When I see a set of 800s in my workout plan, I cringe. I fret. I groan. That half-mile on the track is in my head. I ran the 800-meter event in track in high school and it hurt. A lot. Back in 1988, I ran the second leg of two mile relay in the state track meet. After my 800, I nearly tossed my cookies. Back in the spring of this year, I ran 4 x 800s and I nearly tossed my cookies. It is the perfect distance between a sprint and endurance. It's the right distance to find and hold your threshold pace - and the right distance to recover. It is even touted as a great marathon pace predictor.
Today I realized I've been using the distance to clear my head. I employed my 1 x 800m strategy came just after I had spilled a cup of coffee into my purse, dropped an armful of mail in the middle of the road and tried (unsuccessfully) to fit into two new dresses for a holiday soiree set for tomorrow night. Anxiety. Embarrassment. Frustration. Irritation. Disappointment. All erupted in less time than it takes me to run my fastest half mile on the track (3min58sec).
My saving grace? A lap - about 800m - around our neighborhood. I fed Sugaree and grabbed the leash. She dragged me down the driveway and I growled at her under my breath: slow dowwwwnnnnn. We eased into an easy-paced walk and I stopped growling. It was not quite dark. A flock of geese flew overhead and Sugar bounced around looking at the sky. One neighbor's Christmas lights twinkled on their tree and another waved happily on the turn into their driveway. On one curve leading to home, the last rays of the sunset lit the pine trees with a super yellow glow from beneath the needles.
By the time I hit the final straightaway on our side of the circle, I had let go of the frustration and anxiety and embarrassment and worry. In the ten minutes it took us to walk the loop, I was feeling better. I realized it happens a lot on the half mile track right outside my door. I'm looking for an answer and it comes to me. I've been angry at a friend and worked out a solution (and even find forgiveness). I can come up with the right words for this blog or maybe even have a brilliant idea (I think I'll do an ironman!). I even figured out what to wear to the party tomorrow night!
Here are EIGHT [more] REASONS TO WALK.