The Disappearing Track Blues

August 1, 2006

If I wrote a blues song about Sunday’s workout, it might begin like this:

I woke up this morning, and ran to where the track had been.
Yes I woke up this morning, and ran to where the track had been.
Coach said, “Son, I’m sorry — you can’t do speedwork here again.”

I won’t be sending this to B.B. King or anything, but you get the idea. I ran from home to Garfield High School, where I had planned to do a 2 x 2-mile workout on the decrepit quarter-mile dirt track. Problem: the track was gone. Instead I saw a smooth dirt lot — smoother than the track had been, actually — upon which several construction trailers were parked. (Why does this keep happening to us running bloggers?)

The disappearance of the track was just the latest difficulty in what had already been a lousy week of training. The week before that had gone quite well:

7/17: 10.1 miles easy, with five 60-second pickups toward the end. Still tired from the previous Friday’s workout. 7/18: 5.9 miles easy. Finally feeling better. 7/19: 3.5-mile warmup. 2400m in 7:23, 800m jog, 2400m in 7:24, 4 minutes rest (jog/bathroom), 1600m in 4:56, 600m jog, 1600m in 4:56. 3.7-mile warmdown. A very tough workout that I copied directly from Gabriel Rodriguez’s blog. (Gabriel, whom I met at Altitude Camp six years ago, is sort of an imaginary rival of mine, since we live thousands of miles apart and never actually race against each other.) 7/20: 5.1 miles easy. 7/21: 6.5 miles easy. 7/22: 2.7-mile warmup. 4 x { 1 mile in 6:00-6:10, 2 miles in 10:40 } at Seward Park with Dave. 2.7-mile warmdown. Felt decent; didn’t have to go all-out. 7/23: 4.8 miles easy. 63 miles for the week.

But then came some problems:

7/24: 6.2 miles easy. 7/25: 3.7-mile warmup. 800s in Dempsey; only made it through three (2:21, 2:22, 2:23) before bagging the workout. Felt lifeless. 3.7-mile warmdown. 7/26: 5.1 miles easy. 7/27: 2.6-mile warmup. 3 x 800m at Husky Stadium with 400m jogs in between. Times of 2:18, 2:19, 2:21 were not acceptable; looks like I’m still not recovered from the 7/22 workout and won’t be ready for the Torchlight 8K on the 29th. 2.3-mile warmdown. 7/28: 5.1 miles easy. Still tired. 7/29: 5.0 miles easy with 100K World Cup teammate Howard Nippert.

Which brings us back to this past Sunday, the 30th:

7/30: 4.9-mile warmup while searching for a suitable workout venue. 9 x ~530m uphill near the Interstate 90 corridor, jogging back down in between. Times (1:45, 1:46, 1:47, 1:46, 1:46, 1:46, 1:46, 1:46, 1:42) were WAY faster than my 1:50 average for this workout back in October! 3.6-mile warmdown. 52 miles for the week.

So the workout turned out well after all, except for this hydration mishap:

I went runnin’ up a hill; left my bottle on the lawn.
Oh I went runnin’ up a hill; left my bottle on the lawn.
And when I came back down … my old bottle, it was gone.

Yes, my water bottle was stolen during the hill repeats. A small price to pay for such a confidence-boosting workout, I suppose.


  1. Greg,Actually, quality high school tracks are multiplying in the Seattle area. Five years ago, the only rubberized track for the whole district was West Seattle Stadium. Since then there have been upgrades from dirt to rubber at Rainier Beach, Nathan Hale, Ingraham, and (opening in fall 2006) Roosevelt. Garfield is the next on the remodel list for the district and it will have, you guessed it, a new rubberized track. So all in all, things are looking up in Seattle for the public and for young runners. That should be re-assuring.Alec

  2. So Alec, are you saying that I should stop whining about a temporary personal inconvenience, since the long-term outcome will clearly benefit all of us? That would be the mature thing to do…. But this is my blog, and it's all about me, me, me! Why wasn't I consulted about this track renovation?!? I demand an explanation. No, scratch that — an explanation and an apology!

  3. Greg -I was running down the hill, I was thirsty as could be.I came across your bottle, so I stopped to check and see.It was a dream come true! I took your bottle with me.

  4. Sarah, is that you?I've been excited about your possible move into our neighborhood…. But if your arrival means that the crime rate will skyrocket, I may have to rethink my position!

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