Today was tough – my first track workout of 2017.
My speed has been hibernating for some time now. My strength is just beginning to build back up. Very slowly.
My legs felt rusty as I jogged a few warm up laps around the track, and I could tell today was going to be a challenge.
My workout consisted of a ladder: 100-200-400-600-600-400-200-100.
I ran my first 100 meters in 18 seconds. Smooth and controlled – but not fast. As for the rest of the workout, it felt like I was running in slo-mo.
I felt light as a feather as I glided atop the asphalt surface of the track…but in the worst possible way. It was 2 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon, and the only fuel in my belly was a small bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios that had long since been digested.
My energy was low, my head was pounding, and I was feeling defeated by the time the first 600m rolled around. I fought back the negative thoughts and powered through the workout until my feet dashed across the thin white line of the last 100m, signaling the end. I decided against adding an 800m circuit to the workout because I knew I would feel a sting of disappointment when I finished and glanced at my watch.
The 800m race has always been my baby. Two quick, calculated laps around the track. It’s a strange mix of short and long distance (ohh the beloved mid-distance), in which you have to keep your legs turning over very fast, while simultaneously conserving energy for the final lap. For many runners, it’s their least favorite track race.
As soon as the gun pops, you take off like a bat out of hell. You break into the first lane once you reach the 100m mark, and from there you hang on with every last ounce of energy and adrenaline until surging to the finish.
You know that incredible feeling of triumph you experience after finishing the hardest exam of your life? That’s what it feels like when you cross the finish line of a track race. Except your body is also really sweaty and your mouth is really dry.
The fastest I ever finished the 800m was in 2 minutes and 18 seconds, almost four years ago. I didn’t even stop to catch my breath when I crossed the finish line – I ran straight into the arms of my teammate, Grace, who finished 2 seconds before me. We held each other and laughed while gasping for breath, and then stumbled onto the grass to get out of the other runners’ way.
“We did it!” we kept repeating, amidst our panting.
It was our senior year of high school and we took home silver and gold that day, as well as our team’s third State Championship title. That day is sealed into my memory as one of the greatest days of my running career, and of my life.
Now I’m training for my senior year of UNC Club Track & Field. The first indoor track meet is approaching, and it’s time for me to find my fast again.
800m finish | 2013 State Championship