Writing, Running, Being.

The finish line is a shifty Thing and what is life, but reckoning?
Ani DiFranco

Saturday, June 6, 2009

track running

There are two kinds of people who run on the track. Fast athletes and joggers. I fall somewhere in the middle. I decided to start doing my "speed" (I use that term loosely) workouts on the track per the advice of Runner's World magazine. Supposedly the track can make you fast. We shall see. Until yesterday, I have always chickened out on these track days. I get there, ready to run my timed miles and I see the cool people already running on the track so I head for the trail, either skipping the "speed" part of my workout altogether or doing my timed miles on the trail. If fast athletes are on the track and I am on the track, and there are only two kinds of people who run there, then I'm the jogger. I don't like that.

Yesterday there were fast people at the track at the start of my workout so I decided to come back to it after 4 miles and promised myself that I'd do my "fast" miles there if the fast people had gone. Only two of my seven miles had to be "fast". When I returned to the track, there was a different set of fast people running, but I decided to suck it up and do my miles anyway. Guess what! I didn't get laughed at, didn't get yelled at, didn't get made fun of (as far as I know), and I did my "speedwork" on the track. I didn't feel like a jogger. The fast people didn't even care that I was there. In fact, upon closer evaluation, they weren't even that fast.

I have created a black and white world for myself where everyone is either awesome or shitty. You're either a saint or a douchebag. No one except for myself is gray. Gray is my favorite color because it is noncommittal. I often find myself running along the margins of black and white pages, looking for a good spot to jump in. Somewhere I might fit in. I'm considering turning everyone else to gray so I don't have to be the outcast anymore. Looking around, there are plenty of middle-of-the-packers.

I don't want to be embarrassed about going to the stupid track. I just want to go there, run my miles and leave knowing I've done something to make myself faster. The track is the thing I've always avoided and I still haven't reached my goal of qualifying for Boston. Maybe that's why. Maybe if I face the track once a week during my training, I will earn myself a place. I am not a jogger. But if I don't do speedwork on the track, then I'm not a runner either.


RunnerDude said...

Good for you Marny! It can be intimidating to run on the track with those speed demons, but I've learned that there's ususally a good level of mutual respect among runners (as long as you don't get in their way, LOL!) Great that you're adding speed work to your routine. Not only will it help make you faster, it will also help build your endurance on longer runs when your not running as fast too!

chris mcpeake said...

One thing I learned about the track. There is always someone slower and there is someone faster no matter what your pace. All good runners know this. Stick with the track and do your own thing and you will get faster