Thursday, August 26, 2010

Magic 800 Ball

I don’t know what’s so “magic” about an 8 ball but someone – Mattel, apparently - decided it was, so far be it from me to question the wisdom of a toy conglomerate. Besides, the product involves an “icosahedral die floating in alcohol with dissolved dark blue dye. The die is hollow, with openings in each face, allowing the die to fill with fluid.” Sounds magical! Icosahedral balls? Floating in alcohol? Hollow? Filled with fluid? Yep, pretty much describes me. Am I blushing? You may rely on it.

I don’t want to quibble with a company that has supplied us with both Rock ‘em Sock’em Robots AND the 2007 Chinese export toxic toys scandal but a magic “8” ball is not enough for me. Without a doubt. More like a magic “800” ball. When I’m feeling, er, not so fresh, when my legs are tired or disinterested, when my hamstring feels a bit strained, I like to go to that giant oval down the road and knock out some 800 intervals. It is decidedly so.

I tweaked my right hamstring around the seven mile mark during this past Sunday’s 11 miler. Oh, I pressed on despite the pain. I’m nothing if not stubborn and stupid. And handsome. (Reply hazy, try again.) It was still a bit sore on Tuesday as I laced up for my normal lunch hour run. So I did what any conscientious runner with a sore hamstring would do, I hit the track for my regularly scheduled 800’s and completely ignored the twang in the hammy! If I ignore it, does it still exist?

In eleven years of running, I’ve so far been very fortunate with injury: nothing serious. Nothing, at least, that hasn’t been cured with more than a week or two of rest and some extra stretching (and, possibly, an increase in alcohol consumption, which probably doesn’t have anything to do with healing, but why chance it?) You want to know the magic behind my successful injury avoidance? Denial. And 800’s. Seriously, when I’m feeling sluggish or achy, a nice jolt to the system in the form of an extra strenuous work-out seems to knock me back online.

I took to the streets on Tuesday well aware that I could rip that hamstring right up the side of my leg like a fat guy sitting down in comically under-sized jeans. I had a brief moment of doubt as I hit the track as to whether or not the 800’s were wise but my dimpled, isocahedral balls said Outlook good so off I went.

Oh, the hammy barked the first few laps but then settled into a nice dull ache before disappearing completely under a tidal wave of endorphins and adrenaline. Would the sore hammy show up later as I reposed at home with a grape flavored Icee? Ask again later.

Turns out, I completed 6x800 at planned pace with almost none of the post run hammy pain that had plagued me the previous 48 hours. So, it appears that once again I was right and years of dedicated research and clinical analysis was wrong. The best way to overcome soreness and injury? Magic 800’s! It is certain.

In fact, magic 800’s might just be the cure for all of life’s troubles. Canker sores? Yes. Crippling credit card debt? Yes! Snooki?? Yes Yes Yes. Auto-erotic asphyxiation? Trick question – that’s not a problem so it cannot be "solved" by a magic 800 ball.

Would this work long term if you are experiencing O.J. level stabbing pain to the back of the leg? As I see it, yes. Would it work if the pain is milder, say, like a depressed goth teen cutter? Yes – definitely.

Should you follow my advice and throw away your “casts” and surgically implanted “neck halos” for the healing promised by the Magic 800 Ball? Well, if you have isocahedral balls*, like yours truly, most likely.


Don’t count on it.

Happy trails.

*Or isocahedral Fallopian tubes. I’m not sexist here at F.M.S. At least, not in today’s post.

Sunday: 11 miles @ 6:57 pace.
Tuesday: 6 x 800 @ average 2:57 pace (10k level 800 pace). The 5k level 800 pace was 2:45ish but it seems, since the distance is larger, the 800’s could be completed a bit slower, no?
Today: Planned 8 miles @ 6:40 half-marathon race pace goal.

I’m surprised I didn’t receive more negative reaction to my anti-coach screed at the bottom of the last post. Perhaps your silence is a form of protest? Really, I have nothing against coaches. I think everyone…no, no, I can’t get all the way through this with a straight face: Quit your coaches. Now.


Jamoosh said...

OK, here you go. I agree with you on the "coach" front. Could the same be said for "personal trainers." Seriously, unless you want to enter body building contests, why would you need one?

The Sean said...

Destined to be a classic post. I agree that some faster running can open your body up and break out of a slump. Not sure what it would do to a neck halo?

Andrew Opala said...

I think Dan Brown is writing a book about the magical 8-ball it will be linked to the Masons, hiking in the Adirondacks and of course, the Catholic Church.

Coach Google works for me. And then I really enjoy just flippantly taking on a bunch of difficult exercises by a guy I haven't even met!

Viper said...

My coaching is in high demand. Two out of two that have requested coaching have received coaching. Results vary. Or do I have to charge a fee to be considered?

Jess said...

Nice job on the 800s glad you didn't have any real problems with the hamstring!

Spike said...

I was there on Tuesday...but I was there before sunrise. You afternoon runners are hardcore. Or are you just crazy. 'Most likely'

Ace said...

I see product potential. Buy a custom, magic 8 ball that serves as a coaching tool. They buy the product and then each day ask, "Magic 8 Ball coach, what workout should I do today?" Strangely, it always comes up... 800s...

Vava said...

How do you run with those things dangling between your legs? And at those paces?! The incumberance must improve your running form or something, thereby leading to better compensatory muscle development and your apparent lack of injury. Nice work!

And another in the WTF coaches category is the seemingly ubiquitous "life coach". Seriously? I know I shouldn't belittle, but honestly people a coach for "life"? I don't get it...

Aileen Ruane said...

I looked at "coaches" and read "roaches".

I need a new apartment.

vibram said...

thanks for sharing this. Have the best run always! :)

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