Wednesday, June 13, 2012

First Track Workout EVER

It's Track Time....In my head I am saying that like the opener of "You Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer......(You know, It's Hammer Time). Don't ask me why. I am a child of the 80s, I guess. (Or would that be 90s? Anyhoo....)

So, yesterday evening was my ~ drumroll, please ~... FIRST....TRACK....WORKOUT.....EVER.  Period.  And I was incredibly nervous about it for some reason.  I wish I knew what intimidated me about it so much.  Perhaps it was the flashbacks to high school gym class I suffered whenever I thought of it - the idea of being last and having everybody wait for me.  Perhaps it was wanting to avoid having the world see just how incredibly slow I am.  Or, maybe, just maybe, it was that I didn't want to know myself just how far my laziness and lack of motivation go.

You see, the crux of the problem with me is that I am slow, but I am unmotivated to punish myself to get faster.  I am Lazy, with a capital L.  Back in college I used to joke with my roommate that the only way you would see me run is if I were being chased by someone.  I am just not motivated to push myself.  Well, somehow I got over the "never run" part, but I still lack that "killer-instinct, go-for-the-jugular" gene that most people have.  I have conditioned myself to such a degree to accept that I don't care if I get faster that pushing myself to go faster just seems like a foreign concept to me.

And, that is why I really need a Track Time class.  I won't go faster on my own.  However, if I have someone telling me what to do, maybe - just maybe - I can break through the mental barricades I have in place.

So, showing up to yesterday's Track Time was a HUGE thing for me, and also nerve-wracking.  Luckily for me, they had planned a nerve-calming activity to get us started - namely filling out more paperwork than I have seen since giving birth.  We had the typical "don't-sue-us-if-you-die" forms, but also some questionnaires that - if the coaches actually read the answers - will help them get to know us better: a lot of questions on goals, PRs, injury history, how running and meeting goals (or not) makes us feel, etc.  I am not sure about that last one.  Why do they want to know how we feel if we don't meet our goals?  Are they afraid we will go postal if we don't do a sub-5 mile by the end of the summer?

There were two coaches for the class and they were great.  After filling out our ream of paperwork, they started the actual teaching part of the class by taking us through a few drills.  Fifty yards each of butt kicks, high knees, skipping high, skipping long, and then some accelerations.  Those last ones I kind of liked. I have to say by the time we were done with our "warm-ups" I was already out of breath and ready to sit down for a while.  Not a great confidence builder right before your time trial.  Instead of sitting down, though, it was on to a warm-up jog.

So, the Time Trial. I have to say I was really dreading this for the aforementioned reasons.  I just didn't want to know how fast I could go while at the same time I really wanted to know how fast I could go (I was very conflicted apparently).  We were given the choice of doing a one-mile or a two-mile time trial.  The idea was that if you were shooting more for 5Ks and 10Ks, then the one-mile made more sense; half marathons or marathons, then the two-mile.  Mentally, I was all set for the one-miler, because I didn't actually know there would be a two-mile option, but given the reasoning, I ended up going with the two-miler.

Let me start by saying that the Time Trial was really hard! I had no idea if I should try to start out slower and build up speed or just sprint from the get-go. I guess I figured since this was a time trial, I should just try to go as fast as I could.  So, when it was ready, set, go time, I went.  I sprinted around the track for my first quarter mile in 1:37.  The first clue that this was too fast for me was that I was one of the first people around the track.... I am NOT that fast.  Halfway around the track for my second lap, my legs were already starting to feel heavy.  One nice gal let me know as she passed me that I was supposed to move in to Lane 1 to get the most accurate measurement, not stick stubbornly in lane 4 like I was.  Who knew?  (Seriously, folks, I have never done this before.)  By the time I was done with my second lap, I was already trying to convince myself why I shouldn't stop at the one-mile point and call it good.  I really struggled with that decision, so that even after I passed one mile I was still asking myself why I didn't stop.  Anyway, long story slightly less long, I did my first mile in eight minutes and my second mile in nine.  So, 17:00 total for the two.  Not bad, I guess.  A friend of mine predicted I would finish my first mile in 8:02, so she was pretty right on for that.  I guessed 9:02, so I sort of win, too (if you count the second mile as the first).

After the time trial, we wrapped up our track workout with some fartleks.  Basically, we jogged in formation in a long line, and the person at the back had to sprint to the front of the line and set the pace.  We kept this up for one mile, and I got to sprint to the front twice.  We did about eight minutes worth of stretching at the end and then we were done.

I was a bad blogger, so I failed to get some pictures - hopefully next week.  And, there will be a next week. In the end, I will admit that I kind of enjoyed the track workout.  I mean, I hated the time trial - too much pressure for me somehow.  But I really had fun doing the accelerations and the fartleks.  And, the squishy feel of the track was nice.  I think running as fast as I can for short distances appeals to me.  I like the way it feels to go fast; I just can't maintain it for longer than a sixteenth of a mile apparently.  I guess I have some hope that doing the track workouts will help me get marginally faster, and maybe I will be able to get closer to that goal of doing a four-hour marathon.  Hope springs eternal!

After the workout, getting to sleep last night was not the easiest. My body was all energized after running and then adding some food to the mix didn't help.  I slept horribly.  Getting up for my Wednesday morning group run was challenging but a lot of fun.  We've moved to summer hours, which means meeting at 7:30 a.m.  That was a little rough, and I wonder what my body thinks about doing speedwork and then running again twelve hours later.  I am hoping that it will just sort of consider this all as one run and not hold it too much against me.  We'll see.  My plan was to go out and do an easy three miles, but I ended up doing 5.3 miles at a 9:36 average pace.  This is the danger with the group run.  So far, so good, but I will have to watch closely to make sure I don't hurt something by doing the infamous "too much, too soon."  Luckily, I don't have to run again until Friday evening, so there should be plenty of time for rest.

In any case, I hate to give up the group run.  Today was just another lovely reminder of why I do it.  Run done, and then coffee and chat for another hour and a half.  A great way to start the day - made sweeter by the fact that with the earlier start time, the coffee hour is actually at a more acceptable coffee drinking time.  I am already looking forward to the weeks to come.

Happy Running!


  1. I did Track Time last summer and loved it. I learned so much about running and about my ability to really push myself (at least when others are watching). Have fun!

    1. Thanks! I'll try! I wasn't kidding when I said that this speed work thing really intimidates me. It's good to hear from a Track Time veteran that it's worth it!

  2. Having coaches and direction would be awesome for speed work! I find that I am naturally unmotivated to do speed work. I think that's partially because I don't really know how to do it correctly. First world problems.

    1. Exactly! First world problems, indeed. I have to say now that I have gotten over the scary time trial thing, I am really looking forward to the rest of the summer - well, at least until our final time trial at the end of the session. (I think they are going to make me do the two miles again :( Bummer.) I am open though to learning this, and I want to learn. So, that is positive.