Morning Becomes Elliptic

A crescent moon winked above a slumbering campus. Fever dreams brewed about new classes, past fun warmed by summertime sun, or perhaps about roaming free as black bears do. The savory bouquet of velvety catmint along the tended footpaths grew heady in the moist air, almost but not quite still. Even in the longest darkness, something westerly stirred.

We were not the first, or even the second, persons to use Greenberg Track this morning. Some phantoms commenced their running without even inviting their shadows (the sheltered track and infield are unlit). Closer to the edge of twilight, Jerry and Carla arrived together, so I joined them for a couple miles of chatty warm-up and helped to pace the first two of their 800m intervals.

As we did this, Paul and Jesse filtered onto the scene, now illuminated by Carla’s leggings, and made their own preparations. For Paul, this meant shaking off the rust from Sunday’s successful 20-plus miles, shucking his shirt, and waiting for me to slip into my Jurassic-period cross country waffles. As for Jesse, preparation required a bit more guts.

You see, this morning was Jesse’s first day of track school. First. Day. Ever! We began at the beginning: here’s the starting line. Here’s how to run at pace with a group. Here’s how to pass. Here’s why the lines are curved and staggered. The track is this many meters around. Don’t sweat missing a split.

Disregard the muscle-bound bro with headphones hogging lane one while grunting “TRACK” at all the wrong times. Disregard the same bro skittering into lane three while the fast boyz bear down on him in lanes 1 and 2. Enter from the outside lanes. If there’s traffic, exit toward the infield. Enjoy the arrival of the Varsity Field Hockey team, but beware of projectiles.

Jesse got it, and stamped a groundbreaking workout in the company of his club-mates. Better still, this put to rest any lingering doubts about last year’s SI joint fracture. “Photon” Frantz is back.

Come join us next week: same place, same time!