I skipped last week's track workout, so I had butterflies in my stomach as I drove to the track tonight. Well, it was either anxiety, or the Entemann's mini chocolate-chip muffins I scarfed in the car on the way.
Hey, I was hungry.
At the track, about 20 men and women were already stretching. Meanwhile, several shirtless men zoomed by. Turns out they were distance-running champs and Olympic marathon qualifiers such as Michael Wardian. Good company, although they ignored us plebes.
The workout: 6 X 800, with 400 jog recovery in between reps. Coach G. stressed that we should not run like crazed maniacs, but at a controlled pace. The aim: hit our 800-meter pace, based on our marathon goal time, as closely as possible.
My marathon goal is 3 hrs 45 min or better. So according to Coach's chart, I should run about 3:36 for every half-mile split. How I fared:
1st 800: 3:30
2nd 800: 3:38
3rd 800: 3:30
4th 800: 3:37
5th 800: 3:37
6th 800: 3:33
But I didn't puke: The first 800 was tough. It was also a bit too fast. I wondered how I would finish five more repeats. But I settled in on the second rep. A group of teenage boys then flooded the track as they warmed up to play Ultimate frisbee on the field. They hooted as I ran past, but I ignored them.
I felt better as the track workout progressed. At the end, I felt so relaxed that I did an extra rep, ripping a 400 in 1:31. Note to self: Be diligent about track workouts. You always feel so much better - both mentally and physically - afterwards.
Whatever happened to sisterly support?: Coach reiterated that we should not compete with each other, but instead help each other out. I try to follow his advice. Unfortunately, there's always one or two women who want to beat me.
Not that I'm the fastest. Far from it. So I think it's funny that they pick me. Whatever. I usually let them go. It's not a race. But sometimes, I say, "What the hell," and blast by them in the last rep.
And it feels good.