Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A non-sprinter sprinter

Well, the season is over.  I'm happy with the way it ended.  I value the friends I've made and experiences I've had.  

The discipline of going against my grain as a 'night person' and being up before sunrise was part of the journey this summer.   Most of my training was done during those 'magic hours' of dusk and dawn, a time where there seems to be profundity and awe in nature, particularly the hour of complete darkness to sunrise.   It feels spiritually refreshing and nourishing to be up and experiencing that part of the day.  Nearly all of my training has been a solo journey, something I almost always do alone.  Enjoying the morning after a workout is a really euphoric and relaxing experience, having tea on my back patio with birds and flowers all around.

As a relative new-comer to Masters Track, many of the people I met, especially some of the older athletes that are retired, define themselves as sprinters, runners, jumpers, etc...   It is central to their life.

For me, I don't want athletics to be my defining discipline/activity.  I feel I could walk away from it and do something else.  Yes, I'm a sprinter, but also a guitarist, teacher, lover of nature and the earth.  Lover and student of science, politics, art and culture.

When I was a kid, I was a 'practical sprinter' .. or a practicing 'functional sprinter.'   I could just bolt at any time.   Not only was I fast, but quick.   An extremely fast accelerator.  I never really worked at it.   I just did it.   I did it for the sheer joy of sprinting full speed at night through my backyard in bare feet.  It felt like I was flying, barely touching the ground.  I also sprinted for sheer transportation.  I was once stopped by the police in Cortland, NY for sprinting down the street full speed at night.   It was cold and I wanted to get home fast and get warm ... but I guess sprinting very fast on a public sidewalk at night  "looked suspicious."

Now a days, I almost never sprint full speed.  In order to even come up close to full speed, I have to go through a long, sweaty warmup that takes at least 15-20 min to do it right.  I have speed but it is not 'practical speed'.   It exists as a reserve in a 52 yr old body that when called upon, I can make it happen with the right preparation.

Sprinting is natural to a certain extent.  Some fast guys don't look fast.  I met M. Krulee at my hotel.   The dude has been sprinting for 40 years and at age 55, he looks like an average guy, not particularly fit, lean, or powerful.  But he ran 11.88 in the 100m last weekend.  5 years ago, as a 50 yr old he ran 11.47.  That is fast.. I wasn't much faster when I was a hot shit highschool sprinter.

Three things that are encouraging for me this season are:
1) I got faster from last year
2) I've learned more about it
3) I'm not injured the way I was at season's end last year

Since the season is over, I ate some of the foods I rarely eat during the season.  Chips, fries, etc... and I have to say... food binges are overrated.  I've felt pretty bad - both physicallyand mentally after some recent eating binges.

Now, going to spend time with my guitar and friends, watch the remainder of the Olympics.

I'm putting the Pumas away until the next meet.    The MTSU Christmas Invitational is just 17 weeks away.

Future posts here will be on my season in review, what I've learned, and what I'll be doing in the off season.  Thanks to all who have followed my journey this year to a Masters National Indoor 400m Championship and a Silver Medal in the 400m Masters National Outdoor Championships.

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