If it'd been 40 degrees cooler on Thursday we'd have at least a foot of snow on the ground. Today I stepped outside. The morning air was heavy with moisture. The temps had risen overnight. It was actually warm, around 70. No wind at first. I made everything start moving, slowly, jogging lightly, working out the creaks that consume my body at night. Was it going to be a good run? Hard to tell at first. I knew one thing: I was going to the track. Ah, the track. Marathon training does not favor the track very often. It's not so useful and difficult to remember when you're in the 3rd lap of the 11th mile; or was it the 7th lap of the 2-mile tempo repeat. See what I mean?
In the half mile between the front door and the eighth lane I could not get loose so I did a slow lap to see if I could be inspired. It started to work for me but I needed more. Strides. Four strides at gradual acceleration to maybe 80% all out. That got me loose. Now we can begin.
Mission: 4 x 1 mile repeats with one lap jogs between; repeats at whatever speed I could maintain. I took off. Felt fast. Concentrated on minimum hip movement. Mid foot landing with a push off. Planting the foot flat and not on its side. Efficiency. Relaxed shoulders. Straight wrists. Run upright and leaning forward. Glasses are sliding too much. Off after the first mile. Sweat is too profuse. Lose the shirt. Hey, this is like running on the beach, near naked. Good. Good.
First Mile - 7:47; 2nd - 7:58; 3rd - 8:01; and 4th - 7:56.
In the third I was dragging and counting down the laps to go until it was over. I thought of Jeff's tenacity and kept going back to "finish," "strong." In the last mile I had three laps complete and the watch said 6:03. I feared a second 8:00+ time and decided I had to do better. I worked my muscle memory to its limit with extra concentration and put down the last 400m in 1:53. That was very satisfying.
All day I could feel a tingling in my legs. They had been pushed and challenged. They had responded. My legs felt so happy. My legs love the track.