Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Back to the Track!

Back in 2002 when I was a scrawny, little freshman in high school, I decided to join the track team. The first day was a little rough: I barely had any leg muscles and I could only run 1/3 of a mile before I had to stop and walk. That night I couldn't stop coughing because my lungs burned. As expected, I kept running and kept improving. I eventually worked my way up from the 400m dash to the 3000m run by my junior year.

Junior Year High School 2004

By the time I got to college I was mentally done with track, and cross country had won my heart over. I wanted more distance, to be challenged by different terrains (i.e. the mud below), and less speed and the pain that comes along with track work. That desire eventually led to my first marathon in 2008.

Senior Year College - 2008

Once I graduated in 2009, it was up to me to decide what I wanted to run each day. Track workouts were no where near the front of my mind and I did all I could to avoid them.

Until this morning. 

I made my way to the AU track. As Borat would say, it was "Verayyy naaace!" After all of that complaining yesterday about not knowing what my splits were it was about time I paid a visit to a track to find out. 

I already had a 2.5 mile warm-up in me before I started the workout of 3 x 1600m with a 400m jog recovery. Goal pace was 7:00, which should be my 10k pace based off of my last 5k time. I overshot the goal, excited to be back on flat terrain instead of fighting up hills for each interval.

1st 1600m: 6:41
2nd 1600m: 6:49
3rd 1600m: 6:43

The first 1600 was surprisingly easy and each 400 was very consistent. I was pleased with how great I felt. The second one was not as fast, nor as easy. I could actually feel my thoughts changing to be more like what I felt in college training. Rather than focusing on what was good (like the first interval), I was starting to freak out and tighten up. BAD DANIELLE! 

The last interval was better. A group of tennis camp kiddos joined me for my third lap and I managed to beat all but one of them. Dang! I'm supposed to be faster than kids that are on their warmup lap! 

The workout ended with a 2 mile run home. It was nice to find that I actually enjoyed this workout. I was doing it for myself, which meant that my heart was into it. Will there me more track workouts in my future? YES! I hope to have a few of them a month. As much as I would prefer to do only long, slow runs, I need to have the speed to be at my best in a marathon. I know it will come in handy during those last few miles when all I want to do is give up. I can think back to these workouts and all the work I put into training to power me to finish. 

Big News! I should mention, it would be helpful for me to practice what I preach and to make sure I keep up with these workouts. I took an assistant cross country coaching job at a school nearby, which means I better get my butt into gear if I'm going to be expecting the students to be doing the same thing!

Since this morning's workout I have spent most of my time in front of the TV watching the Olympics. I am so addicted to them! Tomorrow is a much deserved day off, and while it may be tempting to watch Olympics the entire time, I'm thinking that it is time to pay a visit to some of those fabulous, and free, museums that fill this city of ours!


  1. Awesome, awesome splits Danielle! You owned that track, lol. Congrats on the assistant coach position as well...how exciting! :)

  2. SO great that u're back on the track!! and u kicked butt on the workout, nothing feels better than dipping in way under goal pace. :) track workouts give us all the love/hate thing...they hurt, but in that weird way us runners get addicted to because it's way too much fun to watch ourselves improve. :)

    1. You are so true! I dread them before I go out, but love them once I'm done.