It’s winter. Real winter, not the climate change winter of the last few years. It’s Canada, so it’s snowy and icy and treacherous and wonderfully gloriously cold. To give our winter weary legs a break, my coach added a once weekly indoor track workout to our training. I’ve run on a track, but only outdoors on rundown high school ovals where I basically stay in lane one except to pass on the outside. No worrying about lines and lanes and other such stuff that real track runners think about.
According to my coach the way I run on the track would get me disqualified in a race. I think the problem is I take his instructions a bit too literally. The track is an oddball length (381 metres in lane three) and there is a line to follow around the bends to ensure you are running the measured distance. He told us to follow the red line. I’ve learned that in the track world “follow” does not mean “run directly on”, it means “stay to the right and run as close as possible to but without ever touching” the red line.
I’ve also learned that when the red line ends you must immediately scoot back into lane three and not hang out in lane two so you can pass slower runners. Apparently staying in lane two for a bit is cheating because it cuts some of the distance and learning this after the fact effectively destroys all the confidence found in faster than usual pacing.
I’ve also confirmed that I am a terrible short distance runner. 400m is pretty much the shortest fixed distance I had ever attempted to run*. On this track we spent two weeks running 300m intervals. My legs do not know how to run fast and I have a tendency to kick myself in the ankle and I sound like I’m about to die at any moment.
But I’m going to admit something. I kind of like it.
Title: Turn! Turn! Turn! (To everything there is a season) – The Byrds. 1965.
*Technically, like all children of my generation, I was forced into running the 100 meter dash in primary school. Our school custodian got out the metre stick, measure 100m in a straight line in the yard, let the grass grow long and then mowed lanes to run in. True story.