This morning marked the first track workout of the season.

I got up just before 5:00am and my house was absolutely quiet.  Everyone was sleeping silently in their own beds – they had all slept through the night.  This was a treat because it has not been the case for the last few nights.  Abby has been out of sorts with the new summer routine and Baby Gus has been very unsettled due to the four giant teeth he is getting all at once.  Having had a solid almost 7 hour stretch of sleep was like magic.  Sleep is golden.  Oh how I love sleep.

I walked outside and the air was thick and soupy.  Summertime has arrived in northern Virginia.  It was close to 80 degrees at sunrise this morning and I knew it was going to take a certain amount of resolve to not let it get to me.  I just kept telling myself to be thankful the sun wasn’t beating down on us -THAT was a good thing for sure.

There was a small group of us at the track including my buddy Chris who was running his first ever track workout.  This made me so happy.  A year ago he wasn’t even running at all yet – now he is 25 pounds lighter, a 3:47 marathoner, an ultra runner and has logged 1,000 miles in 2012 to date.  He is a rock star friend and training partner.  He inspires me every day.  He makes me laugh.  He supports me and doesn’t let me whine or complain, though he listens to me patiently whenever I need to vent about something.  I am so excited to be training for another marathon with him and am totally geeked-out thrilled that he is coming to the track with me this season.  I hope he loves it there as much as I do.

We warmed up for an easy mile and then got to work right away.

I am aiming to train at the paces for a 3:20 marathon this cycle.  Based on my most recent race performances and how I have been feeling with my long run paces, I think this is an achievable goal.  It’s not going to be easy and in many ways it totally scares me – but it is a DREAM for me and I am going for it.  I’m not going to let my fears stop me.

I surprised myself today.  I ran quite a bit faster than my goal paces and I felt GOOD and STRONG and CONSISTENT doing it.  It was an awesome way to start the season.  I love running around in circles.

Target: 6:48-6:57
Actual: 6:23

Target: 3:23-3:27
Actual: 3:09, 3:09

Target: 1:41-1:44

Actual: 1:33, 1:30, 1:28, 1:28

Normally I would be totally freaked out about running this much faster than my target paces at the track, but I was consistent and felt like I had more in me when all was said and done so I know this was solid training.  I went through this a lot over the course of the last year – and I am learning that as you get faster you have to adjust things in order to keep improving.  If I felt like I was only hanging on by a thread or if I felt as though I was dying between intervals then I would have slowed down.  I am going to listen to my body and pay careful attention to what it is telling me, always.  The time on the clock has a way of freaking me out and I am learning not to let it do that.  Especially when I am feeling so good.

The track is a happy place for me.  I feel strong and determined and free when I am on it.  I like the intervals – I work on my mental toughness as much as my speed when I am there.  It is a beautiful place and I especially love it on early summer mornings.  The day is new and the sun is rising.  I am filled with hope and happiness out there.  I love watching my friends push themselves around the track – they are so beautiful and so strong.  We are each our own unique selves, yet unified in our love for the sport and in our fight for our dreams.  I am so excited that summer is here and that I will be spending one morning a week running around and around in circles at this place I love so much!!!

14 thoughts on “today

  1. How do you find these track clubs?! A friend of mine is on one in Charlottesville and loves it! I definitely want to get faster and I think this is a good way to do it…plus to make more friends being new to the area! Thanks and AWESOME JOB!

  2. Thanks!! I train with my local running store's group – they usually meet on Thursday evenings in the summer but there is a small group of us that prefer morning so we go together then instead. We meet at the local high school track which is open to anyone in the summer! Also our town has a running club and there is a mini-group within that called the “Morning Stars” and they were out there yesterday too which was fun. It is a great way to meet people and be inspired! I love the track!

  3. This post is exactly what I needed today:). Your words about running despite the summer heat have just pushed me in a positive direction:). I too, have a love of the track. I am a former 59 second 400 meter runner:). The 400 meter was my race-my heart and sole:). I am returning to track workouts as well next Tuesday with a local running club. Thanks for the continued words of motivation:)

  4. Great job on the track! You so have your 3:20 in the bag looking at your splits. Very exciting!

    I just got back to the track last week too–my numbers didn't give me a boost of confidence right now, but I'm working on getting it back!

  5. Awesome job, Jess! I finally found a group to link up with for track workouts, but they're taking a break for the Texas summer heat… I'm itching to work with them, I do so much better when someone is pushing me! And the track at the nearby university is only open to groups, so I have to do speed work on my running path or the treadmill right now… yuck. Yay for training for a 3:20- that's so exciting!

  6.! I had my first-ever track workout tonight. I went thinking that I'd just go for the talk and a jog given the heat, but I ran anyway. It was awesome. I wore my fast shoes and felt fast, too! I'm hopeful that this season's track workouts will give me confidence to pick up the pace in longer runs too.

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