Sunday, July 20, 2014

Triumph at the Track

Tuesdays are track night.  During the winter, it was uncanny how often the snow and the ice came on Tuesdays and cancelled our track workouts. In the summer, however, precipitation doesn't cancel track. A thunderstorm can delay it (and a really long thunderstorm can chase some of us away).

This past Tuesday I got to the track a little early and it was just starting to drizzle. Marian was already out running laps so I joined her to warm up. We kept running, and the rain grew heavier the longer we ran. I usually only run a couple of laps to warm up, but I found myself continuing to circle with Marian, as we worried that the lightning would arrive and chase us away as it had the prior week. In normal circumstances I would have stopped to save my energy for the speedwork, but I worried that the speedwork wouldn't happen because of the storm and I would lose my opportunity to run at all.

The lightning started and we moved to the overhang of the concession stand. I was soaking wet from head to toe, and rather uncomfortable. When the lightning intensified, we moved to the larger overhang by the school. We thought the storm would move quickly, and we could wait it out. Laura and Karen made the best of it by running sprints, to the great entertainment of the rest of us:

Faster than a speeding bullet, it's Laura & Karen!
[photo courtesy Coach Adam]

The storm lasted longer than we expected, but the lightning did move on eventually. Heavy rains continued to pour. I heard the voice in my head telling me I could go home. I had run a mile and a half already and my shoes were completely soaked. It was still pouring. What kind of quality speedwork could I get in this weather? I could go home and spend more time reading bedtimes stories to Freddy. I was torn. But I turned to the track.

I was scheduled to do two repeats of 800 at threshold, 400 recovery jog, 400 hard, with 2-4 minutes recovery between repeats. I started out on my first repeat and focused hard on achieving the right effort level. I felt the last of my mascara run into my eyes. I ran through puddles that made my feet wetter which I didn't even think was possible. I was truly uncomfortable, but feeling good about pushing through and not giving up. My paces for the threshold, recovery, and hard intervals were 10:10, 12:15, and 8:51. I had hit the marks and felt proud.

I was in the recovery between repeats and the voice was saying I could go home. I did one repeat, it was really solid, I hit the paces, I persevered through really uncomfortable conditions. Go home. Read to Freddy. I talked to Coach Adam and said I couldn't do another repeat. He said of course I could. I then corrected myself and said he was right, I could, but I didn't want to. I wouldn't be able to run the same paces I had just run.

And there is was. The fear. I'm not good enough. If I can't do it perfectly, why bother. And Adam said the right thing to break through those thoughts. He said I don't have to run those same paces. I can back off and slow it down, but still go through the same relative intervals. That completing the volume of training that I had planned was the important thing. It was like a light bulb in my head - don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It was okay to go out and do another repeat at slower paces. So I said to Adam, you are right, I can and I will do another repeat. And I did. At 11:19, 12:59, and 9:46. And I felt pretty darned triumphant when I did go home and read Freddy his bedtime stories.

We did it!


  1. Good for you! I never do track runs anymore but I am sure they would improve my run times.

    1. This is my first season of track runs it will be interesting to see if I get faster. Well, technically my second season, but I didn't really follow the workouts properly the first season. I just showed up and ran because I didn't understand them ;)