Thursday, January 19, 2012

back to the little oval of hell

So someone recently asked me: "What do you eat to build up your glycogen stores?"

Answer: ice cream. Lots of refined sugars = energy for miles and miles and miles.

Just kidding. I'd love to geek out on foodie stuff, but I'm busy gearing up for the moment of reckoning for the Fighting Scots in our beautiful new GYM.

YUS. No more midnight practices at the local high school. 

I haven't been in the finished building yet, since I'm not on campus. But I hear it's a gigantic new 123,000 square foot building with a bunch of courts for court-sports (which I quit when I was 11), a few jumping pits, a beautiful new fitness center, rowing machines, a bunch of weights to throw around, rust-free locker rooms, new offices, and an NCAA regulation size 200 meter running track.

Or as I like to call it, the little oval of hell.

Even though I'm not going to Hobbiton for another month, Coach was nice enough to enter me in a few indoor meets this winter.

Like running on treadmills and treating ingrown toenails, indoor track is an unpleasant necessity. The track is tiny, so you have to do twice as many laps per race. The air is dry and raw. You get lapped a whole lot and cough like a chain smoker after the race. I know few distance runners who actually like running indoor. Look at these girls.

waaaaaaah D:

They're professional runners, and they're winning this race. But they look none too pleased.

Still, there are some seriously wonderful things about indoor season. After a whole season of sprinting around a hard little rubber oval under a canopy of fluorescent lights, you turn into a mole-person. You forget what sunlight feels like on your skin. You forget about things like wind and rain. You forget that sweat doesn't have to sting.

And then outdoor season rolls around and running gets real again - after your eyes adjust to the sunshine. Even though spring season's cold, rainy and miserable (much like winter), it's good for you. Outdoor season peels off the winter layer of soft, temperature-controlled flab built up on the indoor track (or is that just me?). It makes you hard.

Plus, a fervent hatred for indoor track makes just about anything else bearable. With every nostrilful of snot you blow out onto the track during a frigid 10k in early April, you wonder why the hell you signed up for this shit. But then as you splash through the flooded backstretch, you tell yourself: You think this is bad? Just imagine, you could be inside doing twice as many laps. If you're waiting in an absurdly long line at Macy's to return a pair of $12.00 slippers your brother rejected for Christmas, at least you're not running a 10k on an indoor track. Or if you have food poisoning from bad sushi, at least you didn't buy it at an indoor track

Then it's time to transition into cross country season for some real running.

It just happens to be my luck that New Zealand's cross country season begins in March, since it's fall in their hemisphere. So all I've got to do is survive a couple indoor meets, and then I'll in cross country mode all over again. And that's pretty terrific.

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