Tuesday, November 28, 2006

THE SHORT TRACK.

It was dark and raining when I headed up to the short track for a run. It started while I was getting dressed and once I had made my mind up about running outside, I decided not to change my plans. It was 55 degrees, almost like a late summer/early fall morning, and here it is almost December! Too good to pass up. But all good things must pass, as the saying goes, and I know within a few days the real weather will return, and reality will set in--cold, snow, ick.

One good thing about running on the track in the rain is no one else is usually there, and today that was the case. One bad thing about running on the track in the rain is the puddles. Since it is a track that is managed by the Community College, the maintenance budget is dependent on tax dollars, so I can't remember how long its been since it has been resurfaced. Its not pitted or full of potholes, just not entirely smooth. One good thing about running on the track in the dark is, for me, its hard to see my watch, so I run how I feel. One bad thing about running on the track in the dark is not being able to see my watch clearly, so I often stay out there longer than I have time to. Another good thing about running on the track in the dark any time is the relative safety of the area. Another bad thing about running on the track in the dark any time is the 1/2 mile uphill to get there. And its not just a hill that levels out at each block. No, its a straight up, no let-up hill.

I figured it was time to head to the track in the morning (its near my work), and being dark, it was also a smarter plan. My fear of running in the dark is one of not wanting to fall or trip (I can do that in the daylight as it is!) more than personal safety. That is a concern, however, since right now I'm not sure how fast I could outrun or even if I could outrun someone.

The track is a short track, 5 laps to the mile. I don't know why they built it this way, but I suspect it was due to the location--right across from the hospital and also in a residential area, sort of like a green space area, close to the Community College. Being directly across from the hospital and near the school, there is always activity going on and plenty of light to see, even though the track itself is not lit. The ironic thing about the location, however, is that all the hospital smokers sit on the wall surrounding the track to light up, so you always have the irritation of cigarette smoke to breathe in on an otherwise clear day. Today, no such problem, thanks to the rain.

After the killer hill, which I could only do half of without walking the rest, I started out immediately running and decided to do 2.5 laps and then walk 1/2 lap. That seemed to go okay, both in terms of my breathing and endurance and also mentally, since the whole workout seemed like it went by pretty fast. It also was an easy way for me to keep track of laps and distance, without the pressure of my watch. I decided 1/2 lap was enough walking, rather than a full 2 minutes. I recovered enough to do the next 2.5 laps with no problem, and the shorter walk not only made it go by quicker, but I was getting in a little more running without making it that much harder. As I expected, it rained almost the entire time I was out there, letting up close to my last lap.

The last 1/2 mile, of course, was downhill, and it is very steep, as I indicated before. My right heel has been bothering me for years actually, and while it didn't bother me on the track today, the downhill made me fully aware of the problem. Then I remembered the Chi Running downhill technique and once again the whole process became easier. So the hill served its purpose, to get more practice on the hills, both up and down.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another warm morning, so if the heel doesn't flare up too much today, I will take advantage once again of the nice weather and save my swimming for the cold, snowy days predicted to come.

2 comments:

TriFeist said...

You run a half mile uphill before the track? That would deter me.

Glad to learn that your workouts feel a little easier, even if the smokers make the air cloudier. Enjoy the warm weather!

Ellie said...

I love how well you're recovering and returning. You're one tough woman!