Pretty much every Wednesday morning, I’m on the track with my team. Sometimes I make the 5:45 workout, sometimes the 7:00. I try to make the earlier workout most of the time, but which one I attend largely depends on how well or how much I slept the night before. Last night, Dave and I were out way past my bedtime (at a Henry Rollins show!), so I went to the 7:00 workout, just barely. It was hard to get moving this morning, but I’m so glad I made the workout.
- I like track workouts because many of my team members are significantly faster than I am, and the track allows us to still work out together. We may run on different intervals, and they might lap me (sometimes more than once) or finish the workout before I do, but they are within my sight always, which is nice.
- When I’m groggy, the track feels like a safe place to run. On the trails, particularly in the dark, there is always the possibility that I’ll trip on a tree root or a rock. (It’s not just a possibility. I’ve actually done that more than once.) The track doesn’t have those issues. So a not-quite-awake Taline is pretty safe out there.
- The track is a good place to measure improvement. For example, we’ve been doing 400s. If I’m remembering correctly, two weeks ago, we did four sets of 3 400s, with 90 seconds after each 400, a harder effort on the last 400 of the set, and a recovery break after each set. Last week, we did three sets of 4 400s, with 75 seconds after each 400, a harder effort on the last 400 of the set, and a recovery break after each set. Today, we did straight 400s with just a minute between each one. I did 16 of them (for a total of 4 miles) and held a pace of right around 2:15 per 400 until the last one, which I pushed to a 1:54, again with the help of Ana. I started out aiming for 2:25 400s, but today I was holding 2:15 or better on many of them. That’s clear and encouraging improvement.
- On the track, I can see and hear how others are doing. I hear the times of the speedy people in the group, and they inspire me. I see the effort they put in, and that effort pushes me to work harder. I see people doing the cool down laps that I want to skip, but I don’t skip them because I’m not alone out there. It’s fun to work hard with other people, and my team works really hard.
I love Wednesday mornings. I love pulling up to the track. I love doing the workout. I love leaving the workout feeling accomplished. I never would have expected this of myself, but the track has become my happy place. And it awaits me each week…