You know how sometimes the first time you do something you get really nervous? Well, that happens to me. All. The. Freaking. Time. For example, in high school, I somehow was miraculously “sick” for my first track meet and “injured” for my first cross country meet. Yep, I backed out of both.
I have never been good with the unknown. I like to know what to expect and obviously if something is new to me, that isn’t exactly possible.
So this past Friday was my first indoor track meet ever. Sure, I dabbled in outdoor and cross country in high school, picked up track more seriously in college and eventually jumped on the cross country bandwagon, but indoor was uncharted territory for me. Add in that I was going to be running events I haven’t run since freshman year when my coach didn’t believe that I was a distance runner and thought I was on the team as a joke (true story. Look at me now, coach), I was a headcase.
Going into the meet, I was actually okay. I know that we’re using the indoor season to work on my speed. Somehow, I didn’t really take this to heart. So when he signed me up for the 4×800 and the mile, I wanted to back out. Way too many new things going on at once.
We headed off to Muhlenberg at 11:30am, arrived at 3 and Christine and I went outside to run around the track for a shakeout run. I was so sore from the previous day’s weight training activities and the squats we had been doing at practice all week. The longer I ran, the better I was feeling. We did about a mile and then the rest of the team came out to do their shakeout so I went with them. I kept feeling better and better. Still sore, but my legs were finally moving. Around 5 we did another team warmup inside on the track to tack on another mile.
The 160 meter track. Not 400, not 200. 160-meter. Who has a 160 meter track?!
The first event started at 6 and it was the mile. 10 laps around. I don’t think I really internalized this which made the run feel endless compared to the 4 laps I’m used to outdoors. My coach seeded me at a 6 minute flat but felt it was a bit conservative given where I’m at with my training. I agreed and was confident that I would be running closer to a 5:45. Clearly too confident.
The first 400 split I got was right on target. I think it was around an 88 which was exactly where I was supposed to be. Another lap or two went by and the breathing became difficult inside. There was no fresh air and that made it extremely difficult. My legs started to feel heavy from the workouts over the course of the week. I wasn’t the only one. Most of our team was way off where we were supposed to be. I finished with a time of a 6:28. The last time I ran the mile was my sophomore year in high school and I ran a 6:04. That’s embarrassing. I split faster times than that when I run a 6K in cross country or the 5K on the track. That’s embarrassing. I shook it off and ate the second half of my sandwich to prepare for the 4×800.
We cooled down on the treadmills for another 10 minutes or so and then my coach announced the A and B teams for the relays. Even though I was one of the faster girls, I was put on the B relay. I don’t particularly like relays nor do I have the speed to be an 800 runner, but it did sting at first. I was the lead off which meant I’d be running against another teammate of mine. He pulled me aside after to tell me that he was doing this so I can build my speed, and I was supposed to be working off of the other girl on my team I’d be running against to practice that. I don’t even know my split but by the time the relay started at 8:30, my body was asleep. It wasn’t a good time at all. I did another 10 minute cool down on the treadmills and we finally left the meet around 9:45pm.
When I was thinking about what went wrong at the meet, I realized that I’m a morning person. Over vacation, I was already in bed by 8:30 a lot of nights. My body was physically and mentally exhausted. I also psyched myself out and don’t have the speed to push through the shorter distances yet. I know what areas I have to improve on though to make these meets work for me, and that’s what this is. A learning experience. If I had backed out and faked sick or something like I was tempted to do, I would have been in the same situation next week when I run the 5K.
Do you get nervous over “firsts”?