Do Athletes Dream of Sweaty Sheep?

Cover: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
Jacked From:

Ridley Scott’s film Bladerunner, based on Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, trades heavily in celluloid symbolism and heady questions about perceptions of artificiality boiling down to essentially one question: Are fake things ever even a little bit real?

Rachael, a replicant.
Image via Wikipedia

For example, here’s Rachael, the replicant (an android), who (that?) may be experiencing human emotion, or may be programmed to replicate signs of human emotion. Who can know (and what does the unicorn mean?) Perhaps I digress (Freshman Film Criticism rears its ugly head). What I’m getting at here, is the similarly baffling question: Is fake training ever even a little bit real? By “fake” here I’m not referring to pretend, imaginary, false, non-occuring training, the type in which I participate almost every Saturday morning when I say I’m going for a run but really sneak out to my couch to eat the leftover 1/3 of my Friday Night Frostie while catching up with the Real Housewives in every zip code. By “fake,” I simply mean less than real. To wit:

  • REAL: Running 5 miles on a trail around a lake.
  • FAKE: Running 5 miles on a treadmill in a gym.
  • REAL: Riding my bike 20 miles from my parents’ house to a country cafe for a Diet Coke that tastes unlike any other diet coke.
  • FAKE: Riding a stationary bike in spinning class which reports 20 miles ridden after 45 minutes of be-bopping to Top 40 hits re-mixed in the style of Tijuana House Music.
  • REAL: Swimming in a choppy lake with no break ever lest one’s foot, in search of rest on the lake floor, awaken Nessie, or Jaws, or a disgusting algae covered tree stump.
  • FAKE: Swimming alone in a crystalline lap pool enjoying cushy three-breath turnarounds every 25 measly meters.

It’s unfortunate, you know, living in a climate that is not always conducive to outdoor REAL training. It’s also tough sometimes working later than the gym stays open. And of course it’s tough not living on a lake or river or ocean for convenient pre-, post-, or anytime open-water swims. What I’m saying is that, for all of us, SOME training MUST be done indoors, on a machine, in conditions that less-than-ideally replicate reality. My concern is that this training may not even actually COUNT (gasp. the horror.).

More on Athletes Dreaming of Sweaty Sheep

I started contemplating the metaphysics of working out when I realized that I can spin out 20 miles in a 45 minute spin class without even breaking a sweat. (Ok that’s an obvious lie. I’m sweating just typing this. But still, 20 miles in a 45 minute spin class is roughly as difficult to accomplish as finishing a Domino’s Medium Cheese by yourself – Not. Hard.) But put me on the real bike and I’m feeling like a big shot if I get 12 miles in 45 min. (That’s no lie at all. I really think I’m somebody special when I get that done. I leap off my bike, and flash my cycling jersey like this:

Go on, dust ya shoulder off.
Jacked From:

True. Story.)

So is FAKE training so far removed from REAL training that it’s not even worth doing? Am I really only making appreciable gains if I’m on a trail, not a treadmill? Is FAKE really FAKE at all? Gimme my 1/8 Friday Night Frostie (I was hungry last night!) and rewind to the Christening Scene again.

This calls for serious contemplation.

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