Road to Eugene: Back on Track

By back on track, I mean back to the track. Back to the local high school track for none other than a — Yep! You guessed correctly! — track workout.

I was supposed to do a track workout last week but with the impromptu Monday holiday trail run, I didn’t know where to reschedule the track … so it didn’t happen … until this week. So it goes.

Starting your week with a track workout isn’t ideal, especially on a Monday after a busy work day. But, my trusty running roommate/former collegiate track star/childhood friend who convinced me to do my first full marathon with her five years ago, came along with me. It was such a big help.

I never doubted that I would complete the full 4×800 workout. (For non-running people: 800 meter repeats, 4 times. For non-track people: 800 meters is twice around a standard track). But after doing the first 800, I was pretty tired. I clocked in at 3:04.2. For anyone who knows my running history, I usually hit around 3:15/20s on a “good day” and 3:30s or slower on bad days. I was flying!

My speed for the first 800 mainly came from the fact that this was my first track workout for the season so I had no clue how to gauge how fast I was going. And, I don’t look at my watch mid-sprint. I just pushed myself to my limit. Joanna didn’t do this first one with me either and since I usually go slow(er) on my own, I just had no idea. I took a few minutes to catch my breath and let that “itchy/scratchy” feeling in my throat subside. (Does anyone else get that feeling when they sprint, or is it just me?)

Joanna ran her warm up laps counterclockwise on the outer lane of the track. Right before I started my second 800, she told me that she would join me for the second lap of it. Off I went again. When I passed her around the first straightaway, she threw her arms up and gave a soft yet cheerful “Go, Kristin!” I couldn’t wave back but I let out a smile. I knew I was going slower than the first 800 just because that first one was too fast (to be able to maintain that speed for three more!) When Joanna met up with me as I came around the track for the second lap, I felt a bit relieved. She stayed on my hip right behind me. We clocked in at 3:20.4 Now feeling more exhausted than after the first 800, it was good to know I was half way done with my workout but also a bit scary to know that well, I had HALF TO GO. Joanna ran the next two 800s with me the entire way. She said she would pace me. I said I wanted to hit between 3:10s – 3:15s. And, with her right by my side, we did.

The times ended up being 3:11.2 and 3:10.4. We ended with the last one being my second to fastest one, so I was proud of that. There’s no way I would have gotten through those at that speed without my friend-turned-track-coach-for-the-moment.

Some people think marathon training is all about them. It’s all about what you, yourself can do. I applaud those people if they can do it all on their own. For me, a lot of it is my own motivation and determination. I plan my schedule to the minute/hour so that I am able to get in all my necessary runs and workouts. But, if it weren’t for the support (both verbal and especially physical) from my friends, I would be no where close to the strong runner I am.

I’m glad to be back on track and can’t wait for the next workout! (Mainly because Joanna says she’ll join me again!)

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