It had been 4 years and 13 days since I stepped to the starting line on an outdoor track.
The track left me heartbroken and defeated in 2014. I was attempting to force times to prove to myself and others that I could excel in running post-collegiately rather than do what I loved. As soon as I stepped on the roads that summer, I felt like a new runner and that new runner had no desire to go back on the track.
The track made me feel tense. The roads made me feel free.
The track made me press. The roads made me listen to my body.
After being 4 years removed, I had some unsettled business on the track. I needed to prove to myself that running is running no matter where you do it. So last weekend I toed the line of the Portland Track Festival in attempt to qualify for the USA Championships in the 10k. The auto standard was 33:00.00 and I ran 33:00.59…I was so painfully close but ran a 76 second PR.
I made mistakes. I pressed early instead of just letting the race unfold. But that’s the beauty of learning and being uncomfortable. Turns out, the track isn’t so bad. Hopefully I’ll get one more chance this week to tackle another track 10k but if not, I’ll be back next year…with bigger goals and less fears.