Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a track?

I was trying to do some speed work, and I spent the first half an hour driving around to various places just trying to find a track where I wouldn't interfere with or be bothered by the soccer and lacrosse players.

Stop 1: Community college.

The community college has no track or cross country team. The track is in very bad shape. There are plants growing up through the track surface, the edges are crumbling, and there hasn't been a stripe on the track in several years. Obviously, nobody uses the track. Perfect, right?  The last time I went to use the track, it was unused, and I had the place to myself. The baseball players off to one side, the soccer tournament was using different fields, the cricket players were using the tennis courts. I did my interval session, or most of it, and went home. I say most because my right calf began to tighten up during the last one, and I don't really want to injure myself. I stopped about 200m into the last 600 of the day. So, after that very successful session, I decided to go back whenever I wanted to do interval work.

So, I went back. When I got there, there was a soccer practice taking place on the field inside the track. Pre-teen girls playing soccer. The track was full of parents, and I did not want to be perceived as the creepy guy who hangs around the fields where pre-teen girls are playing sports.

Stop 2: Middle school.

So, I set off in search of another track. I went to a nearby middle school (which used to be a high school), thinking that the current high school would be the place where practices/tournaments/clinics would be held. When I got there, all of the fields were in use. A lacrosse tournament was taking place, and the track was filled with parents and lacrosse players, not to mention flying lacrosse balls. Not only would the track be too crowded to use, it would probably be dangerous with all of the games going on at the same time.

Stop 3: High School

The high school athletic fields across the street from my house are always in use, it seems. I skipped over the track this time, not even bothering to see if it was in use. Instead, I went to a high school in the next town, not expecting to be able to use the track, but hoping that I could. Much to my surprise, the field was not in use and on the track was a single man, jogging around. It could have something to do with the fact that the field was under construction, and the track was stripped away, down to the asphalt foundation. In addition, there was a dirt "roadway" across a portion of the track to allow construction vehicles to cross the track to the field without doing any damage. So, once each lap, I went over a bump where the surface changed from a hard surface to a soft one, meaning that I had no traction during that portion of the lap. So, this means that I have a place to do speed work when I need a track!

The speed work session was good. I was two to three seconds under my goal time on each repeat. I became confused near the end, forgetting where I had started the lap and thinking for a few seconds that I had taken too long a rest, but I got it straightened out in my head pretty quickly.

The post-workout beer tasted good, too.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Heard it Again

I hear it a lot. Most recently, at the last race I ran. "I've never seen a runner smile."

Now, I've seen photos of myself running, and I don't often smile. The look on my face would best be described as stupid. Usually, my mouth is open, jaw slack, eyes partly closed. At the end of the run, or particularly at the end of a race, my head goes back and my eyes close all the way. In the words of David Byrne, "People in ecstasy look stupid."

It's true, runners don't often smile during their runs. But people don't often smile during sex, either. Afterwards, yes.