Getting back on the track

Getting back on the track

Yesterday I finally emerged from my 20-week workout-free cocoon! It felt awesome getting back into some fast paced stuff 🙂

The timing actually worked out great because doing my first workout this week allowed me to meet up with one of the local running groups for their first workout of the season. The attendance was a bit sparse due to the heat (100 degrees when we started) but 6 guys showed up.

We met at a local high school and hit the track for an interval ladder – 200, 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400, 200 meters with 200/400/800/800/400/200 m jog recovery. I was the only person with a watch – I ended up timing everything to look at later, but just pacing each interval by feel. I figured that going by feel in the heat would keep me from pushing too hard on my still-recovering toe injury.

When I looked at my watch afterwards I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had hit almost perfectly even splits the entire workout! We were averaging 6:30 pace for the intervals, which used to be my 6-mile tempo pace :S It felt pretty smooth though, and don’t really need to hit anything much below 7 minute pace to prep for my upcoming trail races. I keep having to remind myself that I have only been putting in ~15 MPW as my highest mileage and am coming back from about 17 weeks of extremely minimal training. I just need to stay positive, work back gradually, and the speed will come!

I do think my ability to pace myself gave me a bit of an advantage as far as keeping up with the guys over the length of the workout – a couple of them totally blasted the first 200 and 400 and then dropped off the back of the pack. Not a fun strategy in the 100 degree heat!

Even though these guys were similar to me in terms of speed, it was sort of entertaining hanging out with runners who didn’t run in college. There were just funny things – like no one having watches, doing just an 800m warmup, everyone doing static stretches beforehand (and NO ONE doing any drills. Or strides! Ahhhh!), and guys talking about how loooooong the 2 mile track race is – 8 laps, oh man! I’m pretty sure if I told them how many laps I usually race in a conference meet it would have blown their minds! 37.5 laps…good times 😛 They (perhaps rightfully) would have thought I was genuinely crazy ha ha.

All this was just kind of funny since it was so different from what I’ve been used to for the last 5 years – I totally get that people might just not have learned about how to warm-up properly if they didn’t have a good coach, or that they may have no experience watching and running longer track races (or, understandably, have any desire to run in circles for that long).

However, I did get a little PO’d when some guy joined us half-way through and tried to explain lactic acid threshold to me. You know, cause he just met me, but obviously I must not know anything about running…um, right. I waited til he (finally) paused for air and politely informed him that I majored in exercise science, so yea, I do know what lactic acid is. I think he was a little put out, poor boy.

Overall though, it was a pretty good time and even Mr. Lactic-acid-explainer was nice enough once he got out of breath and had to hush for a bit. I just about drowned myself in gatorade when I got home and threw a few extra cubes in my ice bath – hooray for that post-workout ache!

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