It was still dark out when I left the gym. Let's not even talk about how cold and dark it was when I arrived. This was crazy. I'm pretty sure I've lost whatever common sense I once might have possessed.
I'm not a morning person. If I enjoyed getting up early to run before work or school, I probably could have been a much more successful runner in my prime. But getting up early to get a workout in has just never been my idea of fun.
That's why for the last several years, while many of my fellow Elmhurst Running Club members have run track workouts during the winter months at York high school, I have not been able to get out of bed in time to join them. Did I mention the workouts start at 5am?
I enjoy running on the track. There's something comfortable about the environment for me, and I fall easily into the a rhythm on the track. It feels great to run fast. And it takes me back to younger days of track practices and meets. Just not at 5am. But for some reason, this week, I vowed it was finally time to force myself out of bed and go.
So I set the alarm for a time when, years ago, I might just be getting home. I laid my running clothes out, and I mentally prepared myself. Mind you, I've been nursing an injury, so I haven't run in a couple weeks. And I planned to only run pretty easily on the outside of the track while most everyone else did the 400 meter repeats.
Somehow, I woke up about 5 minutes before my alarm went off. I drove to the school, and the parking lot was empty. Then I remembered the email that mentioned parking would be in the back of the school, by the entrance to the indoor track.
There were several dozen cars parked there, and runners gathered by the doors waiting for them to open at 5am. It was the first track workout of the season, and there was a large group waiting to run. These are committed runners, and I doubt New Years resolutions are a factor for many.
Many are training for early season races, and doing some faster running on the indoor track is one of the best ways to improve fitness and speed when the roads and trails are full of snow and ice. Still, I was amazed at how many people will get up in the middle of the night so they can start the day with a fairly hard workout!
On tap Thurday was 12x400m, with a 60 second recovery between each. When I'm in shape, this sounds like a fun workout for me. I love the 400 meter distance, and it's a great opportunity to get used to running a faster pace. This day, however, there was no way I could do the full workout.
So I did the first one with the group, then jogged a couple laps, and jumped in for a couple more. I jogged some laps in between, trying to take it easy on my injured heel. It was a tease. I felt like a slacker, only doing a couple of the faster intervals, while the rest of the group did the full workout.
But after taking the better part of the last few months off, I don't want to rush back to soon and find myself back at square one with my injury. Fortunately there were several different pace groups completing the workout, and several others jogging on the outside lanes of the track.
It was good to be back among runners, and great to be on a track again. There are lots of races coming up, and I hope to be healthy for them. Unfortunately, I have to miss the F3 half marathon next weekend. I won't be ready for that. But I'm signed up for two other favorites in the spring, including the March Madness half marathon in Cary, and the Fleet Feet Soldier Field ten miler.
March Madness has been sold out since about five minutes after registration opened, but if you are interested in the ten miler, which finishes on the 50 yard line in Soldier Field, you can still sign up and save on registration if you do it this weekend. Here's the link: https://soldierfield10.com/
Not sure what else is on tap for the season, but I do know that getting out on the track is a good way to get ready for it. And the best part is that after I left the track, I went home and crawled back into bed for another hour!
See you on the roads............