I’m flying down the straightaway into the setting sun. No, wait, rising sun! I’m so transported by this run that for an instant, I can’t remember what time of day it is. Somehow I’m maintaining an 8 minute pace over 6 repeats of 1200 around the track. This is the fourth repeat and I’ve already nailed the first three well enough to know that I’ve got the whole workout in the bag. I feel fast and strong (and not a little surprised) that I can do this. For a moment, I allow myself to envision finishing a future marathon. Running strong under the finish line arch with crowds cheering and feeling so blessed and joyful.
Track work is new for me this training cycle. As of June 1, I had run on a track about five times in my life. Now, most Tuesday mornings, I can be found at the university athletic center, running around in a circle, trying to go nowhere very quickly. At first, the track made me nervous. It feels very official and runner-ly. (It probably doesn’t help any that we generally have to jump the fence). As Teacher Runner pointed out yesterday, when you’re on the track, you’re staring down the lane in a way that feels antagonistic. The track is not a warm and fuzzy place. But, I’m getting used to it and most of my nervousness has faded. Plus, if you want to get faster, track workouts work.
Every lap around the track is the same. I start running and cross the starting line, pressing the button on my watch. Coming into the first curve, I’m always faster than I’m aiming to be, but I can’t help it. I’m still so excited and nervous. On the first straightaway, I try to settle. Check my watch, find my pace. Rounding the second curve, I keep the pressure on. Second straightaway, let it out. I’m back where I started, but I’m not the same. I’m more tired, but stronger and a little braver. I am finding courage on the track. Who is this person I am becoming? I don’t know for sure yet, but she is amazing.