Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Ever Expanding Oval

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?

Happy trails.

* 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.

23 comments:

RazZDoodle said...

damnit. I was hoping for at least one Matlock reference.

Matlock!

Vava said...

Nice workout, and great post! I think it's that diabolical metric system that's to blame. If your track was measure in yards you'd have crushed your goal.

Xenia said...

My dad looks like Wilford Brimley, but with dark Mediterranean coloring.

Maybe you somehow found yourself in Wonderland. You didn't follow any rabbits to the track, did you?

Lauren said...

I'm glad you're looking after the Wilford Brimley prostate aficionados. They are an underserved market.

Vanilla said...

I think it's safe to say that this is one post idea that I won't be stealing. Not that I'm admitting to stealing.

Also I think there are other things that can lead to an enlarged prostate.

Sarah said...

How dare you, Wilford Brimley would never have an enlarged prostate, the man is unstoppable. See here: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/36292

(Also, the captcha word I need to type in to prove myself a hooman is "guntsupr". How does the computer know about my super gunt??)

X-Country2 said...

If you start having to crawl over people in the stands of a baseball game to go piss for the 3rd time, then you know you and your growing problem are really in trouble.

Al's CL Reviews said...

I now know way more about Wilford Brimley than I ever cared to.

tfh said...

I'm cringing in anticipation of your mile repeats. An enlarged 400 really isn't bad in comparison to 1600 expanded...

Viper said...

Eureka! I knew there was a reason for those FAILs. Stupid prostating track.

GeorgiaSnail said...

Wilford Brimley is so fast he can run around the world and punch HIMSELF in the back of the head....

Chad Aaron Sayban said...

As long as the 5k course doesn't look like a colon, you should be alright...

...and by alright, I mean dazed and confused.

Jessica said...

I could swear the track gets longer each time around. I find myself yelling "where is the white line??"--except with some choice words thrown in. I don't think the high school XC team minds,though Perhaps the librarian--I am sure she can hear me.

Dr. J said...

Don't worry buddy, when your prostate is larger when you are older, you'll run faster since there are no bathroom breaks with a sub 18 5K :-)

Marlene said...

Hmmm, I've experienced the same symptoms and the increasing-track-phenomenon. What do you think that means for me?! Please don't say my prostate...

(You still ran some nice intervals! Closer than I can get right now.)

aron said...

sooo true, i think my track grows with each lap. nice job on the repeats!

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

so THAT;s what's been happening when I run at the track.

theloosemoose said...

I ran at the track today, too, for the first time in forever. It sucked - a lot.

You're right - the track bathroom is ALWAYS locked. Why IS that?

Adam said...

I'll bet your expanding track is because of some sort of metric conversion. Stupid metric system.

Roisin said...

They do say that stuff expands to fit the available space, so maybe that theory applies to speed work as well? You know...the faster you go, the farther you're going to have to go? It makes my brain hurt just thinking about it...

Ted said...

Hmmm... I second that. Why are the track bathroom always locked?

Good Post !

Running and living said...

I use the Garmin at the track. This way, I am not running any extra.000000whatever! Ana-Maria

The Laminator said...

Your medical metaphors astound me! Great job overcoming the inevitable running prostatisim!