now. 400 meters at a time.
I’ve been doubling up on my weekly track interval work-outs in an effort to reach my SOS2 goal of sub 18:00 5k. Right now, I’d say there is, at best, a 50/50 chance of meeting that goal (which, ironically, is the same percentage of an enlarged prostate in men over 50.) I’m doing 800’s on Tuesday and 400’s on Saturday. Those 400’s will turn into mile repeats real soon.
I arrive at the track all fresh faced and spunky. Just a kid, really. Still wet behind the ears and full of piss** and vinegar.*** I’m looking to knock out a reasonable 6x400 with one lap cool downs between each. Shouldn’t be too much trouble right? Really, that’s a total of 11 laps around the track. Not even three miles. An elderly man could eat a heaping bowl of warm Quaker Oats during that time. I can certainly burn some rubber around this oval.
I start on my first 400 meters. 400 meters later, I come to the end and hit the lap button. Okay, not bad. About where I want to be time-wise. Cool down lap. Nine laps to go…
And then the next lap seems slightly larger. There’s no way that was 400 meters again. More like 420 or 430 meters. I was running a bit harder and yet I came in a few seconds slower. The oval has enlarged. I was running fast but there is no way I caused enough heat for the track to expand. I’m capable of many things but sudden track prostatism isn’t one of ‘em.
Sure enough, every lap seemed just a bit longer than the last. Interval four? Easily 450 meters. My form was rapidly deteriorating. I was hunching and muttering to myself and even had the sudden, misplaced desire to play bingo.
As I re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and rounded the corner on my final lap, I felt like a big, fat walrus. A walrus with a belly full of traditional breakfast foods and sporting a Taftian facial growth. Orf, orf, orf, I was going to make it to the finish line, orf, orf. I don’t care if the track had expanded to 14,000 meters by the eleventh lap (sixth interval). No exaggeration.
In the end, I came close to my goal of maintaining an average pace of 1:20 for the 6 intervals. I clocked in at 1:22. Considering the way the track enlarged, I was pretty happy with that. All of my summer 5k’s would be point-to-point, more like an intestine than a prostate anyhow. Very little chance for enlargement. So, I’ll be that much further ahead.
As I cooled down with one final lap (surprisingly, already back to 400 meters), I took stock of some symptoms I was experiencing: Increased thirst, dry mouth, fatigue, blurred vision. Maybe I was using the wrong Wilford Brimley analogies. The track didn’t enlarge like a prostate. I didn’t want Quaker Oats, even if it is the right thing to do and the tasty way to do it.
No, based on those symptoms, maybe I have Diabeetus?
* Senior onset of over-sized mustache, suspenders, and cane shaking anger. Also, to those who googled ‘Wilford Brimley’s prostate’, welcome to Feet Meet Street! You belong here.
** The track bathroom is always locked.
*** I like cole slaw.