Last night I joined my online meet-up running group for a track workout—my first. It was a humbling experience and a fantastic display of heavy breathing, sweat and even tears.
On Monday night I had asked Sonja (as she is our meet-up queen) via email, what exactly is our ‘track’ workout? Her response and I’m paraphrasing: “you run around in circles as fast as you can.” Ugh. She should have warned, they run around in circles as fast as they can and you try to keep up. At least that is how it felt.
The last time I ran around a track was close to 40 years ago, and oddly, on this very same track, which isn’t the only track in town. You can read about that experience in my Memories post. My initial thoughts as I rounded the first corner on my warm up lap was… this is way more boring than running on the treadmill. I had no music, so all I could hear was my heavy breathing and I was running alone as my speedy companions and run group were tearing it up well ahead of me. On the mill I have music and entertainment, the TV. So, the track wasn’t initially all that exciting for me. Plus, it’s never, ever fun to be the one all alone in the back running solo.
I ran a half mile warm up… nothing too strenuous, around a 10:20 pace. Then we gathered around a fellow runner, Kierstan, who posted this workout on our meet-up. I thought she’d be running with us, but she was just giving us the workout plan and timing our laps. Very sweet of her to give us her time. She rattled off the exercises we’d be running-400’s and 800’s blah blah, etc… but being the newbie, she might as well have been speaking Chinese to me, so I just followed along and figured I’d look up and learn exactly what those numbers mean later.
On your mark, get set, go! For a fraction of a second, I was running along with everyone. A second goes by fast!! Then they all sped ahead. To make a long story short… I was behind them all. The whole way. Coming in last. At least 50 yards behind them. Every. Single. Time. (((sigh)))
A One Minute Pity Party
Bear with me for one minute, (you can play the tiny violins if you want) to let me feel sorry for myself and offer up all my lam-o excuses for this sad display of my running abilities. For one, I was sick last week with a nasty cough that seemed to be participating in the Welterweight Championships of night-time coughing. I placed first overall in the event: You just coughed your brains out and could only sleep upright (once with a cough drop wedged between my cheek and gums!) It was a three night tournament, but I persevered. Secondly, I am just coming back to running after my calf strain and my cardio and running seems to have gone down the toilet. Let me explain. The calf strain is better. But my calves have been sore for the last two weeks and I’ve discovered that I am also suffering from Plantar Fasciitis (self diagnosis!) in my left foot-probably since before the marathon 6 weeks ago but thought it was something else. Thirdly, I was just afraid to run hard and re-injure my calf. (I’ll confess, I came home from the run, and cried in the shower). Okay, done. Party over. Hopefully that didn’t take more than one minute!! 😉
Johan was great last night. He said, “would you be willing to listen to some mental advice?” I thought it was awesome that he phrased it that way, knowing that I might not be accepting and open to of any sort of critique. It must have been written all over my most likely tomato-red huffing and puffing face—disappointment. I’m as easy to read as an internet blog. I told him sure, as I’m not an ogre. LOL. He said, “why not think about this next lap differently. Stop beating yourself up. You’re here and you’re doing great. You’re running tonight.” Well played Johan. Well played. I was beating myself up. Just can’t help it sometimes. I did run that next lap feeling proud of myself for not giving up. Sometimes it’s okay to be the last one in. At least I was out there, on a misty raining evening with a great supportive group. So what if they were way ahead of me. Under normal circumstances, I would have been running right there along side them, as Johan pointed out when reflecting on our marathon training runs. He is a great motivator, an accomplished marathoner and his encouragement spurred me on. I started telling myself that this track run will only make me a stronger runner. Johan also pointed out that the track surface might be my best bet for getting back on “track” with my running. Clever, I know. It was a nice springy surface.
This morning I was amazed that I didn’t wake up sore. Last night before bed, I made sure to ice my calves and the bottoms of my feet, yes, both of them, as the right one isn’t too happy either ((sigh)) oops, no pity… The best part of not feeling sore, or tired was that last night’s track run gave me something more than just some speedy times. It gave me back my running confidence, and that is huge! Guess what? I can run and not get injured. I can still run fast (
we er.. I was running at an 8:05 pace some (most) of the time and sometimes even faster! My average pace was 8:33, exactly what I was running when I injured my calf actually. You can just imagine what the group was doing—under 8:00, probably close to 7:00!) Nice job gang, you rock!
My first track workout is the fastest I have run since my injury 8 weeks ago!! So yippie! It can only get better from here.
Lastly, I have put my new Kinvara’s back in their box, temporarily. Until my calves get stronger I don’t think I’m ready for those spritely shoes. Maybe in a month I’ll give them another try.