5:30, Wheaton College Track, Thursday, May 3. I got there, ran a few laps slow. I could tell that the long day I had endured was not going to finish well on the track. I was tired before I started.
Maybe it was that I have not stepped outside to run in at least a year. Or, was it that I was nervous having not run on a track in over 20 years. That is, run fast. I have done a few miles here and there on a track, but this was different. This was speedwork.
I have been hitting the gym at the local community college for a couple months. I ran on a treadmill. Different stride. Different form. Aerobic, yes, but my pace is not mine. It's the machine's.
When Jim arrived, it was 6:00 p.m. He was trying to work his bike through a tall turnstile. What do you expect from a 3:49 miler? Same as you expect from everyone else trying to get a bike through an uncooperative turnstile: a request for help.
He sent me on to run an 800 warm-up. He looked at me funny, not sure if I understood 400s meant the same as laps, but that's fair.
The rest of the group came back from their two mile warm-up on the Prairie Path. It is a small group, so Jim introduced me around. There were no more than 10-12 runners.
He explained how things will go.
First, six striders. Those are 100 m runs, not fast, but faster than slow. It is basically to loosen up.
Two sets of three 400s, 200 m recovery. The pattern would be two 400s at a decent pace, then the third a few seconds faster.
- First 400 was 1:41. Exhausted.
- Second -- 1:59
- Third -- 2:02
- Fourth -- 1:47
(edited for accuracy 5-9-07)
Overwhelmed? Yes and no. I was not overwhelmed with the workout per se, just my inability that day to complete it.
To say I ran makes it sound better than it was. I suffered. It was part physical, part emotional. I wanted to have a little more fire in my legs, but I had what I had.
Next Thursday, I expect better things. Between now and then, I will try to get more slow running in, something I have sorely missed.
Operative word: Sorely.