After more than a year of anticipating the Long Course World Championships and a week of excitement surrounding the event itself, the days after seem to have accumulated in rapid fashion and I find myself nearly three weeks later delayed in posting, scattered in training and seeking new focus moving forward. The week in Sweden was an idyllic time, free of all obligations other than racing and was certainly a welcome retreat. It has taken longer than expected to reclaim routine, but this past week has brought opportunity to find comfort in the familiar while fine-tuning activities to meet the needs of different future racing goals.
In an effort to reinforce my ability to complete the distance of Long Course Worlds, my training in the week’s prior was filled with longer, slower efforts, uncharacteristic of my typical training since finding CrossFit Endurance 5 years ago. While I appreciate the security it provided, perhaps more for my husband than for me, that I could handle the duration of each discipline, I missed the speed and intensity of my usual programming and felt like I was quickly losing strength I had spent many years building.
Time at the gym filled with strength training, mobility and intervals revitalized my dedication and a date-night complete with tennis rejuvenated my competitive spirit.
My favorite workout of the week, however, took place Tuesday night at the track on a beautiful, though exceptionally breezy, summer evening. In the quiet company of teenagers bounding up the bleachers and fellow parents walking the track while their children chased behind, I challenged myself against the clock to 400m repeats. Following the protocol of CrossFit Endurance, the goal was as many reps as I could before form or pace were lost, hoping I would complete at least eight. Allowing three minutes total for work and rest, I turned in a 1:25 for the first lap and, despite a sinking feeling of regret during the fourth interval that I had decided to eat dinner before running, was able to hold pace between 1:24-1:28 for 11 rounds. In less than an hour, including warm-up and cool down, the work was complete and I welcomed the happy tired that accompanies a speed session.
From the soft, springy surface to the creative cross-training offered by surrounding bleachers and railings to the lane markers providing endless opportunity to dissect the effort, practicing internal feedback and encouragement, my love for the track runs deep. Years spent circling a variety of football fields taught me to run strong into the wind, hold the curves, push the straights and fly when the wind is at my back. Each 100m stretch of the 400m interval brings opportunity to hone focus on form – forward lean, heels up, shoulders down, quick feet. The challenge to maintain pace over multiple repetitions when fatigue and lactic acid begin to settle presents a notable challenge and greater satisfaction when the goal is achieved.
Simple, straightforward, significant, speedy and strong – these are the characteristics of my Tuesday Track Time that I hope to carry forward as my training shifts in preparation for USAT Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee in August where I will complete “The Double” of Olympic and Sprint Races on back-to-back days.
Turns out basics can be beautiful and reality reassuring – I’m glad to be back to both and ready to take on the next challenge. May we all find satisfaction in the simple and encouragement in the everyday. Thanks for joining me on the next phase of this journey!