Shut up and drive

As I sat in an afternoon meeting and glared at the dark sky, threatening to open up at any moment and destroy my plans for an evening track workout, I realized something:  I was going to be genuinely pissed if this workout got ruined.  Like, 100%.  I was truly excited to go run my guts out on the track.

I’m gonna be totally honest for a minute here.  Of course I love running, but there’s a meaningful part of me that’s just plain lazy.  Like, if you tell me that I can’t run that day due to something completely out of my control, I might groan and act disappointed, but deep down, I’m totally smiling about the prospect of laying on the couch and eating potato chips instead.

Of course, if that happened every day, I’d never get to run and that would genuinely make me sad.  But on a day-to-day basis, my opportunistic side will take chillaxin’ over running, no question.

Anyway.  What’s the point of all this navel gazing?  I realized this afternoon that I think I genuinely enjoy track workouts in a way that I don’t enjoy other running.

And I think it’s because it’s the only time when I feel truly in control of my pace.  Like my body is a car and I can make it perform for me.  Maybe it’s the constant feedback that you get when running on a fixed surface like a track: out too fast at the 200?  Slow it down, ease off the gas pedal.  Coming in to the final stretch?  Accelerate a bit.

Of course, like driving a car, you’ve got to manage how you burn your fuel – and make sure you don’t run out.  But if you run a smart workout, you won’t run out of gas on the track.  In fact, one of the things I love about track workouts it the ability to push my figurative gas tank just to the point where the fuel light comes on.

I find this much more difficult during longer intervals on the road, or (shudder) tempo runs.  Probably because I just don’t know how to drive those workouts as well.  I always go out too fast and run out of gas.  Or worse, end up in a smoking wreck on the side of the road.

So what’s the point of this post?  There isn’t one, really. 🙂  Just me ruminating about a silly running analogy that occurred to me as I was shuffling down Houston street on my cool down tonight, after a solid track workout that was truly a joy to run.

On to some eats and drinks, yes?

Today’s EAT: Hey, it’s memorial day!  Time for some burgers and beer!

Oh wait…that was yesterday.

Well, since the hubs and I both worked yesterday, and because a Trader Joe’s chicken burger was a quick and easy dinner for tonight, burgers it was:

Not the prettiest picture, I know.  I drenched my burger in BBQ sauce and wolfed it down, along with some baked chips.  Ever since amarathoner posted about his delicious BBQ this weekend, I’ve been craving it!  A prefab chicken burger and sauce from a jar is a far cry from the real thing, but it satisfied the urge.  For now, anyway.

And lest you think this dinner was completely devoid of veggies, we had some carrots and hummus too:

Not every dinner can be a creative home-cooked meal.  I didn’t get home until 8:30 tonight and just didn’t have any chef in me, so prepared stuff it was!

Today’s DRINK: Sad fact: I am running out of Trader Joe’s branded beers to try.  This Vienna was one of the last, I think.

And, meh.  It’s not my favorite.  There is something weird about it.

Today’s RUN: Tonight’s CPTC workout was 12 X 400 with 200M recovery.  The objective was to run the first 6 at 5K pace, then for the last 6, a second faster on each repeat.

Of course I went a little faster than 5K pace.  But I held up okay and had a great finish!  The group was big tonight and crowding was a bit of an issue for the first couple of repeats, until people figured out where they were pacing within the group.  Splits were (to the best of my recollection): 96, 94, 90, 94, 92, 91.  Then: 90, 91, 89, 88, 86, 82.  (82!  Zoom zoom!)

Total miles including warm up, cool down and recovery: about 8.

And speaking of 5Ks, I’m running one this weekend!  In Brooklyn, on Sunday.  Thanks for your awesome comments on my post about NYC’s lack of 5Ks.  Apparently I just wasn’t looking hard enough. 🙂  Special thanks to ThatGirl for turning me on the the one I’m gonna do this weekend!

Today’s QUESTION: Track workouts: love or hate?  And if you love ’em, what’s your favorite workout? I loooove me some 400s.  Tonight was pretty much my ideal workout!

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14 responses to “Shut up and drive

  1. Great workout and it made you forget last Thurs. Hit up Dinosaur this weekend.

    I loves me some 400s.

  2. Hi! I just found your blog and love it. I started running right before I moved out of New York (motivated by my 2-year love affair with Seamless Web) and have been enjoying it ever since.

    As a former competitive swimmer, I am fairly certain the reason I love thunderstorms is they meant swim practice would be canceled.

  3. Yay 🙂
    I like this. I get it. I think it is what differentiates a recreational runner from a racer-runner: taking sincere pleasure in pushing your limits and reaping the results. Also could be plain ol’ endorphins, but who knows. Looks like you have some incredible natural speed, too, of which I am frankly jealous. I’m not sure of my ability to bang out an 82 400, no matter the circumstances.
    I * think* I like track workouts. At 6:13 in the morning, though, with 100 percent humidity and a slogging run on the horizon, I would be hard pressed to tell you which ones or why.

    • I am pretty sure I’d be less enthusiastic about the track if I had to face it at 6:13 AM. Still am so in awe of you for running so fast at the crack of dawn!!

  4. I haven’t done too many track workouts yet, but I think I’m going to find them really enjoyable! I’m considering joining a running group that meets once weekly for speed workouts on the track.

    • DO IT! Joining my running group was seriously the best decision ever. It’s so much more fun to run with other people, especially speed work!

  5. I’d rather do a 20 miler every day than even look at a track. I HATE THE TRACK. HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE. Given the option of poking my eyes out with a spork/watching SATC2 (the same thing if you ask me) or a 400 workout? I’ll take the spork.

    This said: I think I need to start doing ultras.

    • Haha. We need to join forces in to one superrunner because I really hate long runs. 🙂

      And I’m with you on SATC2…I have no desire. I didn’t mind the show when it was on, but this new movie just looks awful.

      • Ha, I know right? There was a time when I preferred speed to long runs, but damned if I can remember what that felt like…

        The show had its pluses, but started to suck as it went on. I unfortunately saw most of the 1st movie (MST3ked it one day, was too sober to deal) and the second just looks…worse than anything.

  6. We have a track next to our house….I wish I enjoyed running in a circle. It’s so much better on the feet/knees. But it’s so boring!! 😦

  7. Love them!! I wish I lived closer to the East 6th Street track sometimes-love that track!. The track at Riverbank…not so much! On the track, I like ladder-type workouts…nice mix of long and short. I prefer long intervals to short ones, but I feel those are better not done on a track…

    Nice workout!! You’ll be ready to rock that 5K this weekend.

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