Monday, April 27, 2009

The Hurdler Wannabe

So remember back in March when I went to the Al Rosen Tri-Fitness Camp and got my butt kicked by a bunch of track and field hurdles? Yeah, that was awesome. Well, about six weeks had gone by and I just couldn't get it out of my head how:

a) I really need to practice so I do a better job next time,
b) I really need to practice so I do a better job next time, and
c) I really need to practice so I do a better job next time.

So, since the bruises on my legs had finally gone away, I decided it was time to add some more. I put together my PVC hurdles (thanks to Al for the instructions on making my own) and headed to a park near my house to run the gauntlet.

I'd been putting this off for a while, kind of due to time restraints and kind of due to fear restraints. I mean, running at full speed only to trip over a hurdle and fall onto the ground is painful. Unfortunately, the pain of doing so in front of a crowd is even greater, so there was no other choice. There was a slight chance that my comedy of errors would be seen by a group of high school boys playing Frisbee, but I was willing to risk it. I figured their mockery would be easier to take than that of the little kids on the playground, because I hoped that by this age their mothers had taught them not to gawk at the disabled.

Luckily, the park was empty. I found a secluded spot, set up my hurdle, walked back about 30 feet, and stared at it.

It stared back at me menacingly.

I gulped and reminded myself that I had done this before. Technically, I had successfully jumped over a few of the hurdles. Although, at this point I suspected that I had misread Al's measurements and made my hurdle about three times too high.

I took off running, approached the hurdle, and crashed into it. Not pretty. I was glad the Frisbee players were not there.

I set it back up, walked back to the starting point, and ran towards it again. This time I stopped right before and didn't even attempt to jump. This sucked.

It went on like that for about 30 minutes. I would either knock it over, skid to a stop right before it, or simply run around it. I knew there had to be a better way to do this, and preferably one less emotionally painful. I packed up.

Back at home, I sat down at my computer and googled, "How to Jump Hurdles." I first came upon this video of people at some gym somewhere who can jump really high. It was impressive, but since they were really more showing off than teaching me anything I didn't already know (meaning, that they are better at jumping than I am), I moved on. I next landed at, a website that promised to show me "how to do just about anything," including this video on how to potty train a bunny. I bookmarked that for later and instead clicked on a video advertising basic tips for great hurdling. A long, lanky, and enthusiastic young college student greeted me. She looked like she had jumped her first hurdle about two days after she was born, rather than starting at 32 years old with no sports training whatsoever. I hoped she understood that we might have slightly different definitions of the word, "great."

The first lesson was one of hurdle-jumping fashion, which I wasn't expecting. I kind of just wanted to know how to jump hurdles. It was then that I realized this was just one of a series of videos, which proved to actually be a great resource. As I watched the videos and learned about different warm ups and drills, I realized that this girl was going to be my savior. I wrote down a workout to do each morning, and realized that before I could jump the hurdle, I had to work on the basics. Since it looked a lot easier and even like fun, I was totally cool with that.

Now, with my workout in hand, I am ready to start learning. Hey, I might be 32 years old, clumsy, and a little late to the world of sports training, but I don't think I've yet crashed into my last hurdle.

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