As a trail runner, I spend a lot of time running through woods, jumping over logs, trudging through creeks and hiking hills. When I fantasize about running, it’s often me in the above scenarios.
As a full time employee, wife, and mom of an almost 3 year old, I can’t always live out my trail dreams. Enter the indoor track. Most people loathe the indoor track. It’s hot, monotonous, it has boring scenery- I mean what could be interesting about running a .12 mile loop? None of this bothers me. In fact, I love the indoor track. I have a deep sense of gratitude for this 8 lane oval. I have been able to train consistently because of this track.
Before I became a mom, I had all the time in the world to run. I ran wherever and whenever I wanted to. I never had to run on the indoor track (unless I wanted to, which was precisely never). That luxury disappeared and now I have to take what I can get, so to speak. The track is there for me on those days when the only time I have to run is between the hours of 4:30am-6am. (I refuse to get up earlier unless it’s for a race!) I haven’t reached the comfort level of running alone on a trail that early in the day, especially in inclement weather.
How can a trail runner enjoy the track?? There is a sense of comfort in the loops. Each one is exactly the same length yet the scenery really does change. People come and go. I get to “share” miles with them sometimes. The bathroom is never more then 200 meters away I have my locker room “aid station” just feet away. On cold winter mornings, when just getting out of bed is a small victory, I am so grateful that I have this place to get some miles in.
During the first year of motherhood, I spent some solid time on that track, pushing my son in his stroller, building my endurance back up and getting my “me time.” Since then, I’ve continued to seek out the track- for miles, for refuge from bad weather, for stroller runs, for a simple, uncomplicated run. Yes, it’s truly a love affair.
*i once ran 20 miles on the track but only because it was the start of what turned out to be a pretty severe injury and I was supposed to race a 20 miler that day and was scared of dnf’ing.