Thursday nights are track nights for our running program, which usually turns out a fair number of our runners. We also share the track with other runners, as it is held at a public school where the track is open to everyone. I always enjoy the things I see during this time, because it ranges from normal to wincing and feeling downright pain for some people on the track. Fortunately, none of those people are in OUR program :) Let me provide a few examples spread across the spectrum of things I saw last night (from normal to ouch):
Normal - Two older (we politely call them Master's athletes) running 400 repeats. They are at the track doing a track workout. Makes sense to me!
Sort of Normal - A couple running laps together on the track. The reason I don't consider this normal - the track is not one of the first places I'd head to if I were just going to run the same pace for however long I was going to run. There are a multitude of trails, sidewalks and everything in between to choose from in the area, but the track would not be my choice. But - to each, their own.
Next to Normal - Lady pushing her jogger stroller on the track. Again, probably not the first place I'd go, but it is safe from obstacles (except for other crazy runners), so I can see the logic here. For me though, it was more about the manner in which she was running. The curves kind of create a challenge for strollers that don't have a front wheel that rotates, so on each curve, I was always curious if inertia was going to take over and cause any issues. Fortunately, it did not :)
Ouch - Large man running barefoot around the track. The ouch part isn't so much the barefoot part...but with temperatures in the upper 80s, I'm sure the black rubber track was pretty warm. But that's not my issue. My issue was with the aggressive heel striking (and resulting toe slapping) and slow cadence I was witnessing. Lap number 1 seemed ok. Lap number 2, he started to have a bit of grimace on his face. By lap 3, he looked uncomfortable and seemed to cut his lap a bit short. And then, the barefootin' adventure was over. Now, I've got no beef with anyone who wants to do some barefootin'. Try it some time - it's fun! What I do have beef with, is those that go about it in the completely wrong way. From what I saw, I think I know his type. He probably keeps a copy of Born to Run* by his bedside at all times, just so he can relive the excitement of the Tarahumara.
So the lesson learned here is that maybe there are multiple reasons to go to the track. Sure you can get your workout in, but people watching can be just as fun!
*In all honesty, I enjoyed the book and do keep a copy by my nightstand...of course, that is where I keep all my books.