Tough #trackattack today:
800 warmup, 2x(1200 800 400), 4x400 relay, 400 cooldown, abs.
Did all that, one difference:
800 warmup, 1200 1200, 1200 800 400, 4x400 relay, 400 cooldown, abs.

After I did the first 1200, just as I was reaching the finish line for the first 800, they started the subsequent 400 so I just kept running and my first 800 400 turned into another 1200. That plus the second actual 1200 made three 1200s in a row for me.

But I really enjoyed the 4x400 relay.

We found out we were to partner up, and I suddenly got hit with classic age-old memories of gradeschool sports / not getting picked / rejection, and froze. Yeah seriously, that happened. I unstuck myself just enough to start looking around to see if anyone else was looking around for a relay partner.

Brian (AKA @pavementrunner) looked over, started walking toward me, and asked if I wanted to partner up. Of course! Obviously I would have partnered with anyone - yet, wow, Brian is an inspiration (See tantek.com/2014/117/b1/bostonstrong-pavementrunner-sam-novemberproject for some background).

He went first and did 400, then tagged me and I did 400 and tagged him back, repeating until we'd both finished four 400s.

One thing about our track workouts is that it's not really supposed to be about racing anybody but yourself and your previous times. Everyone is very supportive and encouraging. We tell each other good job even when being passed.

Regardless you can't help feel a sense of friendly competition. It's a *track* inside a *stadium*. That's part of the inspiration of going to track, as you enter through the gates and run down the stairs to the track you feel like you're entering something epic, you're on the field, you're in an *arena*. While intimidating at first (actually, for a while), eventually you feel you deserve to be there, because you chose to #justshowup at 06:00 in the morning when it's often dark (now predawn), and most everyone is asleep.

In addition to the "arena" feeling, we regroup on the starting line before each sprint (for the most part), and our track coach counts down from "In 15, 10, 5 seconds, Go!" for us to start at the same time. Being (almost always) slowest anyway, I like to take photos of everyone else launching into the first sprint (and then do my best to not be too far behind).

a photo.
For me it's less so about competition, and more about watching (nearly) everyone else's technique in front of me, and being inspired by their sheer ability. If they can run that fast, maybe I can push myself a little harder to run faster. Maybe I can keep-up or even catch-up. By mimicking others' techniques and even motions, I've been able to go much faster than ever by myself.

I ran the first two of those relay 400s at just under a 9:00 minute/mile pace the whole time which was a first for me. I think partly the social pressure to not let my partner down contributed to pushing harder.

On the third of four 400s, I just happened to start at the same time as my friend Nick. My friend Nick who did the recent San Francisco Marathon under 3:10 (I did *half*, the first half, in ~2:23 tantek.com/2014/208/t1/finished-sf-half-marathon).

I took off as hard as I could, watching Nick pull away from me. I tried to literally copy his motions, moving my legs and arms at the same rhythm and pace as I saw him moving and somehow was able to (breathing as hard as I could). Despite Nick still walking away from me, according to my Nike+ I did an ~8:27 minute/mile pace on that 400. Pretty sure it was my fastest ever, and it felt very different running at that pace.

I couldn't repeat it on the last 400, but still did it at under a 9:00/mile pace, and thus the whole set of four under that.

Brian and I jogged the cooldown lap together and caught up (talking). I asked him how he felt after his ultramarathon (the ultramarathon challenge at the SF Marathon - running it backwards at midnight, then forwards with everyone else at 5:30am). He happily reported no injuries, sprains, tears or anything else. Just that his legs felt very heavy for a few weeks after so he took it easy (what he means by "taking it easy"). Amazing.

We finished track with 5-10 minutes of abs (abdominal exercises). And a group hug photo:

a photo.
That was this week. Last week's was actually harder (or felt harder):
a photo. * 2 miles (8 laps) warmup, 5x400, 5x200, 1 mile (4 lap) cooldown, abs
I did:
* 3 laps warmup, 5x400, 5x200, 1 lap cooldown, abs
a photo.
and after our group photo I ran another 2.5km to make up for the missing warmup/cooldown laps.

I did all the sprints but wasn't able to keep up with doing the entire warmup and cooldown with everyone else. I'm counting last week's as an "almost" rounding up to "did it" since I at least kept-up, started, finished all the sprints with everyone else, and then did more cooldown distance after to compensate for what I missed.

Doing the entire workout this week from start to finish with everyone felt a lot better, especially with those faster 400 times. Hopefully I can remember what I did differently and keep pushing/breaking those 9:00/mile and 8:30/mile barriers.

Counting both last and this week, that makes five weeks in a row of complete #NPSF trackattack workouts.

Previously: tantek.com/2014/224/t1/trackattack-completed-third-week

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