Saturday, February 18, 2006

I ran my first workout in almost three weeks yesterday, a 20-minute tempo under the bright lights of the University of Toronto's Athletic Centre due to the sloppy footing outside. It was a heartening experience. I am pleased to report that this blue 200-metre track may well rival training camps in Iten, Kenya and elsewhere for distance-running prowess. I was too lazy and unconcerned to count the 225-metre laps I was clicking off in the outside lane, perpetually off-balance given the turns. I was an odd spectacle to erstwhile training partners, accustomed to intervals, who looked on waiting for the inevitable recovery jog. As a result, this was the largest audience for a run I have had since I led five or six laps of a five-man 3,000 on my 18th birthday. My very controlled last lap, the same speed as the last 4 or 5, was 51 seconds, meaning I finished at just over 6:00/mile pace (6:10 overall).

However, I was humbled as during both my warm-up and cool-down, run at a leisurely 7:30 pace, there was no shortage of girls and guys effortlessly jogging by me like I was standing still. Those that were particularly ambitious sometimes ran from one corner of the lap to the other, though most were conservative in running the bulk of a straightaway, no more than 80 metres. Knowing that it is verging on psychosis to, without warning, launch into a feebly slow sprint masquerading as a jog that lasts for no more than 20 seconds, I'm sure that there is method to this madness. If even half of these people would consider entering a road race or the meet taking place right now at the same track, I am positive that there would be a genuine explosion in the number of engineering students and Lululemon patrons running 5ks in the 15:00 and 17:00 range respectively.

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