Laps around Colorado, and back to Fort Collins again

There are generally two types of runners; those that yearn to burn laps on the track, “track runners,” and those that do not (usually those original cross country runners turned road runners, marathoners, trail runners, etc.)

I belong to the latter group. I was never a track runner.  Track was just a season that always seemed to roll around unwelcoming and uninvited, a season I had to trudge through, like miserable winters in Gunnison.

The argument was always made to me that track would make me a better runner.  It would tune me up, tighten up that ass, get me moving a little faster, especially for the sprint finishes at the end (remember that time you got bitch kicked, Lauren?) Yes. Yes I do. Multiple times.

In high school, my adopted coach- the men’s coach who finally agreed to let me embarrass and train with his boys, good old Coach Gaynor, sat down with me and asked, “What workout do you hate the most?” I replied without hesitation, “200′s. 400′s. Anything fast.” I then looked up at him to meet his menacing eyes, asking “Why?” with my own two baby blues, afraid to hear the answer.

Immediately my suspicions were confirmed.  I had just put foot and mouth and written my death wish.

Next thing I knew Gaynor had me running 100′s on the damn track after every single run, workout or long run, trying to rid me of the slow “shuffle” that plagued me and still plagues me to this day.  His justification was, “Whatever you hate the most, is almost always the answer to what you need to work on the most.”

A half a decade later, I still find myself running circles on that damn track. To my dismay, I had two separate workouts prescribed to me this week on the track, 300′s and 800′s (time to tune up for Nationals here in a couple days), but oh how I dread those workouts.

I tried complaining about this to my new roommate here in Fort Collins, Spenser, a steepler at CSU. He told me he liked running 300′s, while looking at me like I was some whiny little bitch (though he would never actually say that). I sighed, realizing I kind of was, shut up, and went to go run the workout.

If you were wondering… It wasn’t fun. But I fucking did it.

And I even ran through it while in the meantime, my old head coach (the ultimate beholder of my meal money funds, and fate-  that destined me to stumble upon the barren wasteland called Western State after he ultimately cut those funds) walks up to the Jack Christianson track, peering at me, communicating clearly with body language his brewing thoughts:  ”What in the hell is she doing here?” and  why “On my track?”

It’s amazing, Red bull is not the only thing that gives you wings. So does, apparently, the pure satisfaction of kicking ass and saying “HA!” (in the nicest of terms) after a fast lap or two on the track.

But back to the point, even after an inward smirk and outward fist pump, the repetitiveness of the track kills me.  Split times, lap for lap, are like subsequent punches to face, whether or not they read fast or slow. I think that maybe some people like the reaffirmation that the track holds, a measured distance indicative of even the most minor successes or setbacks in fitness, measuring day for day, week for week, month for month, year for year, feedback.

Some people thrive on that sort of thing.

I find it annoying, sort of reminiscent of being a pre-teen, locking yourself in your room, with your parents constantly checking up on you when all you want is an hour’s worth of privacy to peek at that dirty magazine article. In all reality, mom and dad would have been much happier living in blissful ignorance, rather than opening the goddamn door.

I feel the same way about running. I would just rather not know sometimes.

In some metaphoric sense, I feel like my most recent move to Fort Collins has resembled nothing more than running another lap- a roundabout tour of the geometric state of Colorado: Fort Collins, to Gunnison, and back again at the starting line, clocking in at about five years time.

In similar fashion to a repeat on the track, I am able to compare and contrast. Here I am, fitter than ever, hardly breathing, but looking at the same scenery.

Same old job at the rafting company. Same co-workers. Same trails. Same neighborhood. Same drinking habits.

It’s nice to run into old teammates and friends, catch up and laugh about old times and hear about the new, run trails and hike mountains you’ve missed, and get that reaffirmation at the end; yes, I have made some progress since the first repeat.  But I don’t just want to sit here and bake in the sun on the track all day.  (And I’d like to avoid running into any more ex-boyfriends.)

People keep asking me if Fort Collins is all I expected and wanted it to be. Obviously those people don’t understand the reason for my move. I am not here because I want to be (however, I do like it better than Gunnison.) It’s kind of my way of regrouping, refocusing, and tuning up for that next big race (or in this case, move).

And all the while, mostly, I just can’t wait for the damn workout to be over.  I always did like the meandering, long runs better…