Unstuck in Time

Allen, unstuck in time (left circa 1985, right circa 2010)

In Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece, Slaughterhouse Five, the protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, becomes ‘unstuck in time’.  Time for him is no longer linear.  Instead, Billy bounces all over the timeline of his life – one moment he’s a young soldier during World War II, the next instant he’s suddenly  transported decades into the future where he’s a specimen in some alien zoo.

Thursday, while running my second track workout in a month, I became unstuck in time.

I, like most modern day Americans, have become a slave to time.  We’re obsessed with the clock, and for good reason – we must be at certain places at very specific times or face some pretty negative consequences.  If you don’t believe me, just mozy into work any time you feel like it and see how long it takes before your boss calls you into a room.

Heading over to the Johnson C. Smith track after work, I realized that I’d left my Garmin at home.  On a typical day, one with a workout that required me to run at a specific pace, I might have panicked.  But on this day, I was lucky.  Forgetting my watch wasn’t the end of the world since I planned on doing a Fartlek run of jogging the curves and sprinting the straightaways – splits had no relevance. 

Laura and I had planned on meeting at the track.  As I pulled into the parking lot, I received the cryptic text ‘primal fear’.  Laura later explained she had attempted to use her Droid’s voice recognition texting app when she spoke ‘I’m here’ into the phone.  She found the result hilarious and sent it anyway.

We walked over to the track and pleasantly chatted and stretched as we waited for a few hurdlers to finish their workout before we started ours.  As the sun set, the Golden Bulls put on their sweats, removed the hurdles from the track, and departed.  Laura and I were off and running before the hurdlers had left the stadium.

Without my Garmin demanding my attention, my mind was free to wander wherever it liked.  As I began my first homestretch sprint, I became unstuck in time. 

I was instantly transported to 1983 where I heard the roar of the crowd as I sprinted past state champion Reggie Littlejohn in the final hundred meters of the 3200 meter race in our county meet (only to be caught and repassed at the tape, I was gratefully transported back to the present before that part had a chance to reoccur).

Back in 2010, I admired the beautiful view of the uptown skyline as I jogged the first and second turns.

1984 – I strode down the backstretch as my friend and teammate Ken looked at his watch and screamed, ‘You better kick!  NOW!’

2010 – I casually jogged turns three and four of the Johnson C. Smith track.

1984 – I sprinted down the homestretch of Carolina’s track and passed half a dozen recruits in our do-or-die 800 meter time trial.  I jubilantly crossed the finish line and knew that I had secured a spot on the team.

2010 – I passed Laura, grinned, and said, ‘Hey’.

And so on.  What a great workout.  I have no clue what my splits were and, curiously, I don’t care.

Latest Weight Stats
Date: 1/29/2010 
Weight :161.2
Body Fat: 15.5%


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