I have been reading quite a few articles on a certain subject lately. Simply put, people are discussing the difficulty of training post-college. Where should and where can graduated athletes go to continue training? It has been a question that has been on my mind a lot. For a runner like me, with no flashy sponsors, no housing provided, and no top of the line facilities begging me to come train on them, where do I go?
Obviously, if I want to keep training, then I go where I can. I am lucky to have the Trinity Track to train on and a coach who will get up early with me. But, I pay a gym membership to lift. I don't have massage therapists on speed dial. I really miss my wonderful trails to I used to have. I even struggle to find a legitimate way to get in an ice bath, which used to be a core aspect of my training.
But if there is one thing I thought for sure was sacred, it was the track. My zone. The place where the distance is all there, just waiting to happen.
Everything was just right this morning, too. So little wind. And it had been a little while since a longer work out had happened. The horsepower was there.
I wish I could say the biggest power came from my legs, but there was this enormous mower that I had to fight for the track. I was in the middle of my first 2k and a few utility guys rolled up in their golf cart and started moving things off of the grass and into lane 1 and 2. Some steeple barriers, a bench or two, and some kind of fencing material. It was a runner's frogger nightmare. I kept waiting for the track to break in half and make me ford a stream to get to my next split. As I tried to keep my cool, the mower came in. Engines roaring and grass flying. That man was on a mission to make sure every blade of grass was the same length. He went back and forth but always seemed to end up on the same length of the backstretch when I came around. Each time he came to the end of the strip he was mowing he would go on to the track to turn around. I don't mind going into lane two, but this was ridiculous. The track is the one place that I have where I am not supposed to fight fuel powered machines. Yet, we battled.
Of course I finished the work out. Derick helped move things out of lane one. The mower never actually got that close and I probably fought my allergies harder than anything else this morning. But, despite the lack of drama, I still had this sense of violation when I left for my cool down. I know the groundsmen were trying to do the same thing I was by taking care of business early to escape the heat, but where was the respect for the track?
So, now I go on and fight for the oval. My work outs have taken on new meaning. No longer do I stride around the curves in order to get a simple work out in. I have become the protector of the mondo. While I probably wont chain myself to the starting line or try to sabotage the mower gears, I will carry with me the belief that the track deserves respect for everything it is. Those red lanes have let me keep training, in spite of all the things that go against my success. An open, lighted, well maintained track is available for my use. And anyone else who desires to find their own distance. People have started with less.
I have 8 lanes willing to show me the right direction and help my mind find its way through the tough parts. All other sports have it, the sacred spot. The one place where magic happens. Remember that the spring brings us the chance to show the magic of our sport.
Rise to the defense of the oval...