When a Mile is a Mile

For me, Wednesday night is Tempo Night; I get to go and play with the big boys. Being on holiday this week, though, I took last night off – in favour for a massage – and planned to run this morning with Shawn instead.

Late in the afternoon, I got an e-mail from Shawn: Do you want to do a track workout tomorrow morning? It will be fun!

Sure, fun. About as much fun as dipping into Lake Ontario on January 1st.

I hate track – especially in the winter when you can always find the cold wind to run into. Track at 8:00 a.m. doesn’t appeal to me either. But, like medicine that tastes bad, track is good for me. So, I e-mailed back yes and clicked “send” before I could change my mind.

Before going to bed, I checked the forecast: freezing rain. But when I got up this morning, skies were overcast, trees were covered in frost – like the silver on the trees that is found in Newfoundland – and there was no wind. Perhaps the morning wouldn’t be so bad after all.

We started with a two mile warm-up and a slow lap around the track. Not having run track or intervals since early fall, we decided to aim for a 6:50 pace and lined at the start. Then, I turned and walked away: I hate track.

“Okay, I can do this. Are you ready?”

And we took off. At 1000m, Shawn called 4:02. Our first mile was 6:32.

Our second mile was in 6:36. With the first 1000m in 4:06, I pulled myself back into the game.

Mile three started equally strong. Then, at 700 metres, I crashed. I stopped – couldn’t push any more that time around. I lost my focus – simple as that. I looked up at the construction worker who was blasting the side of the school (or something like that) and that was the end. I was pissed. I could do better.

“Let me do 2 more laps. I can still do 800 metres.”

Back to the line we went and I pushed: 3:11 was my finish.

“Now I’m done.”

Halfway back home, my legs suddenly got heavy; I did what I wanted and I proved that I can do more. And that’s when I started to think about my relationship with track.

“I love track,” Shawn said, “because there’s no BS. Sure, you might get wind, but you know that you’re running a mile. Your time is honest.”

And honest times are what it’s all about. And I do want that sub-20 5K so you know that I’ll be heading back there. In fact, since I’ve been home, I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

And, by the way, I will be dipping into Lake Ontario on January 1st too. More fun.

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6 comments

  1. I always whine and complain on the mornings I have to go to the track–usually Tuesdays–but once I get there I tend to surprise myself by how hard I throw myself into the workout. And having a partner helps tons. I almost always do my track workouts alone and it's no fun.

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