Track Appreciation 101

Since I’ve gotten hit by the running bug, I’ve run a slew of road races.

First "race" in May 2009

First “race” in May 2009

I’ve done a litany of track workouts.

Be "1" with the track

Be “1” with the track

But, never a track race. I’m home for vacation and saw that my hometown’s local track club was hosting a summer series of track meets. To make sure I wasn’t going to be in over my head, I emailed the race director to make sure this wasn’t some series for sub-elite quasi professional runners and I would just be getting lapped the whole time.

Thankfully, being that this is Knoxville, TN and not Kenya, there was a huge range of paces. I ran the 2 mile and times in my event ranged from 11:59 to 20ish minutes. It was an extremely supportive environment with everyone cheering for everyone. People there ranged from ex-collegiate runners to recreational runners. It was a good entre into track.

I was a little apprehensive about how this whole track thing worked since the limit of my track knowledge is from going to the Trials last year and watching it on TV. Are you supposed to stick with the people who go out really fast? What if you trip on other people’s feet at the start? Will I feel like I am being chased?

Genes - my grandfather, who ran for Emory Track and Field back in the day -- cool pic, huh?

Genes – my grandfather, who ran for Emory Track and Field back in the day — cool pic, huh?

Fortunately, my questions were answered when people around started to ask “how fast are you taking this out.” I said 7 min pace, two girls said 6 min pace (thanks, but no thanks), and the next person said 8ish (and so on and so forth, very diverse range). So, I figured this was gonna be an “imma do me, you do you” race, which was fine by me. Life is really just about instagram opportunities these days, anyways, right?!

I had a little support crew on my side though. Anybody remember CGT from 5K fame?

My little running buddy, CGT.

My little running buddy, CGT.

CGT has become quite the trackster as of late, qualifying for the Junior Olympics in both the 1500 and 800 (PRs of 6:10 and 3:03, respectively). She just turned 11 two days ago.

CGT so graciously offered up coaching duties for the evening. In fact, she made me warm up, taught me drills (“this is what we do before track meets so you should too”) and showed me how I should do strides (ADORABLE!), and then also had me cool down. She asked to wear my watch so she could run across the infield and call my split each 200.

Callie (in white t shirt) giving me my split and Chase, her brother, cheering me on from the sand box, umm, long jump pit.

Callie (in white t shirt) giving me my split and Chase, her brother, cheering me on from the sand box, umm, long jump pit.

CGT’s coaching was superb (per her assessment, she got me “on the podium” as I was 3rd). She was sad that I lost my hip number as “I needed to keep it since it was my first track race” and made me take a picture of my watch with my time for posterity, naturally.

Here is said photo...

Here is said photo…

To answer any questions that most likely no one has:

– Track is really fun. You should do it if you have the opportunity.

– You do not feel like you are being chased the whole time.

– Getting lapped is not as bad as it seems (I got lapped by the winner, who ran it in 11:59).

– Find a posse if possible; I highly recommend cute 11 year olds

Callie and I

Callie and I

And, to give you a perspective of how far Callie and I go back (it would include her ultrasound pics, but I don’t have those)…

My sis, bro, and little cheerleader CGT

My sis, bro, and little cheerleader CGT. Back when Callie would cry when her mom left and we had to bargain with her (with cookies and such).

At a Taylor Swift concert...Ally and I helped them make those tie dyed t shirts.

At a Taylor Swift concert…Ally and I helped them make those tie dyed t shirts.

Me helping Callie to a 5K PR in May 2012

Me helping Callie to a 5K PR in May 2012


I can’t wait for my next race…

Until next time…

8 thoughts on “Track Appreciation 101

  1. Summer track is the best way to be introduced to track meets! That was Currie’s intro this year too. 😉 So casual and fun!

    I’m proud of you for trying something new and potentially scary! And your coach is the cutest I’ve seen. 🙂

  2. High school track is where I got my start! I was a back-of-the-packer with mediocre times. My coaches are still shocked that I’m one of the few former team members who went on to run marathons.

    I also love me a track workout! Alas, most nice, legit tracks like in your photo are kept locked. I was once kicked out of the Rice U. track when it was left open and informed that is is for “Rice athletes only.” Sadz. So I do my speedwork on the three-mile crushed gravel trail around the campus.

    I also love that watch! Favorite color ever.

  3. Callie is the cutest thing ever! She is one talented 11 year old too, definitely someone who will go far with running.

    I kind of miss track meets. I always say that I am going to go to an open invite, but then I am always training for something. I ran track from middle school through college and liked it for the most part, but my love was with cross country.

  4. Callie is adorable! I want to do a track meet but am a little too scared. I love track workouts but would be afraid of being the slowest one there. I never ran track in high school and I’ve always thought it would be fun to race something like a 400.

  5. Your coach is just awesome and adorable! I got “back to the track” 4 years ago at the age of 45 when I competed in the Nutmeg Games in CT (wearing the uniform of the middle school track program I had formed as a non-profit – yay polyester!!) – ran the mile in 6:29 (goal was sub 6:30) and the 800m in 2:59 (goal was sub-3). Pretty happy as I’d also run a 5K (23 flat) the night before 🙂 It felt good to dig out those old spikes (black Nikes, wish I had some cute colorful ones like today’s high schoolers…)! Maybe I should check out the state records for 50+ since I am about to enter a new age group, hmmmm…

  6. Love this post! A running group near me also hosts track meets but I’ve been kind of hesitant to go. After reading this, maybe I’ll give it a try 🙂

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