The radio alarm clock cracked and cackled to the classical musical station, not quite tuned properly on the dial.
It was 4:30 in the morning and a late night at work meant just five hours of sleep before rising for my track workout.
There wasn’t a lot of muttering, though I have to admit that my mind and body were both up but not particularly motivated for this morning’s track workout. Yet, I went about the morning in a matter-of -fact style.
As I have so many mornings before, I met Sue in the village of Orchard Park and we jogged over to the high school track. My workout called for 600 meter repeats at a pace that didn’t seem all that bad. Although running eight of them seemed a bit excessive. At least to me.
“This might be ugly,” I told Sue.
And then I stepped to the line. And a funny thing happened. I cranked out that first 600 way too fast. I slowed down for the next seven, but every single one was faster than my workout called for. Faster? Me? Without trying?
It was true. I wasn’t trying to beat my generous time allotment given by my coach. In fact, I know there was a reason for running them at that pace. But the morning was cool, the wind just slight and my legs felt good. The puke factor didn’t begin to surface until No. 7 and while No. 8 was hard and my legs felt like blocks turning around, I embraced it. It was the last one after all.
Yes, I’ve written about my love-hate relationship with track workouts, something new to me this year. There is science behind it. There is a method to the track workout and a different approach for different race goals. I’m not exactly sure how it works as I’m pretty sure it involves math.
All I know is that I’m feeling stronger on the run. I know my times are getting faster. I know that I’m able to hold harder paces for longer periods of time — and that I’m running better on that final triathlon leg.
Perhaps most importantly, this mornings workout brought no fear. I wasn’t intimidated by it. I didn’t have to roll it over in my head before getting to the track. Didn’t have to work out my nerves with Sue on the warmup jog. I stepped to the line and I ran.
I knew the task before me, shut off the annoying part of my brain that chatters like a 20-something on too much coffee and let my mind and body work together for once to enjoy the challenge of the 600s, to feel myself getting faster and stronger.
It’s all starting to click. And the beauty of it is, the more I trust and accept myself, the more I find I’m able to do without the proverbial struggle and sacrifice. Over time, I’ve taken the drama out of my workout, and have enjoyed a richer experience for it.