My Thursday (formerly Tuesday) evening training group meets every other week at the track. It’s a different workout each time, but it always involves dodging a large group of kids from a private track club. The younger kids run separately from the teens, but there are probably 25 kids in each group so the track gets crowded. Plus the little kids don’t always look where they’re going, they wander around, and some of them step onto the track in front of other runners. Their coaches remind them to leave lane one open, but half the time they’re just not cognizant of where their bodies are in space and either completely block the lane or drift into it without noticing.
Last night, after we ran a warmup mile around the park, we came back to work through our dynamic drills, but the older kids were running clockwise in the outer lanes and the younger kids were running counter-clockwise in the inside lanes so there was literally no space. We ended up doing them on the sidewalk behind the bleachers, but when we were halfway through the backwards-running drill, a (presumably) younger sibling of one of the runners plopped down in the middle of the sidewalk and we nearly ran her over.
We were supposed to run a two-mile time trial on the track (say that fast three times…) but decided to run the same mile loop we did for the warmup twice instead. That had the added benefit of some shade, but sheesh that route feels uphill the whole way around. Anyway, it was 90* and I knew I would be a lot slower than what I’m capable of in better weather. Since this was my last quality workout before my race I decided just to hold my half-marathon goal pace instead. It felt like a reasonable alternative to killing myself, competitively.
And I managed better than that. My first lap was ten seconds faster than my warmup lap, and my second was two seconds faster again. My cooldown (haha–a complete misnomer) was thirty seconds slower, but my average pace over four miles was two seconds slower than HMGP. Yeah, transitive property, I know: this was four miles and only laps 2-3 were consecutive, without a water break, and that can’t compare to a 13.1-mile race. Blah blah. It was also almost forty degrees warmer than the still-way-too-early overnight forecast leading into race day.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go back to YouTube and the rabbit hole that is allowing autoplay to cycle through endless “tips for Americans driving in Ireland” videos. Because that’s the only thing stressing me out more than wanting to PR this race.