Tim Bergsten created this Ning Network.

Dear reader, this post is a fable about cross-training.  Like all good fables, it involves animals and morals, so let's get started.

When a gazelle walks up to the edge of a pool it stops and stares at the water. The thought process is something like this: Wow, that's deep, and dark, and...ahhhhh I just touched it and it's super cold!  The pool is already full of splashy fish who don't even notice that 82 degrees is sort of bone-chilling.  The gazelle is so obviously out of place - it still has tan lines from a summer of running in the sun and it's sort of uncomfortable in a swimsuit. The fish, on the other hand, seem perfectly at home in their swimsuits. Occasionally a fish will stop by the wall an peer awkwardly out of the pool at the gazelle who is still contemplating getting into the deep, dark, cold pool.  

Finally, the mammal inches its way into the pool.  Oh, yep, just as frigid as I was expecting, it thinks. Now it starts running, more so keep warm than to actually move from Point A to Point B. It feels awkward - its feet never hit the ground, it's not sure what to do with its arms (oh, wait gazelles don't have arms), and children-fish are staring at it like it came from a different planet.

It should be noted that gazelles like to be part of a herd, so if there is only a single gazelle in the pool it feels uber self-conscious and awkward, after all it sort looks like it's gracefully drowning.  If there are other gazelles around to chat with though the hands on the clock move quickly (shout out to Nancy Hobbs, pool runner extraordinaire, and Shannon Payne, fellow downing gazelle, for helping me pass lots of hours in the pool).  If a gazelle is alone in the water the clock basically stops, funny how that works.

To complicate matters, occasionally a little child fish will hop out of the pool and proceed to jump back in as close to the gazelle and with as much water displacement as humanly imaginable.  The gazelle then spends a great deal of time wondering if a physics equation even exists to describe that huge splash. Yet, the gazelle keeps going - intervals, stride drills, more intervals, etc. The gazelle keeps running its heart out underwater and pretending its on a trail instead, because gazelles understand the value of perseverance (this is the moral in case you needed a hint).  Gazelles do have their flaws though - they are seriously impatient creatures, always looking for the next opportunity to actually run because despite the hours of pooltime each week, the gazelles still haven't grown fins in place of their awkwardly long legs, I guess evolution really doesn't happen overnight.  The gazelles are told there's time to run - years in fact, and that the mountains will still be there waiting for them when their injuries have healed. The gazelles are young though, and aren't so sure if this is true, only time will tell. Until our friends the gazelles grow up to be older and wiser gazelles, they at least have a like-minded heard to complain to (in the form of Haikus...yes gazelles are poetic animals) about the cold reality of cross-training.

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