At one particular track meet I had an interesting experience at my least favorite event. The heptathlon consists of seven different events, those being the sixty meter dash, sixty meter hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put, pole vault, and to finish it all up a 1000 meter race. This is all done over the coarse of two days, four events the first day and three the next with a half hour of rest following the completion of each event. Most of these things were completely new to me and almost all involve skills that I would not say are strong personal attributes. The most problematic throughout the season however was the hurdles. In collegiate men's track the hurdles are forty two inches tall. This is an excellent height for my teammate who is six foot five inches tall but for a more vertically challenged competitor like myself trying the event for the first time, it was an interesting endeavor. The first run of hurdles went very well that day and I actually beat my personal record by over a second, but the timers were somehow thrown off and no official times could be taken so the race had to be run again.
On the second go around the race did not fair as well for me. In hurdles the goal is to take the same number of steps out to the first hurdle, then from one hurdle to the next all the way through the race. A skill I had not yet perfected the first hurdle was an accomplishment, and any hurdles after that I could three step between were a bonus. After such an encouraging first race this seemed like a good time to attempt taking only three steps between each hurdle. Unfortunately this is much more difficult to maintain a high enough speed between hurdles when form going over each hurdle is so poor, and after a fast first hurdle and successful second, I ducked straight under the third. To this day I cannot explain how it made sense in my mind but there was something threatening to separate my upper and lower body and what seemed logical at the time was to duck. This is not exactly a legal action and I was disqualified from the race. Moral of the story, never run hurdles.
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