I MUST tell you about my amazing teammates. It took me awhile to decide whether I wanted to commit to a club and twice-weekly workouts as I value the flexiblity of working out on my own schedule. Now that I’ve been a member of UTTC Masters for a year, the resounding verdict is triple-YES and WooHoo! How do I love UTTC Masters, I could count the ways but I’ll start with this. I am the oldest female on the team and am usually training for longer distances than my track-focused teammates. This means that more often than not, I do the maximum number of track repeats. So, combined with my age-diminished speed, I am usually the last off the track. What this means is that I get lots of cheers as my teammates cool-down and there are pace bunnies aplenty.
On many occasions my teammates have jumped in to help me through the final stages of my workouts. The younger men, have paced me for whole segments as part of their cool-down while the somewhat-younger-than-me women have helped me kick it in through the final lap. Most recently I can thank Linda, Nathalie and Rita! And thanks Charlie who, I suspect, has been adding on an extra lap or two from his original target to keep me company.
My first experience with being paced was last year when Annie, “The Queen of Fifth Avenue” ran the last two laps of a 1K time trial with me. Yes, Annie won her age-category at the Fifth Avenue Mile. Her balletic running form is admired by all of us. Just check out those pointed toes in the top photo as she breaks the tape in NYC.
Last Thursday, four of us ran 6 X 600 together and then I was on my own for the rest of my 12 X 600 workout, or so I thought. My teammates stood by the track to cheer me on and then jumped in for the final 150 meters of each repeat. That made things so much easier. One teammate to push and one to pull me along. Yesterday, I had a big workout of 5 x 1 mile with 3 minutes rest. With no company for the final repeat, Michael paced me through the last seven-minute mile. It was the fastest of the lot but felt the easiest.
In all my years of training with various teams, I’ve never had this kind of support, a benefit in part of getting slower. Thanks guys and gals. I guess it is never too late to discover how running with pace-bunnies can make track work, the hardest type of workouts, easier and fun!
* Many of the photos of masters runners taken at track and cross-country meets have been taken by Doug Smith, another amazing teammate and dedicated Ontario Masters Track & Field Association volunteer extraordinaire.