I love the track. I’m not sure I’ve mentioned that before. Ok, so maybe there was one little post about how I love it but seriously every time I hit the track I feel amazing afterward.

During the last training cycle I did more tempo runs than actual speed work due to fear of Old Wonky’s revenge and boy did I miss it.

After a total poop week (figuratively thankyouverymuch)the track was just what I needed last night. When I got there, late, as per usual, everyone was ready to go. They had already run their warm-ups so I had to go some of mine alone.

P-Funk had already completed one 800 when I hopped in with her on her recovery lap. For those of you who don’t know, I typically run Yasso 800’s. Click here to read about the method. It’s definitely something that helped me get faster (aside from increasing my mileage). As we jogged we discussed how many we wanted to do. We both said 4, but after I did my first one I felt like 3 would be much better.

My entire body felt tired after the first one. It felt like I could barely hang on to the 3:55 goal pace we had set. I can’t blame heat, lack of sleep, and poor diet on this as I’d been really good this week and have run in this heat before. I do however, blame stress. It’s amazing what stress will do to your body. As I ran two more 800’s with P-Funk I thought about how work was crazy and I was tired of so and so and woe is me. The first two 800’s were 3:57 and 4:07. Not happy with those times, and feeling very tired I thought about quitting.

Everyone else had done three or four and I felt I needed four to make my night at the track worth it. I needed those four 800’s for the stress relief! Fortunately, as I lamented about running my third one alone, Navy Steve offered to go it with me. He had already run his 4 but wanted to help me out (and maybe get in more miles).

This third 800 with Navy Steve really helped. I had to focus on staying with him and was determined to get at least three 800’s done. By the second lap around the track I was feeling it. As we crossed the finish line I looked down and saw 3:44. What the heck?

I was so focused on hanging with Navy Steve and not making him run too slow that I didn’t realize how fast I was going. It felt good. And guess what? He jokingly suggested another one. And after a little break, I felt I could get my four in.

The last one was a bit slower as I felt I needed to reign it in some and probably couldn’t have repeated that third one. It wound up being a 3:49. I’ll take it.

It really goes to show you how much stress and mental focus can mess with your run. It also shows how a friend can pull you along when you need it.

Happy Friday. I hope you all have great, non-stressful running this weekend.