Thursday, August 10, 2006

Timeless 800m repeats

I took Wednesday as another rest day. I was suffering from a sore throat and general lack of sleep. Long gone are the days when I could party late into the night and still get up early without falling asleep mid-morning. Unfortunately, I’ve been trying to live on 4 to 5 hours of sleep for the last week (without the benefit of a good party) and have certainly felt the negative effects. So I managed to get to sleep before 10 PM last night and set my alarm for 4:45 this morning

Today in Thursday, so it must be track day. This is my favorite training day. I don’t have a clue why I enjoy running around a track. It must be the anticipation of seeing if I’ve made any improvement during the week, or the thrill of testing myself against the clock. What ever it is, I haven’t missed a track day since I found the track at Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) earlier this summer.

I woke up feeling good, got out of bed, searched the house for my Garmin, running shorts, head, etc (someday I’ll learn to get my gear together the night before) and got to track before 5:30. My 75 lb black-lab blocked my exit anticipating a run. He still can’t read a calendar and never remembers that Thursday is track day and he can’t come to the track. In addition, he didn’t get a run on Monday or Wednesday, so he was thoroughly annoyed that he wasn’t going once again. But rules are rules.

For the first time this summer, I was not the first person on the track. There was another gentlemen (about my age) slowly jogging around the track in the #3 lane. I’ve seen this fellow before. He runs way too fast for 100m and then walks 100m and repeats around the track. At least he was in lane 3 this morning.

I started my 2 mile warm up in lane 8 at an easy 9:30 pace. My left hamstring gave me a couple of twinges during the first lap, but settled out completely before I had a mile on my legs. Somewhere along the way on the third lap my Garmin ran out of power and turned off. NOW WHAT WAS I TO DO? I only brought the Garmin along to time my 800s and I didn’t have a back up. Should I can the entire training session and substitute an 8 to 10 miler in its place; or perhaps go home and read the paper? My mind quickly cleared and I figured what the heck, no one was forcing me to run 800s with a watch. Do them watch-less.

Running the first 800 without a watch was down right weird. I got up to speed and focused on my stride and cadence, getting around the first 800 without problem. The 2nd 800 was about the same as the first; just a nice controlled fast (fast for me) pace around the track in lane 1. On the recovery lap of the 2nd 800 I noticed that my running partner was now doing his walk / jog routine in lane 1. I caught up to him again 500m into my 3rd 800 and decided to use this as a learning experience for my friend, who was by now walking in lane 1.

As I approached within 10m, I called out, “track”, no response. I quickly repeated, “TRACK”. He heard me the second time and turned around, not really knowing what to do. He stepped into the #2 lane as I passed and said, “sorry”. “No problem”, I returned. However, I had also dramatically increased my pace as I went by him in my best macho-idiot form. This 100m sprint took its toll on the 3rd 800 and I was huffing and puffing dramatically well before I finished the 800. My little heart was just pounding up a storm on the recovery lap, sweat was dripping off my forehead, and my shirt and shorts were completely socked by now.

The 4th and 5th 800s dragged. Although I felt as if I ran the first 3 somewhere close to my usual 3:30, the 4th was probably in the 3:40 range and I have no idea how slow the 5th 800 turned out, I just wanted to get it finished by that point.

During my 1.5 mile cool down several other runners showed up at the track. It must have been recreational running day in North Phoenix and my invitation got lost in the mail. I've never seen so many people at this track early in the morning. The first guy to show up immediately took off his shirt and started slowly jogging around the track. What is about us males that makes us think this is attractive. Note to all guys over 40 (myself included), watching your flab bounce around in the breeze is not attractive; even when you are thinner than 90% of the population. God invented running shirts for a reason.

Next a guy and girl (probably college age) showed up and started with the usual stretching routine on their cold muscles. I’m glad this works for them. After 2 or 3 mintues of stretching, they proceeded to jog slowly around the track in lane 1. Oh well, at least they had their shirts on. I passed both of them during my cool down and exchanged pleasantries. After my run-in with the soar-puss on Tuesday, it was good to see that most people in Phoenix believe in some from of social etiquette, even if they don’t know how to use a track.

I got home in time eat breakfast and put up with an intense interrogation from the dog before I had to get ready for work. As I peeled my socked shirt and shorts off, I realized how ready I am for this summer to be over, fully realizing that it will be another 6 weeks before the morning temperatures are only frightfully high instead of totally insanely high low.

Hope all is well with your running.

Training for the week

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 6.0, easy, 9:03/mi pace
Wed - Rest Day
Thr - 7.0 miles, 5x800m w/400m recovery


Dusty said...

Sounds like a good workout. Somtimes the best ones are when you don't have a watch - run faster than you think. I think it was worth it to screw up your pace to teach him how to use the track.

The over 40 rule with a shirt - hilarious... and true!

Thomas said...

I bet you wouldn't have minded if the girl had taken her shirt off. I've taken mine off only once, when I felt I was roasting in my t-shirt, a few weeks ago. But I'm still under 40, does that mean I'm in the clear?

Btw, you must be the only runner around who is looking forward to the track. Hmm. I guess this means you're not running hard enough *g*.

carmen said...

You always seem to have the most interesting experiences when you're out running. I think the only exciting thing that happened to me was having a black and white dog follow me around for half a mile. hehe

I can understand what you felt when you thought about canning the run. I felt that way yesterday but I had a lamer excuse. My ponytail was bugging the crap out of me as it bounced. dude running with no shirt?? Gag. lol

Runner Chic said...


You are really having one of those weeks. Glad to hear that you chose to do the track rather than head home.

I often see people without their shirts on... some are good and some are just wrong!!



angie's pink fuzzy said...

this post made me laugh. glad i don't run at the track! (altho I'd probably get quicker if I did...)