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I faced this sentence in a book:

Ann Trason had expected to be in front, but an eight-minute mile right out of the box was just nuts.

Would you please help me with the meaning? Specially, I can't understand the use of "out of the box."

  • Definition 1.1, Lexico. – Lawrence Jul 17 '19 at 15:09
  • Hello, nada, Please check out the definition and link posted by Lawrence in comment, and see if that does not answer your question. – Cascabel Jul 21 '19 at 0:35
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right out of the box = immediately

Authentic Journeys

Possibly, for this first definition, we can expand the phrase to "out of the box feature" or "out of the box software." Basically, this means using the product straight off the shelf, or out of the store or manufacturer without making any changes.

As in:

Running an eight-minute mile right (out of the box/ immediately at the start) was just nuts.

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  • In fact throughout my searches I got noticed the meaning of "out of the box" feature but it was't easy for me to make a connection between that idea and this sentence, thank you so much for your efficient advice. – nada saboori Jul 22 '19 at 13:22
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Some context would help. According to this Wikipedia article, Ann Trason is an ultra-marathon runner. She has many world records and runs long distances in astonishingly short times.

Depending on the conditions of the trail, and whether a "50 mile" race is actually 50 miles or only approximately 50 miles, the time it takes to run will vary widely. So a pace of 8 minutes for a mile would produce 50 miles in 400 minutes, or 6 and 2/3 hours. Her time for races called "50 miles" ranges form 6:09:08 to 7:31:24.

So it would seem that she was in a race where she had examined the other competitors. And she expected to be in the lead. But another competitor was setting a pace of 8 minutes per mile. Such a pace would seem to be extremely ambitious to keep up for this particular course. So she was very surprised not to be in the lead.

The "out of the box" phrase seems to mean that the other competitor had set this pace from the very start. The phrase "out of the box" usually means something like "from the very start" or "brand new" or "without any other process happening." For example, a consumer grade camera will let you use it to take reasonable photos "right out of the box" meaning without doing anything to it or making any changes or adding anything.

Usually a long distance racer will set a pace that can be maintained for the entire race, with a "kick" at the end. That's a burst of speed intended to beat any competitor who happens to be close either ahead or behind. In this case, the pace at the start was such as to be surprising if intended to be maintained.

So the phrase here means that the competitor was setting this pace from the start of the race. From the starting box so to speak, though usually ultra long races don't have a starting box as such.

My expectation is that the other competitor was probably playing mind games of some kind. Probably trying to get Ann to believe they could keep that pace, and so screw up her strategy in the race.

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  • Yes she is a Runner and I'm reading a book that partly is about her, your explanation was very helpful for me. Thank you so much. – nada saboori Jul 22 '19 at 13:24

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