I watched a track meet for the first time in years. It gave me feelings.

Yesterday, I covered one of only two home indoor track meets for Michigan. It was my first time attending a track meet since probably early high school, since I only ran freshman year. I strongly disliked track at the time – probably because (a) I had just started actually running the cross country season prior, so (b) I was not fast or in shape, and (c) I didn’t know how to try or push myself. So I was low-to-mediocre on the team, running the 800, the mile, and occasionally the 4×400. Once the two-mile. So after one season I called it quits and focused on cross country.

I still like cross country – now just trail/ultra running – far more than track, but I do wish I’d stuck with it the other three years. If I had, I might have learned to push myself. I would have gotten better. I may have had better leg speed for cross country. (I also might have shied away from longer distances later, which might have put me on a non-ultra path…) But I just ran one season then stopped.

So my memories of track are mostly of practices were I wasn’t pushing myself to my limit, just hanging around with my friends and avoiding our terrifying coach. (Not the distance coach – the women’s coach, who specialized in field events, if I recall correctly.) I do remember a few workouts where I did try, and I definitely remember what it feels like to run an 800 or the mile. I remember the silence of the back stretch and the moment when everyone cuts from their lanes and jumbles together. I remember the jittery dance before the gun. Handing off to the anchor. (One terrible race, being the anchor.)

Track may not be my favorite, but I sure as hell respect it, especially when done well. Which this meet was.

Michigan women dominated. Maybe the numbers were a little skewed in our favor, but the number of sprinters doesn’t change the number of meters between first and second. In men’s mile, no one went sub-4, sadly (4:07 though). Still quick. And the 200 – damn. I don’t think I’ve ever really watched a 200 before. It’s impressive. A ridiculous pace for a long time.

Anyway. Watching the meet drew out all these old feelings – remembering what crouching on the track before the gun for the mile feels like, remembering each turn, all that – that I haven’t thought about in years, really. It also made me really want to do speedwork immediately upon exiting the building, but my shin was feeling like it might possibly be twinge-y, so I took the day off and iced it instead. I also started re-reading Once A Runner, which, if you haven’t read it yet and have ever run track, you need to. NEED. TO.

So today I ran my first mile a little quicker, around a 6:45. Not fast, but I just wanted to push the pace a tad, just enough to get my heart rate up more than a 7:30 jog. Plus there was a lot of ice. Everywhere. I ran the other 1.75 at a more relaxed pace. All in all I got in 23 minutes – I was aiming for 20 but was just guessing after the first mile.

6:45. Not speedwork pace, not even really fast, but it felt goooooooood.

peace love and fast running,

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