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Thursday, September 13, 2012

field tripping to the track

I feel so lucky to have a local high school track so close to where I live.  I LOVE the track.  As hard as the workouts are and as intimidated as I may be each and every time I show up, I am always buzzing with energy when I go there.  Completing my track workouts consistently are without a doubt one of the reasons I have been able to improve as a runner so much over the past year.  I believe in them and am dedicated to them and I will absolutely commit myself to showing up there every week to get it done.

But I have never, not even once, had to go to the track alone.  All thanks to the most amazing friends and running buddies - the honey badgers.

There are just some things I know I would not do by myself.  And running to the track at 5:15 in the morning, in the pitch black dark, is one of those things.

Now that school has started we can't park in the high school parking lot for our morning track workouts - the buses and students arrive before 7am and it is COMPLETE chaos.  So instead, Team Honey Badger meets at our local Starbucks just about a mile from the school.  We put on our head lamps and our back packs and take a field trip to the track.  It feels like an adventure.  It feels totally badass to me.  We run along the lake and through the woods (somewhat creepy) and then descend upon the high school track.  It is a really awesome feeling.

head lampin' at the track
Yesterday morning we had a beast of a workout to tackle.  Just like every week, I was nervous about it. The workouts are getting longer and harder as I near the peak of my training (race day is just over 6 weeks away).  The workouts have so much purpose though - building endurance at faster paces.  Teaching me to control my speed and push through and turn it ON when I am my most tired and mentally drained.  They are working.

Here is how things went yesterday after we warmed up for 2 miles (one mile on the way to the track, the other mile around the track). I took 2 minutes rest between each set, drinking some water and walking a little bit before starting up again:

1 x 3200 (8 laps around the track, or 2 miles)
For this workout I was supposed to start at marathon goal pace (7:40) and build to lactic acid threshold pace (6:45ish).  Mile 1 clocked in at 7:12, Mile 2 was a faster 6:47.  I think I ran too fast for the first mile (I never saw a 7:40 on my watch) and possibly too slow for the second mile ... but I felt really good about how I ran it.

1 x 1600 (4 laps around the track, or 1 mile)
This interval was to be run the same way as the 3200 - starting at race pace and building to threshold.  I clocked in at a 6:43.  I think I ran it right.  It felt good.

4 x 800 (each set was 2 laps around the track, or 1/2 mile)
My goal for these was to nail them somewhere between 3:04-3:12, the paces McMillan suggests for a 3:20 marathon.  I hit them with the following times: 3:10, 3:05, 3:04, 3:07.

Running those 800s as fast as I did after 3 miles of controlled fast running was TOUGH.  But it made me feel strong.  And I was SO HAPPY when I was finished.  I was in an amazing mood, excited that I got it done and that I did what I came to do.  I put my back pack on and the honey badgers began our cool down mile back to the Starbucks...

ready to head back!
The run back to our cars was so beautiful.  Early morning sunrise running is hands down my favorite time of day to run.  I feel so blessed to see the world waking up ...  It's just beautiful and magical and so full of promise.

Lake Audubon
Arriving at Starbucks after 8.25 miles of running with 5 fast miles in the middle ... well that is just the absolute perfect place to end a run in my opinion.  My favorite thing to get after a workout like that is a soy white mocha.  So yummy.

I love our Wednesday morning field trips to the track, and I am so thankful for my friends for doing this with me.  We are making amazing memories together, and words just don't do the job in expressing to each of them how awesome I think they are - how grateful I am for their friendship.  In running fast or slow, long or short - and more importantly, in life.

2 comments:

Wow. I am beyond jealous when I read about you having friends to meet at Starbucks at 5:15am to run track workouts with you! I would get up at any hour of the night/early morning if it meant having someone to run with me. It sounds like you already realize it but you are SO lucky! I can say I have never, not even once, gone to the track WITH someone else!! But a girl can dream, right? Maybe one day I will find my Princess Charming who will sweep me off my feet and agree to early morning track workouts. :)

And it sounds like a very tough morning at the track, by the way. Congrats on nailing your times. The best part is to have that over so early in the morning and then the smile just stays on your face all day!

That is so awesome....sigh, wish I had running buddies, but I am just thankful to be able to run again after my pelvic stress fracture 5/23/12...not quite back to normal but getting there...blessings and thanks for sharing.

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