Track Talk

What does this make, three weeks in a row of track practice? That’s gotta be a record for the year. I was a little (ok, lot) scared of this practice…it’s a hot one out there, and the workout today was a 1 mile warmup followed by a 400, 800, 1200, and 2000. Egad! 2000m? That’s more than a mile! That’s five laps! If you couldn’t tell, long intervals in the heat make me nervous. I know it’s something I’ll get used to, but I’m not quite there yet.

I was a few seconds a lap slower this week. I tried not to be frustrated by this: getting into shape isn’t usually about seeing immediate results. The fact that I’m out here trying means a lot. (You like that? That’s approaching optimism.) I pushed as hard as I could, still trying to get a “speed” workout in despite my legs’ loose interpretation of the term.

After the 800m rep, I started running my “jog” lap (the GTC workouts prescribe a jogged lap between each interval) on the infield. I know this means I wasn’t getting precisely 400m in–and I’ll probably have plenty of bug bites to pay for it–but the temperature difference between the black, shimmering-in-the-heat track and the green green grass was incredible and well worth the price.

I called it a day after the 1200m. The way my pace kept slowing without my consent, I’d end up running it at my “easy” pace, and that’s not why I show up out there.

Why do I show up out there? To get faster, obviously. To have something to blog/complain about every week, possibly. And also…for the relays. Every so often, Darrell and Ed host a 4×400 (or 5×400, depending on the number of participants) relay at the conclusion of the workout. The fast guys become team captains and take turns selecting the rest of their team. You may remember that in the last relay I participated in, Scott chose me with great reluctance. He used the same joke again this time, and the crowd loved it. “I guess…………I’ll take my wife.” You’d better, bucko, because you might find your chilvary paying off.

Tattoo guy, black tank top girl (forgive me, I’m terrible with names), Kyler, Scott and I made up a team. Tattoo guy led off, and GTC President Joe Hammond set a commanding lead for his team. The interesting thing about these relays is that you never know what strategy the other teams are going to use. Our team put our fastest runner as the anchor, others like to lead off with their ace. It generally makes for what looks like a lopsided race at the start but ends up a closer race than you would imagine with such a range of ability levels and track experience. We were in 3rd at the first handoff but 4th at the second…and then Kyler grabbed the baton and TOOK OFF. Scott yelled, “don’t use it up all at once!” but his warning went unheeded as Kyler passed two of the other runners in the first 200m. Now in 2nd, he managed to narrowly evade the bear at 300m to finish his leg.

Now, it’s my turn. Amazing how having a baton in my hand takes me back to the early days of running…and I’m off. The 4th leg of Joe’s team is just finishing the first curve, and I set my sights at reeling him in gradually. I lose hope on the backstretch–it’s too much ground to make up–but after the final turn I’m pulling up alongside the other runner. Everyone alternately cheers, “Go, Tony!” and “Go, Megan!” and I manage a final, tiny kick to put our team in the lead and hand off the baton to Scott before gasping for air.

Scott, of course, is Scott. He takes off, and none of the other teams who saved their fastest runner for last is close enough to touch him. We win the race, with 2nd/3rd coming down to the wire. Darrell, as usual, has reached into the cache of unclaimed race prizes, so we are treated (in our case) to hats or (in others) commemorative bags. Not too shabby. 🙂


6 responses

  1. I’m laughing at the retelling of “I guess….I’ll take my wife.” It’s funny Megs, it’s funny. At least you didn’t get picked last. And nicely done too! Looks like Scotts not the ONLY fast one in the family.

  2. I’m still too scared of the track. It just seems so… boring. I don’t like running in circles i’ve decided. I like nature and variety too much.

  3. I had to leave it all out there at once since I skipped the 2000 as well… So we sandbagged for the relay and it got a new hat WOOOHOO!

  4. I normally don’t wear hats, but Running Buddy wore one for the marathon and she looked very fast and dedicated. Quite Deena Kastor-esque. I may have to try it. 🙂

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