I was inspired today at Batcave by both the birthday girl, Firecracker, who shared with us in such a heartfelt way, as well as by Wahoo, a regular at Thelma who chatted with me openly about her feelings about track. I decided that as the new site Q, I would give a little info about my background and why I know anything about track and how I used to be the slowest girl on the track in my running group in Maryland before I moved here!
The first time I ran on a track was in middle school. I decided to try out with my friend for the track team at McClintock Jr High. I didn’t practice, pretty sure I didn’t even tell my parents and I am fairly certain I wore sparkly keds. ;). Needless to say, I did not make it. I never stepped foot on another track or really did much else athletically until I was able to drop toddlers off for 2 hours at the childcare at golds gym about 20 years later. 😂. I would casually run on my own for exercise. About 4 years ago, I decided to train for a marathon. Some mom friends of mine talked me into training with them. A great idea except for the fact that these friends of mine also happened to be elite athletes. They are the ones at the front of races, they were college athletes, triathletes and true elite competitors. To say I was a little initmidated was an understatement! I weighed out the worst case scenario with the best case and decided to give it a try. The pace for the daily runs was slow for the group, but it was my absolute fastest. They could drink wine, roll out of bed and run, whereas I would have to hydrate, carb load and stretch to prepare. I was probably going at my 5k pace at the time and they were leisurely chatting. I kept showing up and eventually it started feeling easier. I finally got talked into joining them on the track. This is where the disparity between elite athletes and a girl who jogs with her headphones is the most obvious. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know the difference between a 200 and a 400 at this point let alone know what they meant by a ladder and mile repeats. They took off at a blistering pace and I was left in the dust. Since one of the girls was a high school track coach and was coming off an injury, she ran with me. She got me up to speed on lingo, track etiquette, breathing etc. and planned workouts for me since I could not even attempt what the other girls were doing. I modified, I got lapped, I felt like I was going to die- all of those things, but every time I did track, I felt like the regular daily runs got easier. I eventually was able to roll out of bed and feel conversational at their pace for the daily runs. I was even able to start drinking wine again. 😉 I also felt a sense of accomplishment doing something so different and hard core at the crack of dawn. These girls eventually got me signing up for races and coached me on what to wear, where to start the race to avoid crowds, nutrition, training- everything. I ran with this group for years and they made me feel confident to try knew things and to realize that everyone has so much potential for growth. When people found out I ran with this group, I clarified that I was the worst of the best. 😉 Now when I run, their daily pace is my comfort zone which I attribute to my work with them (near them) on the track.
I am sorry that this backblast is so long, but I am telling this story in the hopes that if you see fast runners on the track or even in the daily runs and you feel intimidated, know that it is all a journey for everyone. No one is judging because we have all been in different places along the way. I am always happy when there are faster runners because it pushes me and inspires me and makes me better. I was so excited to have so many people on the track this week! I have heard the feedback about enjoying the longer recovery times in order to push harder on the active laps and people seemed to like staying on the track. It is funny to me that I am now in charge of other people’s track workouts, but I will pass along the knowledge that I have gained along the way and I will do my best to plan workouts that push us and challenge us. Just know that if you are new to track, I have been in your shoes and I am happy to help in any way