Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Cry Me a 1200 Meter River

One of my favorite aspects about this whole business of running is that I own it completely. When I don’t hit a planned run, there is no one to blame but myself (and my kids because I’m sure they got in the way somehow). Successes and failures at the races are a direct result of my own efforts. When I look in the mirror after a few grueling rotations at the track, I see my chisel-jawed coach staring back at me and he’s either smugly satisfied, lips pursed with eyebrow-cocked unhappiness, or dreamily leering at his star pupil. I think my coach is hot for me but that’s another matter.

He also doesn’t seem to care when I wake up Tuesday feeling a bit sluggish and needing an extra half scoop of coffee in my Mr. Coffee. According to the calendar, it is track day today and 1200 meter repeats want to take me for a whirl. According to my fuzzy head and engorged lower g.i., it’s coffee time and some quality bathroom reading await. What’s better than the sly wit of some light Nick Hornby reading? How ‘bout Hornby, a full role of toilet paper, and thirty-five uninterrupted minutes on the porcelain?

I don’t feel like 1200 meter repeats today. Sometimes I get to the track and disguise my 1200 meter repeats as 800 meter repeats with a 400 meter half-ass effort and call it 1200 meters. There are usually a few other folks at the track and I’m sure they’ve noticed that my 1200 meters aren’t quite 1200 true, quality meters but, thankfully, they don’t say a word. They just continue running their circles and pretend not to notice but I know they know. How could they not?

My coach notices. And he immediately starts an internal dialogue with me complete with name-calling. I’m a “wimp” and a “scaredy-cat” and “heart hugger”. I’d respond but my heart is pounding in my chest as I continue my cool down lap and I can barely control my breathing. Coach sure knows how to hit the right hot buttons. I’ve been coddling my heart for years and he goes right after it when he wants to hurt me.

I don’t know why I’ve chosen 1200’s as my intervals of choice this summer. Last year I hammered the 800’s and that was fun. I guess one more lap seemed like a nice challenge. That’s the great thing about the mirror coach: you get to figure yourself out as you go. I realized a few years back that I wouldn’t be in the Olympics. They’re all hung up on “qualifying times” and “ability” and “stop sending us emails – you can’t ‘join’ the Olympics”. I’m pretty persistent but my limit comes when the talk of restraining orders and arrest warrants seem more than a threat. So I’ve been content to figure this whole running thing out by myself free from delusions of grandeur. Might as well reap the free Introspective Reward points that come with it right? After awhile, you can redeem them for free Internal Peace and Understanding.

But building up the points comes with a lot of tears at the track. Sweat…tears…snot rockets…blood...spit…phlegmy cough. There’s a river of bodily fluids building at my local track. I don’t know if the 1200 meter intervals have done much for my overall running ability this year but it’s been a nice challenge for me. Once again, I’ve learned by doing. Crazy concept, I know, in this short cut culture. Pretty much everything I’ve learned about my abilities as a runner was through my own investigation so, at the very least, this throws another log on my bonfire of knowledge. It’s through trial and error that you can find your own path and bank some serious knowledge and Introspective Points.

It’s time to hit the track. Well, frankly, it’s time to hit the Hornby then it’s time to hit the track. I’ll shoot for those 1200 repeats. But I may just stack a 400 meter midget on top of an 800 meter person and wrap them with a huge overcoat and pass them off as 1200 meters too. Who can tell? That’ll be between mirror coach and myself. Heck, I may even veer off and do a ladder run today…

Either way, I need to be home by one o’clock. My hiking coach will be here by then.

Happy trails.

11 comments:

BrianFlash said...

You are running 1200 meters because Jack Daniels (no not that Jack Daniels) says that someone of your speediness should be running 1200 meters intervals for optimum performance improvement.

Thankfully, someone of my speed has to stick to 1000s. That extra half a lap makes a huge difference of suckitude...

Sean and Rain Gowens said...

Chiseled Jaw? Hmppp.....

Viper said...

I quit the track like I quit my high school hockey team. I like running better that way. Have fun. Cheers!

Rachel said...

Hey, half-assed is better than not using your ass at all, right?

Vava said...

My comment is to consider sticking that half-assed 400 in the middle and not at the end. You'll likely find that the mental break is nice, your pace won't slow that much, and you'll be rejuvenated for a fast finish.

Just a thought... Either way, continued success!

Jill said...

At least half of your ass is going to look pretty damn fine after all these 12s!

Elizabeth said...

I like that about running too...it's a very self-defined sport and you get out of it exactly what you put into it. And if you can look yourself in the eyes after doing a hard 800 followed by a half-assed 400 and call that a full 1200, then by golly you go for it and screw all the negative judgments all the other people at the track undoubtedly are pinning on you.

Aka Alice said...

I really don't want to run on your track...with all those bodily fluids of yours decorating it...

I always think those other peeps on the track are watching me too...I mean, what's not to look at when a 48 year old, mother of 2 is doing speed work...

Beth said...

Running speed work is juicy business, that is for sure! I hate 1200's unless they are part of a ladder topping out at 1600. Hope your coach cuts you some slack.

SteveQ said...

1200's are just the gateway drug for mile repeats. I do 800's up a steep hill and it takes as long as a 1200, so I feel I get the whole benefit while cheating.

Then again, I'm an idiot.

MizFit said...

yanking myself out of the lurking closet to say that you amaze me.