Heart Rate Monitor training on the track is not exactly the most exciting 5 miles I’ve spent in training. As I run around the track I settle into a zone, listening to my iPod music to make the time go by a little faster. I feel as if I’m moving incredibly slow as I constantly monitor my heart rate on my Garmin watch. There’s a few other people there at the track running and at least one is doing some speed work. I want to yell out to them, “I can really run much faster too. My coach is making me run this slow.” Really I think to myself, I’m a long distance runner and these people probably think I’m some old person trying to keep a New Year’s resolution to get in shape. This is going to be a long 5 mile run, slow and then slower still.
I’m at the school track just down the road from my house. My girls both went to school here several years back, and my teenage son is currently a freshmen at the High School. As I run past the stands and look up into them, I think back to the time when as a parent I stood in them for every football game and watched every time the band marched on that very field. I would have never imagined back then as I watched from that vantage point that I would one day be down running on that track. I was running circles around a field that held memories and history for me and my family.
The football team back then had a good run for a couple of the best seasons in the school’s history. I knew many of the kids on the field and their parents. Had watched some of them grow up from elementary age. Those young teens have all since grown up to be awesome young men and women. The name of the football field was now “Lutzie Field.” During a couple of those years I was in the stands watching the games, Philip Lutzenkirchen along with several other players were constantly making the big plays. Lutz was in the same grade as my oldest daughter and they graduated together before he went on to play college ball and then Pro ball briefly, before his tragic death in a car accident. “Live like Lutz, Love like Lutz and Learn from Lutz” reflected the Lutzie 43 Foundation motto. Who would have guessed back then that this young man might have an impact on my life years later. I think about him as I run my slow pace around the track. I think about the band that marched on the field, and my daughter who marched for 4 years in that band. The Tradition Continues is still the bands motto and that legacy that was left there encouraged me as I ran.
I’m here running this track because my coach has sent me here for my HR training test. I’m then reminded of my own training and the race I’m focusing on that is in my own home town, where I spent my teenage years. The track running, in slow circles is a bit boring. Then I think of something I heard my coach say, “The further you run, the stronger you get.” I begin to feel like I could just keep running like that forever. Time’s up. Wow, that was a fast 5 miles with lots of memories! Maybe this Heart Rate training won’t be so bad after all.