I remember a time in my training cycles that I would literally countdown the number of speed workouts I had left until my goal race. While I loved tempos, I never really embraced track workouts. I dreaded the heavy breathing, leg burning pain and the feeling that the rest between intervals is always WAY too short.
Last summer, that changed. I am not sure if it was a renewed energy from lowering the goal paces I held onto for 2 years or because I changed my track routine, but I slowly started to find myself falling in love with speed workouts. Prior to last summer, I would go to the track with the track club or in the afternoon after work or do speedwork on the road. But at some point, I realized that the Greenville High School track was exactly 2 miles from my front door. It was the perfect warm up and cool down distance and early in the morning I was nearly always completely alone on the track. Something about having the whole track to myself, in mostly darkness, became so appealing to me. I LOVED my mornings at the track.
Then we moved.
I asked around about tracks in Chicago and there were a few kind of meh options. Nothing was close enough to run to and even if I drove, parking was an issue or it was a paved track or it was only 320 m (??) or maybe the gates would be up on the inside lanes and I would have to run on the outside (not the end of the world, but not ideal). Then earlier this week, Erin told me about a BRAND NEW track not too far from her house. There’s parking, a rubberized surface, it’s a standard 400 m, open 24 hours, well-lit, etc. PERFECT.
All week I have been looking forward to checking it out. It is about 5 miles away from my house and at 5 a.m. it only took 15 min. to get there. As I pulled up, I am not ashamed to admit that I got butterflies because I was so excited. I found parking immediately and walked out to this:
It was so nice, I didn’t even want to spit on it! There was a light fog covering the infield and it was hot and humid as hell, but I was so happy to be there. I ran with Erin and Linton for a bit as they were finishing their workout when I arrived, then, once again, I was all alone in the dark on the track.
For me 800’s are the hardest of the track workouts, but this morning I felt like I was flying! I love how much more I can control and gauge effort on a track vs. on the road. My A5’s and I went ’round and ’round, walking the rest intervals, then starting back up again when 2:00 were up. It was hard. And it hurt. But I loved every minute of it.
I am really happy to have found another track to go to. I know some people despise the track or don’t mind running on a paved one, etc. But I was so spoiled in Greenville and it really did become one of my favorite things about marathon training, so I am super happy to have that back in my running world. I can’t wait to go back next week 🙂
(Chicago friends: Email me if you want details of location, times I am going, etc. I am happy to drive if anyone who doesn’t have a car wants to join me)