Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wackos and backward walkers at the track

Round and round (and round) we go
Today's run (track): 1 mile warm up, 8 x 220 M, 2 mile run = 4.15 miles

I finished my training for this week's 5K with some speed work on the local high school track. I'm always ambivalent about track running because I find the experience excruciatingly boring. At the same time, with its precise measurement and flat surface, the track is a great place to run intervals. Plus, there's always an interesting cast of characters to help distract me from the tedium.

The temperature was in the 70's and the humidity was moderate when I started my workout, with a warm up mile that I completed in 8:19. I wore my Hattori's that I've kept in the closet over the last few months while I ran with the Spira's, Kinvara 3's and my Brooks test shoes. The Hattori's felt fantastic and I'm tempted to go back to them as my regular trainers.

My track-mates included a guy who had about a decade on me, running shirtless. He was covered in sweat and moving at an impressive pace. I wondered how long he could keep that up. Pretty long, it turned out. I suspect he'd been at it for a while when I arrived, and he continued for the first 20 minutes of my workout.

Also on the track was an older Asian woman whom I'd seen before. She circles the track walking backwards. I'm not sure why, but that's her thing. There was a stocky guy with long hair and a beard walking the whole time I was there. I noticed that he'd switched to a trot around the time I was leaving. I also saw two or three other fitness walkers, some fast and some slow, whose orbits coincided with my laps at various points on the track.

One of the walkers was a guy in his 40's who I first noticed when he ran the steps in the grandstand. I expected to see him run when he got to the track, but he walked. He did a couple of sprints and, oddly, it was only when our paths crossed (I'd reversed direction on the track). Was he trying to prove he could run as well? He looked angry the whole time he was there and I noticed that he sped out of the parking lot in his big BMW, with gravel flying, after he'd finished his workout. What a wacko.

I felt good running the 220 splits and averaged 7:01 for that mile. I know I could have done better than that, but my goal was to generate some speed without injuring myself. It had been a while since I did any speed work. I did the last two miles closer to a 9:00 minute pace and I was satisfied with what will be my last training run before Wednesday.

While I'm ambivalent about the track, I can almost guarantee my runner's high after a workout like that. I count on that to help me through the less-than-stimulating experience of running in circles.

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