It felt as if an old friend was welcoming me back. Ah, the track. It was time for the two of us to play together again, to pick up the game of early-morning speed work.
For the record, my first true track workout of the season was supposed to happen last week, but an icy overnight left the outdoor oval too slick for speed. On this morning, however, the weather was beautiful – crisp but inviting – and I was ready to tackle a series of 600 meter sprints.
At least, I thought I was ready. After jogging over to the track for the warmup and doing two striders to prepare, I looked at the track lane lines and felt my stomach flip. Nervous? I’m nervous about the workout? “That’s good,” running buddy Sue told me. “It’s good to be nervous. Gives you an edge.”
This is why I wish I could take Sue everywhere with me. I could be bleeding out my head and she would find a positive spin. Everyone needs a friend like that on their speed dial.
The workout consisted of eight 600 meter sprints. The first one felt OK and I hit my time. The second one felt OK … only I was six seconds slower. Six seconds slower? Even Sue made an “uh-oh” face at me when I told her my time. But here is the beautiful part about finding the outlet that leads you to your best self. Through my athletic journey, I’ve discovered perspective. My competence and worth and joy is not defined by the time it takes me to do an interval. The challenge feels good to me. Expanding my lungs, expanding my heart, showing up with gratitude and wonder – those are the benefits which count the most.
And so I kept going. In sprint No. 3, part of me contemplated stopping around 300 meters to take a short little nap. (What if I curled up in Lane 4 right now?)