Four By Four

If you ever ran track you probably remember the four by four, or 4 x 400, as it is more aptly written.

In Minnesota at least, it was the last race of each track meet. Sometimes the win would come down to this final relay, four runners each running 400m, or one lap, of the track.

We’d be cheering wildly for our blue and green as the sun set, and I know the runners gathered adrenaline and speed from the excitement.

I personally never ran the relay, but the term “4 x 400” still instantly brings me back to high school.

Anyhow, the other morning, I set off for the local track. It’s been several months (oof!) since I’ve done any real speedwork, and I knew I needed to get back to it.

Our house is 2 miles or 2.5 miles from the track, depending which way I go. The longer route takes me along the bike path and through woods and gardens. The shorter route is the main highway into town.

For some reason I chose the short route to go to the track, and the longer one coming home. It just sounded appealing that way. I like the scenery on the way home, even on tired legs.

Of course I got a later start than normal, and I debated driving to get in a longer track workout. I decided against it though because I knew I’d skimp on my warmup and cool down.

Coming off my track hiatus it was probably smarter to spend the extra time running to and from the track and go easier on the speed anyway.

Because of my later start, I decided to tackle 400’s instead of 800’s as I’d planned.

Eight or even six repeats seemed like a reasonable number, but somehow four was all I managed.

They were a tough four though, and I kept it honest by not dawdling in between.

Recovery was 200 meters easy, 80-90 seconds I think, and then I went right into the next 400.

The splits? Well, I was aiming for 7:00 pace (about mile race pace), which would be 1:45.

Obviously track splits won’t be as consistent as a treadmill, but I’m still a tad disappointed in my lack of consistency. I always start too fast, and I have my worst splits in the middle.

1:39, 1:48, 1:39, 1:42 — that’s how they went down.

I could have managed a few more if time allowed, so I know I need to hit the track again next week. EVERY week would be good.

Looking back a few months in my training log, I see workouts like “6 x 800 meters, all at 7:30 pace or 3:45 each.”

I’ve got my work cut out for me. And still, I shouldn’t short change this workout. I got out there and ran 6 miles with 4 x 400 in the mix. That’s solid; okay, awesome for a June morning!

When I got home I guzzled my chocolate milk and got ready for the day.

Not to switch gears, but I’ve got a question for you guys that just occurred to me. You can be honest.

Am I sounding pushy or promotional or obnoxious when I talk about my love of chocolate milk and all things dairy?

I hope not, but you can tell me straight. Of course as a dairy farmer I support and believe in dairy products, but my blog is not meant to be an advertisement.

Even my “June is Dairy Month” link is solely meant as a resource. Just recipes, farming, and other dairy info I thought you might like. Nobody told me to put it there.

The deal is, for the most part, I gather you guys are a lot like me. Active, young(ish), busy, and looking to stay moderately healthy. So if I’m interested in something you might be too.

I write about running and dairy and farming, and I suppose you wouldn’t read my blog if these things didn’t appeal. I’m probably crazy to even write this, but I do care about your opinions. I blog for my myself, but I also blog for you. And I’d like you to keep following along. πŸ™‚

But back to the running. It felt great to get back on the track, and I know it will help me increase speed for some summer races. I’m still in limbo about a fall race, but I think I need to give it some more time. I’ll see how summer training goes and how a few other life things shake out.

I think I will enjoy running more and be more successful if I put off the next marathon and focus on a 1/2 or even 10K. But I still “want” to do the marathon. This racing thing is crazy I tell you!

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About Lisa

Hi, I'm Lisa. Dairy farmer's wife and Minnesotan to the core, I write about rural farm life, running down country roads, and the food, faith, and family that bind everything together. Follow along on my journey.
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10 Responses to Four By Four

  1. sweatykid says:

    Track workouts still intimidate the heck out of me! I just don’t often like to face “the truth” and the track is not very forgiving in that regard. Good job getting back out there… the split consistency will come back… seems like it is just a matter of shaking off the dust, right?

  2. Um, as a dairy farmer, I think you’ve earned the right to talk all you want about milk. πŸ˜‰ And in my opinion, you never come off as promotional or pushy. I actually just drank a glass of chocolate milk after my 6 mile run this morning! We buy milk from a local dairy farm (Royal Crest Dairy) and I prefer the taste over milk bought at the store.

    Just thought of a question – I’m assuming you drink the milk from your cows but does it go get pasteurized first?

    Good job on the track workout! They are tough but worth it.

    • Lisa says:

      Your milk sounds great! Does it come in glass bottles??

      What milk I drink is an interesting question I guess I haven’t blogged about before. We actually do not drink our own milk. I just buy it in the store like anybody else. There’s one local farm brand I can get at several convenience stores, or else I buy Land’O Lakes or store brand or whatever’s on sale. 1% by the gallon is my preference.

      We have a pasteurizer on-farm for our calf milk, but it wouldn’t occur to me to drink it as it’s stirring around at 102* feeding temperature. Of course it can be cooled down again, but logistically and food-safety wise we just feel best about buying our milk. And I definitely wouldn’t drink unpasteurized milk. It might be just fine, but I always liken it to asking for needless trouble. πŸ™‚

  3. Heidi Nicole says:

    You know what I’m going to say…talk your heart out about milk and dairy! But I might be biased! Regardless, I don’t think you push it or sound like a blogging billboard, so don’t worry.

    I give you a ton of credit for getting out on the track and running hard. Its hard to get the motivation and then scrounge up the dedication for lonely track workouts. Heck, I have a hard enough time getting my butt to the speed work that involves other runners and random free stuff. So kudos. And even if your splits are a little wonky three of them were below your goal – that counts for something, right?!

    • Lisa says:

      You’re right — solo track work is hard. Easy runs I love the alone time, but at the track a group would be more fun and help me push myself!

  4. Terzah says:

    I don’t think you are pushy about dairy at all. There are many other blogs out there that are much more pushy about products about which they have much less first-hand knowledge. I’m probably biased too–I love dairy products–may I never become lactose-intolerant!!

    And I should probably be more pushy about libraries on my blog. :^)

    Track work is hard. I have trouble with consistency too. But your times were all nice and quick, right? More repeats will come!

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks Terzah! And sure, you can definitely tout the library all you want. πŸ™‚ I love books and should try to keep up with reading better than I do.

  5. taratru says:

    I LOVE TRACK WORKOUTS!!!!!

  6. taratru says:

    Oops! Premature posting… πŸ™‚ I remember anchoring our 4×4 in high school – some of my favorite memories, for real. Nice job on the workout! And I LOVE your blog just the way it is.

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