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Running and taking a nap are at opposite ends of the activity spectrum. Yet often when I have a cold, as I did this past week, I find myself trying to choose which activity to do. This was the case on Tuesday, which if you recall, was the best weather day we had this past week. Battling a cold and coming home from a busy day at work, I debated whether to go for a quick run or just make supper and relax afterwards.  In the back of my mind I knew that some type of exercise makes me feel better, it’s finding the motivation to take the first steps.

I found my motivation in the form of Beth, my daughter. When I got home I asked her if she’d ride bike with me as I ran. In a cheerful voice she replied “yes Mom.” While it was only a 2 mile run, the activity combined with the sun on my face and the pleasant conversation of my daughter was just the tonic I needed. To top it off, Dale had prepared supper and everything was ready when I got back home.

I’m glad I forced myself to do a little bit of exercise. In the spirit of full disclosure I should mention that Wednesday night, I did spend most of the evening relaxing on the couch. Thursday I felt much better. I’m sure it’s a combination of rest and exercise that helps me get over my cold, but I can honestly say that when I’m not feeling good, I try to exercise. Whether it’s the blood pumping or the endorphins flowing, something about it helps me feel better.

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Brett and Adam are entering into the “thick” of the track season. Brett has been running the 3200 meter (2 mile) race at the varsity level. His time has been right around 12:00 minutes, with his best being 11:55. He hasn’t placed very high, but seems to be improving as he runs against older, stronger guys.

Adam runs the 1600 meter (1 mile) race mostly on the Jr. High level, but has competed in 1-2 varsity races. His time has been right around 6:10 minutes, with his best being 6:02. His goal this year is to beat 5:55.

A track meet has a very different tempo compared to other sports. When you watch a football or basketball game, there is almost constant action. Track however seems to be periods of inactivity interrupted with a race. However, as you look over the field, there is always something happening. Runners are warming up or cooling down. Field event people are jumping or throwing.

Short distance events take place in front of the grandstand. This allows for a great deal of audience participation as they cheer their runners towards the finish line. However, when you’re a distance runner, there are a lot of quiet spots around the track as you circle the 4 or 8 laps it takes to run 1600 or 3200 meters. I always felt it was particularly challenging for the 3200 meter runners as their event is second to last. The meet has been going on for 3 1/2 to 4 hrs and the sun is ready to set. People are anxious for the last event, the 4 x400 relay and to go home. Yet here we have these dedicated kids who have waited all night to perform their event. The crowd is thinner and the cheering might not be as loud, but that doesn’t stop them from “leaving it all on the track” as we say.

Once you understand how a track meet flows, it really is a great event. Listening to the crowd roar as the lead runner crosses the finish line can send shivers down your spine. It does mine.