Track Work …

29 09 2007

I’m starting this stating the obvious … I’m tired.  All I really want to do is sleep, but I know in about 1/2 an hour I’ll be stuffing my feet into my walking shoes and going out for a 10 miler.

When I was in Jr. High I ran cross country and track.  We had a specialty that most teams didn’t have trained into them.  We were great at using the holes in the field to our advantage to propell ourselves forward.  We also were good at running up hills and avoind slipping on eucallyptus acorns.  Our balance was good because we had to stay on the trail around the tennis courts and not roll on those blasted acorns.  Now, they’re redoing the field … and they’re getting a real track.

I didn’t like doing much track training in High School and when I was at San Francisco State I would get SERIOUSLY bored when we were taking timed walkings in a fitness walking class.  Around and around and AROUND!  How insanely boring.  I would plant myself in lane 2 and just go.  I didn’t know jack about racewalking – I just walked fast … and I think I got a B in the class.

Now, I’m finding myself voluntarily on a track.  I started out thinking “How dull and boring…” but I got that out of my noggin as fast as possible.  I set Grethe the Garmin for whatever I’m scheduled to do and I concentrate on my form.  I don’t even look at the times.  I’m not concerned with that right now.  Maybe I should be.  I am concentrating on feeing where my feet are, my knee flick and rolling off my toes. 

Racewalking is a lot of thinking at the same time.  To be legal, you’ve got to have one foot on the ground at all times and to have the knee straight from the point of contact until it’s lifted up again.  I think that’s how it works.  There are a lot of things that can go wrong with that mainly because of focus.

So – I was at the track realizing I had limited time to do my second track work out.  I had done 4 miles earlier and slammed the track work out on the back side of it.  It was the only way I could get the time in.  I also knew that the work out was going to be shorter than I was supposed to be doing, but I had a messy situation I had to deal with.

I walked up to the track and felt the wind blow in my face realizing I was there almost an hour behind when I wanted to be.  It happens.  I stretched and started moving … and realized that I was feeling comfortable on the track.

I probably should camp out in lane 2 or 3, but I was alone when I started so I took lane 1.  I was a bit anxious about the situation I had to deal with and thought “Ok – let’s get going …” then something happened.  It was like one of those calf-skin covered erasers I used to like the feel of when I was a kid wiped across the blackboard of my consciousness.  The first swipe made the thoughts unreadable and the second cleared them away.  All that was left was listening to the wind and trying to keep my footing.

After several laps, other people started to come for their work outs. Most were runners – an older gentleman, a father coaching his son, and a gal.  Next thing I knew there was a racewalker I knew from the running club.  He was in front of me, way out on the outer lanes warming up.  I don’t know him well enough to feel competitve, but it was interesting to be one of two racewalkers out there.

When the watch beeped to let me know my 2 minute rest was over, I didn’t have much time to think about what was around me other than figuring out where the other people were and where my lane was.  I zeroed in on what I was doing … .25 mile … and got the job done.  When the break happened, I checked in with my body and realized more people were coming … and it was time to go. 

I’m thinking track work is completely about focus and speed.  I’ve had focus problems for the majority of my life and maybe I just had to find something that required me to be actively focused.  I’ve got a lot of things to pay attention to and variables that can change with every step.

As I said goodbye to the folks I knew who were coming on the track, I took a look around.  Autumn is coming to Colorado.  Winds, shocks of orange and yellow splattering along the leaves, piles of leaves and branches broken by the wind after being weakened by the snow weight of last year or the dry summer. 

It’s all what you focus on … the beauty of the changing seasons and the fact that a track work out isn’t boring …

Time to go do 10 miles.




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