A Return to the Track

I was planning to wait to talk about workouts until the weekly recap, but I’ve got a few things to say about last night’s return to the track and I’m all wired on coffee with a few minutes of time to kill so here we go.

With only 10 weeks and big goals for the Ventura Marathon, I knew I was going to have to jump into training headfirst and hit the ground running. Hard. Doing that without getting injured and also without catapulting myself into the ocean because GOD GETTING BACK IN SHAPE HURTS? – bit of a challenge.

Two weeks ago I started transitioning into my speed shoes (Saucony Kinvara for track and Brooks Racer ST5 for tempo) to let my legs get used to the different heel offsets from my regular trainers (Brooks Launch). Last week I eased in with a 5k/MGP+ fartlek (meaning the “on” parts were at goal 5k pace, and the recovery a little slower than goal marathon pace), letting my legs remember what going fast-ish felt like. All that went well, so week two meant a reunion with the oval.

Due to some scheduling fiascos with Kristina and Margot, who unfortunately have jobs and things keeping them from my ever beckon call, I hit the track solo. For the first time ever. I get what y’all were saying now about friends making speedwork easier – never know how much you miss something till it’s gone, right??


sigh. missed y’all. totally throwing you under the bus here.

I plodded through my 2 mile warm up, telling myself how bad it was going to suck and hurt and gah it’s so humid! Maybe I should scrap it. My legs are pretty tight – what if I end up injured? [burp] Ugh dinner is not sitting well…

Eased in with a fartlek 800 – 200m on 200m off, twice – stripped down to tank top, swigged some lemon lime nuun, and took off for seven more.

#1 & 2 were hard. I felt awkward and stiff and had no sense at all of pace. I checked splits every 100m to try and stick in the 3:30 goal range. (track math is a great distractor, btw)

3:28, 3:26

#3 was when I first seriously thought I wouldn’t finish, and wondered why the hell I used to love this workout so freaking hard. Convinced myself to do at least 5.


#4 the 2:00 rest started feeling like 1:00, despite not having anyone to chat/share misery with. I really wanted to throw in the towel. Midway through the curve of the second lap I realized I was more than halfway done and got a little boost.


#5, the one I said could be the last if I really wanted to give up. “You’ll have to tell everyone you bagged it, though…”


#6, the movement finally started feeling somewhat natural, just in time for my legs to start breaking down from the work. I was laboring earlier and earlier, breathing over the volume of my music by 300m in.


#7, I realized bailing on the workout would only cheat myself, and I’d be super pissed if I fought this long to dog the final set. (memory bank this for final 10k of marathon, please)


Dinner in my throat, completely drenched from combo out-of-shapeness and 78% humidity, and at least two farts I was a little too trusting with but turned out to be ok – I was done. First track workout in the books.


Speed work will always be hard – obviously, because the more fit you get the faster you have to go. But knowing I battled my mental demons and managed to get through last night’s workout on my own, with some damn good times, makes me excited for the challenge.

Margot, Kristina, you better be there next time.

Sarah OUaL


13 thoughts on “A Return to the Track

  1. Track work is brutal alone. Ill move those speed sessions to the road if I am forced to run them alone. Makes it much easier mentally. Nice work challenging yourself body & mind ;)


  2. Way to kill your first track workout back- solo!
    Lol- I had to laugh at the fart comment. I was the BEST poster during the run part of Ironman Coeur d’Alene. It said “never trust a fart on the run”. True enough.


  3. Nice work! My mental game is in the toilet right now. I really need to get my act together but my brain is SO powerful (this makes me sound super smart but clearly I am not!). Thanks for sharing about your mental game hardships and success!


  4. I’ve been doing all my workouts solo-track, tempo and long. It’s difficult, but when it comes down to race day, its about you and the pavement. Battling the inner voices now will make race day that much easier.


  5. That’s an awesome speed workout! You blew your 3:30 goal out of the water! I’ll be honest, I’ve never done a track work, I just always do speed on the same running path I use for regular runs. Wish I had peeps to accompany me :) but like you said, hopefully fighting the mental battle on our own will help during races.


  6. speed work + solo = miserable run for me. good job getting through it.

    btw, I laugh my ass off every time I read your blog. Partly bc I agree with you and partly bc I wonder where “that part” came from. I love your blog!!!


  7. OMG I almost peed my pants… I have to stop and walk when I have GI issues because I just can’t always trust the farts.. good to know I’m not alone!

    I’m always jealous reading your speed workouts and that you have friends to do them with! I’m trusting crossfit to be enough in terms of making me faster… I’ll let you know how that goes!


  8. I did 800 repeats last week with 1 min rest in between… thought it would be better than 400 repeats due to slower(ish) pace…. nope still sucked. I’m THOROUGHLY impressed you progressively got faster, that is something I suck at!



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