Back in another lifetime, I was a moderately enthusiastic member of my high school’s track team. I cared…kinda…sorta…on occasion. All right, realistically, my involvement on my high school’s track team fell very low on my list of priorities as a teenager, and more served as an easy way to earn myself a varsity letter and a nice extracurricular to add to my college applications. I liked to describe myself as “spectacularly mediocre,” which I think fairly represents my skill level. I had a 100-meter dash PR of 14.5 seconds, running long jump PR of 13’…something”, a 400-meter dash PR of 1:1x — all times good enough to keep me from ever coming in dead last, but nothing that ever even put me in contention for placing in a meet, or even coming within spitting distance of placing, unless only three people happened to compete in that event at any given meet. And while I kinda…sorta…on occasion wished I was better at track, most of the time, I just didn’t care. I had long since resigned myself to the fact that I was not a natural athlete, and accepted that I would never run fast enough or jump far enough to earn my team any points.
I quit track after high school, and while I suppose I can’t say with absolute certainty that I wouldn’t have stood a chance at making my DIII school’s track team, I feel pretty confident in saying that unless my college’s team, for some inexplicable reason, had a no-cut policy just like my high school’s team, I probably wouldn’t have stood a chance at making my DIII school’s track team. I missed the long jump very briefly, and then got over it, moved on with my life, went through college, became equally spectacularly mediocre at distance running, and here we are today.
Earlier this year, however, I received an invitation on Facebook from my old track coach to an alumni track meet, and, for reasons I simply cannot explain, I immediately decided that this sounded like so much fun that I’d go home specifically for this meet.
So that’s what I did this past weekend.
The event served as fundraiser for the campaign to get my high school a new track. My high school needed a new track when I started high school, which, for those of you keeping score at home, was 12 years ago (*panics*). Our athletic director, however, had other priorities (specifically: the girls’ soccer team, of which his daughter was a member), and for whatever reason seemed to have a vendetta against the track program and refused to send any of the department’s money our way, leaving our track to deteriorate to the point where this year, my high school couldn’t even host home track meets, because the surface is in such a state of disrepair.
And trust me, that’s not even the worst of it.
Please note how the track surface is gone in parts of the first lane, leaving just asphalt behind. To my understanding, you generally do not want grass growing in the middle of your track, so it is WELL past time for my high school to get a new one. Fortunately, they’ve raised enough money (and the athletic director is retiring this year. Coincidence? I’m…not so sure!) to replace it this summer, but in the mean time, we got to send it out with one last (unofficial) meet.
My coach let anyone run whatever events they wanted, so I signed up for the long jump and the 100 (see: reliving the glory days), and the mile, which I never once even came close to running in high school, but wanted to run this time to see how fast I could do it. When I arrived at the meet on Saturday, my coach was happy to let me know that he had also decided to place me on a 4×100 team (which, by the end of my track days, was one of my routine events – I think at every meet of my senior year, I ran the 4×1, 4×2, and did the long jump), so I ended up doing that as well.
I am no longer the person I was in high school in SO many different ways, but, of particular relevance to this situation, I am at least 15 pounds heavier than I was as a 17 year old, and I am no longer, in any way, trained to sprint. Unsurprisingly, this became quite evident at the meet, where my best long jump was a 10’5″, and I ran the 100 in 17 seconds flat (which, for the record, would have had me coming in dead last if I ran that kind of time in high school). I did take minor consolation in the fact that the two other girls I knew who ran the 100 on Saturday were both substantially faster than I was in high school, and while they did both beat me, the winner ran a 14.x, which she absolutely never would’ve run in high school (since that was what I ran in high school), so at least we’ve all gotten slower in time. Both of those girls were also on my 4×100 team on Saturday, which helped us win the event!
As for the mile, I ran a 7:15, which I was quite pleased with, given the fact that I didn’t have the foggiest idea how to accurately pace myself for a mile, since it has been a LONG time since I ran less than 3.1 for speed. I still lost, of course, but as far as I can remember, that’s the fastest mile I’ve ever run, so yay! I also had the unparalleled pleasure of running the first leg of the 4×1 immediately after I finished the mile, which was…a new experience. Haha.
I woke up on Sunday SO sore, which was just embarrassing, given the fact that I should have run nearly 10,000 meters that day (I had a 60 minute long run on my schedule that I definitely skipped) and instead only ran 1800. But man oh man, everything hurt on Sunday: my quads, my hamstrings, my abs. It was ridiculous. I had SUCH a fun time, though. I don’t have all that many good feelings about my high school or my time there, but it was a lot of fun to go back to a place where I spent four developmental years of my life and pretend to be a kid again.
(At least when I wasn’t thinking about how many years it’s been since I was in high school. That sucked the fun out of things really fast 😛 )