Fartlek is Funny, I Don’t Care Who You Are

Fartlek: means “fast play”; to run with joy for no other reason that to enjoy one’s own motion. However…fartlek, a term which here means: to snigger like a 2nd grader because one just said fart.


I love tracks. All tracks. They make me feel fast, even though I’m joyously and ridiculously plodding. I’m a “clydesdale”, you see, which means I’m a fatty-boom-batty who runs and therefore deserves a special class. Its fitting, really, because of that one pilates instructor I had. “Mrs. W, you have the ass of a clydesdale. Do try to control where you put it.”

That guy irked me.

Anyway, for no other reason than I need to post something today, here is a list of some of my favorite tracks:

1) Republic High (now middle) School, Republic, Missouri. The first track I remember. It was cinder, left orange stains on my shoes and shins, and crunched deliciously underfoot. Shawn Berry was the track star back then and he lapped me like NAASCAR. The football players would sometimes be out there. Football players = The Meyers Twins. ***sigh*** yeah…that was a great track…

2) KO Knudson, Las Vegas, Nevada. I took Early Bird PE so that I could take an extra science class (because I rock nerd-dom all over the place like that) and we started out on the track every. stinking. morning. Even when we were just going to learn ping pong or square dancing.  It was a winding track that went through a park and was the first “squishy” track I remember. I felt like I was running on clouds. …or pencil erasers. It was gray and always wet with the dew of the desert at 6:20am.  I was on that track when the chlorine factory in Henderson exploded and also when we got the aftershocks of an earthquake in California.

3) Kickapoo High School, Springfield, Missouri. My boyfriend (now husband) ran with me there, then, late one night after we’d played in the sprinklers, he asked me to marry him.

4)Fort Sam Houston, Texas. There’s a huge oval track that lies in front of “Old BAMC”. At night, that track is peaceful, dark, lit only from ambient lights from the street and officer housing. It wasn’t squishy when we first got there, but rather black asphalt that had treacherous potholes and bumps. In the heat of the day, that track smelled like “Texas!-fresh, black oil.” I trained for my first half-marathon there.  I was regularly lapped by Wounded Warriors testing out their prosthetic legs…they were all like glittering, sweating gladiators.  I cheered for them as they passed me.  stompclickstompclickstompclick

5) Hedrick Stadium, Fort Bragg, NC. This was the finish line for my first long race, the one that made me think about a full 26.2, the Army Birthday 10-miler. I was dead last and got an IV when I finished…but I finished and my husband and kids were there to cheer me on.

6)Dough Boy Stadium, Fort Benning, Georgia. Dough Boy Stadium is…old. It evokes That Old Timey Feeling of The Great War, perfectly curled hair, and hot peanuts. I ran on that track after my third child was born; its where I trained for two more half-marathons and taught my kids about Prefontaine and Kara Goucher. My husband held our new-born son while I did 4×100’s.

A track is a lot like church: they are pretty much the same wherever I go, always welcoming, and always surprise me with their size and beauty. They are an oval friend who embraces my failings, celebrates my successes, and never judges. The track is just glad I showed up.

Don’t forget to enter my “Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking” giveaway!


6 thoughts on “Fartlek is Funny, I Don’t Care Who You Are

  1. One of my high schools was situated on the edge of a giant park with a cobblestone road/walkway through it. It made the dreaded “you guys are going to run 5k” classes much easier knowing we were going to be winding around the japanese gardens, the victorian rose gardens, the ponds, the swans (who would chase half the class angrily – those beasts are giant dillholes), through the forest and back around the other side of the rugby field (where the guys were *always* playing with their shirts off and I was a hormonal 8th grader).

    We called it the Yellow Brick Road and regular groomed ovals were just not the same later on in life. I am absolutely certain it was nowhere near as great as I remember it. I’m also pretty sure I still have scars on my calves from swan attacks.

    1. Well…it sounds lovely, anyway. Aside from the swan attacks. (enter Hot Fuzz reference here). …Shirtless rugby players = me tripping over air and drooling.

  2. I cannot believe a pilates teacher said that. Although it sounds funny, it really isn’t. If someone ever says that to me I am going to punch them in the nuts.

    I loved this post. You made me feel like I was at each of the tracks right there with you. And such great memories. I loved them all. I am so glad to know you.

    1. His name was Richard and he taught at Spectrum. He was a good teacher, just very…opinionated.

      🙂 Glad you enjoyed the post. I really enjoy tracks, all of them. Stoked moment: headed to the track in the morning! 🙂

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