Coach Wikipedia

Chapter 4, Blog 3

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang


As Ralphie noted, we didn’t have the Web to share information or tips with other athletes throughout the world. Although most of the stuff I read online was debatable, I felt better for knowing it existed. If there were a debate, I wanted to be in the middle of it and choose what worked for me. After all, I was right about one thing. Track and field had not only evolved over 30 years, it had its own scientific classification, complete with a laboratory of plausible theories – some based on fact, some imagined and some certifiably crackpot.

In any era, of course, ideas tended to run hot and cold. Take weight training for example. In high school, I remembered how we asked our coaches if we should train with weights. They acted as if we were the dumbbells.

“Are you mental? You become muscle bound, and you’ll lose any speed you got.”

Well, who’s the dumbbell now, Coach?

One thing, however, hadn’t changed in 30 years. Everyone still tried to develop a good aerobic base. But now there were a hundred more ways to get there. And what about cross training? Should I join the local curling team?

I really needed a coach. All I had was Wikipedia:

“One cannot sprint the entire way (800 meters), thus the successful runner must have a plan.”


“Yes, plan. Since most tracks are 400 meters, two laps are necessary in the 800. Few runners who lead the first lap can or will finish first. That is, unless the pace is slow enough or …

I slumped back in the chair. This was more technical than I recalled. I had to know all of this at one time. Right? I searched for the world record. It was 1:41.11 by Wilson Kepketer of Denmark on Aug. 24, 1997, in Cologne, Germany.



It was right there in black electrons.

A minute and 41 seconds? I can’t even move my bowels that fast.

The Olympic record was 1:42.58 by Vebjorn Rodal of Norway on July 29, 1996, at the Olympics in Atlanta.

My calves froze in disbelief, petrified by the numbers. I didn’t have that kind of speed, not even in my nightmares.

“All volunteers for the suicide mission take one step forward,” I said. “The fate of the free world, not to mention the mental health and well-being of our generation, depends on our success.”

My legs and lungs were not buying it. Even the tiny voice was AWOL. Yeah, think about it. It’s not as if you can tell your body fibs – and get away with it.

Sooner or later, it’s going to find out and make a liar out of you.

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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