Running Circles Around Myself

I’ve deliberately avoided track workouts since I did one with Tamalpa Runners about 6 years ago.  I joined the group with my friend Harold.   We thought it would improve our running and help with our speed.

One Tuesday evening we joined the group at the SR High track.  We did a warm up through the neighborhood and then hit the track for the workout.  Or should I say, The Foray into Hell and Humiliation.  That sounds more accurate.

I got in with the slowest group for the 400 repeats.  I came so far in last place that I was lapped by at least half of the first group.  I was mortified and breathing so hard and fast that I thought I’d pass out.   I managed to last the entire workout only because I refused to quit – but I did not go back.

Fast forward a few years and here I am, working with PacWest Athletics as they begin their Marin run program.  Luckily for me, that includes track workouts every Wednesday night, of which I’ve agreed to attend.   I know, I’m soooo very lucky.

Our workout started easily enough with a mile jog around the track.  I’m enjoying the darkness and cool night air.  There are 4 of us warming up and it’s a nice small group.  We are all at different levels so it’s comforting to know that we won’t be lining up with people of Cheetah-like speed.

The basic premise of track workouts is to go at a “comfortably” hard 10K pace for that one lap then recover for a lap and repeat the process a lot of times.    For our group, that was 5 to 8 repeats.  Not too bad to look at on paper, but by the time you’ve done 4 of these suckers and have 4 more to go – it feels like you are ready to cough a lung.

By the time I got done with my 8th lap and was in my cool down mile, I felt pretty good.  I got some great tips from Coach Jocelyn, our group was supportive and we all felt like we accomplished something.

I did have a passing fear that I would not be able to handle the workout the following week but surprisingly I felt stronger at our second track workout.  Even with a slight cold and some soreness from an earlier workout I was able to turn it up a bit and it wasn’t as tough as the first week.

I encourage you all to give the track a try.  Whether you join a group or set up your own workout, you’ll notice a difference.  You might not have Cheetah-like speed, but you will look pretty cool doing 4oo repeats past the dog walkers.

Now go run!


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