Tweener season: The transition from summer to fall

This morning I slept in, having watched a spectacular lightning show after picking Mark up at the airport as he returned from his West Coast adventure. My plan was to go the track mid-morning to do my 800 meter repeats then enjoy the rest of the day. I did my warmup jog to the track only to find — high school athletes. I was afraid of this. With school starting soon, high school teams are beginning to practice and several of them were on the field and track where I normally belt out my speed work. Sigh. I jogged back to my car and drove to a nearby gym where I converted my 800 repeats into a treadmill workout.

A treadmill speed workout has a completely different feel than being on the track. On the track, I try to run a certain distance within a certain amount of time. On the treadmill, I set the treadmill to a specific speed and run that for a certain amount of time. The treadmill offers a more controlled pace and environment but the track is easier mentally. On the track, I can break down the 800 meters into two laps, and break those two laps down into 100 meter segments. Seeing your environment change as I run helps pull me along. Running on a treadmill the only thing that I’m watching move are the numbers on my digital watch. And they move too slowly during these types of workouts.

And yet, I survived just fine. My workout may have been a bit slower on the treadmill than it would have been on the track, but I was putting in the effort, was pretty close to the right pace, and getting all the benefits that a speed workout provides. It also gave me a different kind of mental challenge as keeping focused and strong while really bad 1970s album rock plays on the satellite radio station isn’t easy.

The morning workout reminded me that it’s tweener season — that time between summer and autumn. It’s back-to-school time and while I love everything about autumn both literally and metaphorically, parts of me aren’t quite ready to give up summer. Still, it’s time to begin the transition. I know it’s time not because of the calendar or because the high school kids took back their track but because there I have a feeling of restlessness. My mind and body don’t always get along in tweener season, feeling as if they need to choose between playful creation of summer and the potential of planning and preparing that begins in fall. Maybe if I remind them they don’t have to choose — that it’s all the same speed workout just in slightly different forms — they will call a truce.

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