Revisiting middle school….23 years later

I think one of the most challenging aspects of speed work is finding a track that is actually open to the public. Most of our high schools have amazing tracks….that have amazingly high fences around them. The local YMCA has an indoor track, but I’m neither a member nor have the desire to do the 18 laps required to get in a mile. Also the track is notoriously crowded. My former middle school has a track, while not the most convenient locale it thankfully does not have a fence.

I will admit I felt a little old when I realized that the track was dedicated to my former gym teacher for his 40 years of service. I did the math and calculated that I had been in his class 23 years ago. For some reason the plaque made me feel old, because it didn’t seem like 23 years ago. Because that particular part of my life that was so challenging for various reasons and felt would never end, it still seems to resonate in the forefront of my brain. But I realized as I stood there looking at the sign, that part of life did in fact end and did get better.  Once I caught site of the track hidden by the newly renovated school I was reminded of the three years of monthly mile runs….all while Mr. Grove yelled, blew his whistle and clapped us to the finish line.

Despite the age of the track it was in decent shape, I would rate it an 8 out of 10. The finish isn’t anything spectacular and there are a couple spots that have imperfections but I’m not going to be too picky when it comes to a free unfenced track.

Last night while Jesi worked the Back To School night at her center I drove the half mile to the track to put in some work. I know, I can hear the groaning now….”you drove a half mile? You’re a runner you should run.” In my defense I knew that I would be doing some intense speed work and I didn’t want to contend with the hills in the small town, I wanted to focus my energy on the training itself not the getting there.

I went to the track with the main goal of honing my 300 meter sprint time and by extension my overall speed. My biggest struggle ended up being the 13895075_813494573928_3697768924045778839_nchildren that were using the track area as a playground. I spent a lot of time stutter stepping to avoid them. Finally after my less than friendly “move” they moved to a different part of the track.

Not only did the children cause me to stutter step and lose precious seconds, it impacted my focus. I found that the second I became distracted I struggled to maintain my pace. It was as if the door keeping the inner thoughts at bay was open a crack and everyone piled in and jumbled around in there.

As soon as I had the track to myself I immediately noticed an improvement in my stride and consistency. I was so worried about those around me and making sure my form looked good, rather than how my sprints felt, that I wasn’t able to properly concentrate on my effort.

When I thought about it this morning I found it humorous that I was worried about what others would think; especially when it’s the last thing on my mind when I am at the marathon running in front of thousands. However, unlike the local track the likelihood I will see any of those people again is pretty slim.

Overall, I am pleased with the training time. I ended up with an overall sub-12 minute mile which is a trend that is becoming more consistent. With some tweaking to my form and making sure that I maintain my focus, I believe that I will shave the 8 seconds I am working towards on my 300 meters. Balance fast twitch and endurance muscles with each other is a fun learning experience.

Tonight will be another 3 miler, though will be done at a bit gentler pace.

I nIMG_6871eed to work the stiffness out of the joints and just enjoy the time. Hopefully my Run Keeper will have an easier time keeping track of my steps, unlike the graphic representation
of last nights session; which should be noted I did not go anywhere BUT the track. Maybe my speed skills are just that good that nobody could keep up?


Where do you do your track work? Are you fortunate enough to have a local track? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Happy Running!


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