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I love speed. I love running hard and fast intervals where I feel I’m pushing myself to my absolute limit. And I love feeling that limit expand when I’m able to dedicate myself to disciplined running over several months on end. I love the tangible feedback of measured improvement.
Of course I also adore willy-nilly runs without any particular purpose beyond exploring a new pathway or experiencing a favorite view. Mostly, I just love to run, plain and simple. But my passion for pushing myself in speed sessions makes me wonder whether I harbor a latent dream of track & field stardom – a dream that, now that I’m 43 years old, will forever remain 100% fantasy!
I savor my time at the track, though I don’t go there often enough. Usually, you’ll find me pushing through the paces on a treadmill on my speed session days, the convenience of my gym and the control the machine allows an easier option than the trek to the track. But when I do make my way to the far edge of town, to the pristine open-to-the-public high school facility that sits right at the base of the Flatiron Mountains, I can’t help but wonder why I don’t run there every day.
It’s as though I’m transported back in time to my own high school, where I did actually spend a year on the track team – albeit as a shot-putter. Did I ever hate running back then! But I loved being on the team, donning the uniform and traveling to rival schools, enjoying the camaraderie between our team members that erased all differences in talent. Nowadays, I can’t imagine life without running – though my passion still somewhat eclipses my skill. At times I’m intimidated at the track, fleet-footed training groups flooding the lanes. But mostly I find my groove, fit right in and run my heart out. It’s a place where, each time I arrive, a voice in my head says, “I am an athlete.” Hearing that never gets old.
What about you – where is the place, what is the workout or when are the times that makes you feel most excited and in touch with what being an athlete is all about for you?