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.