My love/hate relationship with track

So, I’ve written a couple times that I train with a running group and I really like it. They offer three group workouts a week so, if you want to and it fits yours schedule, there’s really just one run a week that you need to do on your own. And people think running is an individual sport!

My class schedule has for the most part prevented me from going to track. Well, class schedule and I’m a big baby in the summer and there was no way I was going to track when it was +90 degrees with a billion percent humidity. Last winter I went to track a couple times and it.was.so.hard. But then I felt awesome afterward. I felt like I’d had a really great workout and a couple times ran faster than I thought I could!

This is what I wore to track last night:

I wore six layers on top (and that was probably too much, I felt a bit like I was in a straight jacket) and two pair of tights (which is not as clear, but I tried to show in the photo).

I wore six layers on top (and that was probably too much, I felt a bit like I was in a straight jacket) and two pair of tights (which is not as clear, but I tried to show in the photo).

Okay, so probably a bit of overkill, but I wasn’t cold! Well, except for the tips of my fingers (even in gloves) and my chin. But I was just so excited for track! Starting next week (ugh) I’m going to be in class on Tuesday night again so I won’t be able to go to track. Because of holiday traveling and class, there were only two Tuesdays when I would be able to make it to the track workout and the first was cancelled because of ice. So I had to go yesterday! Even though it was cold (those of you in the midwest, I realize our weather this week is completely normal…but in Washington terms, it’s cold). And I usually don’t run outside if it’s below 15 degrees. I got in the car after the workout and the first thing I hear on NPR was, “13 degrees with a windchill of -2 in northwest Washington.”

When I think about track workouts, it is very rarely with any sort of fondness. They are hard. An hour long track workout is harder than a 3+ hour 16 mile run in my book.  With a long run, you eventually set into a rhythm and just go for a long time. One foot in front of the other and eventually it’s over. Plus, usually we have plenty of things to talk about so the time goes by faster than you might expect.

That doesn’t happen for me on the track. Running in circles is boring and hard and mentally challenging on its own. But then, they throw in intervals and specific workouts and crazy stuff and before you know it you’re running really fast or a coach is in front of me keeping pace and I can’t fall behind and then I finish the lap and feel like my legs might fall off, my lungs explode and my heart beat itself out of my chest. And I’m really not that fast.

But the sense of accomplishment after a hard speed workout is equal to (maybe more?) than the sense of accomplishment following a long run. This took me awhile to come to terms with. I’m a slow runner. It’s part of who I am: I run. I run slowly. But I run a lot. Who needs to be fast? But then when I do run fast, it’s like wowza, that was fun!

So track last night, while short and cold, was fun. I ran fastish for a little while and felt good (I’d done some strength training in the morning and was surprisingly sore so I held back a bit…apparently two weeks off from lifting makes a big difference). But, I wish I could do more track workouts the next few weeks. Just one more things to look forward to after graduation.

P.S. A non-running related photo, but I’m happy to be reunited with the best cereal bowls on the planet:

And yes, I realize the spoon is not resting in the spoon rest.

And yes, I realize the spoon is not resting in the spoon rest.

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