on the track

Last night was my second time ever training on a track.  Let’s just say I am in love.  Running around the track is FUN.  I signed up for an Interval Training Program with our local running club, the Reston Runners.  The program meets every Wednesday night this summer from 6:30 – 8:00 at our local public high school.  Last week we did a warm up of about 2 miles on the trail and then, after stretching a little, we hit the track for a timed mile.  It was pretty basic and just got me excited to be on the track and to meet lots of enthusiastic runners of all experience levels.  These people are my kind of people.

This week we started with interval training.  We did our 20 minute trail run warm-up to get started.  If you’re not familiar with Reston let me just tell you we have AMAZING trails here and to run on them is a gift.  Especially on a dewy evening in the summer…the colors are so vibrant and the silence is soothing.  Happiness.

Anyway after our trail run we hit the track for some half mile repeats.  I’m not exactly sure what to call these, but they were cool.  We teamed up in groups of three based on our pace from last week’s timed mile.  I was the first runner in my group so I ran once around the track (400 meters, or a quarter mile) and when I came back around another runner from my team joined me for my second lap to make it a half mile total for me.  After my second lap I hopped off the track and the third member of our team hopped on with the second runner.  While they ran that lap I rested/hydrated and then when they came back around I hopped on again for my next half mile repeat (#2 hopped off, so then I was running with #3) and we kept doing this rotation for a long while…I stopped after 6 half mile repeats.  The workout totaled 5 miles but I also did 5 on the treadmill yesterday morning so my mileage for the day totaled 10 miles.  It was a GREAT day and I felt so good and so happy.

There is something about being on that track…something that makes me feel like a “real” runner.  I didn’t run track or cross country in high school and never really was intrigued by it at all, actually.  I played soccer, on a few different teams and all year round.  It was my sport and I loved it.  Running was just something I did to stay in shape and perform better in soccer and honestly I didn’t “get” people who ran “just to run.”  I started running a little in college (and I mean very little and very sporadically) and then after college I realized my love for running when I decided to train for my first marathon.  That was about 11 years ago and since then I have trained for and run 6 marathons plus lots of other races but never have I ever speed-trained or run on a track until this past week.  It amazes me that I never tried this before and I’m so excited to spend more time on the track and to grow as a runner.  I’m learning so much from my coach…so much that I look forward to applying to my own running and to sharing with others.  There does not seem to be an end to all there is to learn from this wonderful sport called running!

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