Track…Track!

The theme of early summer this year seems to be rain. Wet, misty, pouring – we’ve had many damp days. To be fair, it makes the beautiful sunny days even more enjoyable.

This evening was more the former than the latter, and was also our first night of speed work on the track for Run Camp. This always means, for the summer, the dreaded timed mile.

I arrived at the track full of apprehension. I always push myself so hard, and I always want to do better. My last all out mile last season was a 6:59. Sure, I’m not breaking any speed records, but I run my own race.

As we took to the track to do our warm up, the fluttering of my heart did not abate. I put pressure on myself to perform.

Finishing the warm up and strength, I decided to launch right into the timed mile bit – to get it over with, rather than dragging my feet. So I went for it. Zoom. There was a bit of weaving in and out of people doing a slower mile before their fast one, there was a bit of gasping, there was a bit of hoping I wasn’t going to fall over.

It usually helps me to have a mantra, or some silly phrase I can repeat. As my feet hit the track tonight, thumpthumpthumpthump, with every footfall came a word, “this is lap 1, this is lap 1, this is lap 1….this is lap 2, this is lap 2, this is lap 2….”

Sweat dripped from my body, as I pushed myself harder, my legs pumping faster. I usually compare the long slender legs of those taller than my 5’2″ frame to Gazelles. Myself? I’m a corgi, little legs going as fast as they can to propel me forward.

No looking at the watch, no looking down, just straight ahead, focused. “This is lap 3, this is lap 3, this is lap 3…I think I might die. Keep going.” Lungs bursting, gasping for breath, humidity pressing down, me pressing forward. It begins to sprinkle.
“This is lap 4, this is lap 4 this is lap 4…almost there, almost there, almost there.” Done.

I finished in 7:09. This is not exactly where I hoped to be, but pretty close. I catch my breath, the rain begins anew. The rest of the workout, 2 easy miles, is finished in the gentle patter of early summer rain.

Two years ago was my first Summer Run Camp Season, my first Marathon training season. My first timed mile. I had similar feelings of apprehension. I didn’t think I was fast. I didn’t think I’d get faster. My first timed mile since elementary school was a 7:37. I was impressed, though skeptical that I’d ever get faster. I remember thinking that I would never be able to repeat that. My second timed mile that season was a 7:27. I wrote that day on Daily Mile “Not too shabby for someone who even in Elementary school could never manage more than a 9-something minute mile.” My third and fourth that first season were a 7:06 and a 6:52 respectively.

I got faster, and I will again. All of this is to say, that I’ve come far. Who knew that running in circles could be so beneficial, and be such cause for reflection?

I still don’t necessarily relish track workouts. They are not the things I look forward to most. But I know how much they help. The proof is in the numbers.

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