niggles · running · why I run

Track Tuesdays

I’ve had lingering soreness all day, from my epic trail run Sunday followed by a gym session yesterday. I tried to work it all out with yoga last night, but today was still creaky. I tried to stand at my desk when I wasn’t in meetings, when really all I wanted to was slouch in my chair. My left piriformis is barking a bit, which I think stems from sitting too much and crossing my feet under my chair.

Anyway, the point is, I got to Kezar tonight for the Impala Tuesday track workout not feeling it. I was stiff and was still waffling between taking another day to recover and just running easy and pushing through the workout. I’ve surprised myself at other workouts when I don’t think I’m feeling that great, so I was hoping tonight would be the same.

Tuesdays are tough—the entire day at work I have to time what I eat and not eat anything too unusual and remember to have a snack at 4:00 and drink enough water and stand and walk but not too much running around and leave my desk no later than 5:15 to change and scoot to the track. I’m also usually doing all that with slight butterflies in my stomach and a small lump in my throat that is typical when anticipating a tough workout. I wouldn’t call it dread, exactly, but it’s uneasy anticipation. No matter how many years I run, how many workouts I do, there is always a slight shadow of fear and doubt and that knowledge that I will be putting my body through stress and a bit of pain and there is a greater than 0% chance I won’t be able to do it.

When I arrive to the track, I’m not the most talkative, I don’t necessarily enter into immediate conversation, I’m fine absorbing the chatter around me as people arrive from all corners of the Bay Area. As we begin the warmup, I fall into step with teammates to chatter away for two miles, which usually means the warmup is a bit faster than it needs to be.

Tonight, though, my legs still weren’t behaving through the warmup jog, the drills, and the strides. My left hamstring was definitely tighter than the right side, my calves felt like rocks, my hips didn’t have their normal mobility (which is already limited, yay runner legs). But nothing felt on the verge of being pulled or injured, so to the starting line I went, mentally prepared to stay on the conservative side of the target split time range.

And then three sets of 1000m/600m later, after 15 laps around the oval, after multiple times of doubting I’d complete the workout, being simultaneously pushed and pulled along by my teammates, I had done it. The Impala Tuesday night magic had struck again. It was hard, my body wasn’t at 100%—or my mind for that matter—but I did it. Cooling down by doing laps around the grassy infield (and miraculously not being yelled at by the Recs and Park security guy, is palpably more chill and relaxed than the warmup. Stretching afterwards was laughable, as my legs once again reminded me that yes, they’re still stiff and while the workout was miraculous in that it was completed, it was not a miraculous cure for my sore muscles.

Needless to say, as soon as I publish this, I will be torturing myself on my foam roller and trying to touch my toes.

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