A Kick in the Butt

Course: K-Stars Track Workouts

Instructor: Andy Chan

Location: Kezar Stadium

K-Stars that’s what they’re called. I showed up at Kezar Stadium on a blustery Thursday evening. It was 6:30pm - really the reason behind my choosing the K-Starts track workout. I wanted to do a track workout to bring my running up to speed, as it were and the 6:30pm start time was perfect. Many of the other workout groups who run programs at Kezar start at 7pm and I find it difficult to plan my eating around that start time.

I wasn’t certain where the group would be meeting. The track was buzzing with various groups and lots of individual runners flitting about the track. Luckily, I found the K-Stars on my first random group approach.

Andy, the coach, told me I was in the right place. He took my money (only $4 a session) and introduced me to the group. Looking around I immediately worried that I was about to majorly embarrass myself.

Everyone looked lean and fast. There were a few women but from the looks of them I knew I would not be running with them. They looked unassuming, but as a former cross country runner I knew what to look for and they had the gams of fast runners. I spied a shy older Asian man on the periphery of the group and figured I’d be running with him.

After some quick stretching and a few striders we went straight to the work-out. Six 800s.

Ugh, I thought. The 800 is two laps around the track as fast as you can. It’s tortuous. What makes it so taxing is that it requires both aerobic endurance and sprinting speed.

We did the first 800 to see where everybody fell out in terms of speed. And of course, I came in dead last. That shy older Asian gentleman who looked like he was pushing 70? He kicked my butt. I was beginning to get a sense of what the K might stand for in K-Stars.

After the first 800 I was put in the second group - the slow group. Then a strange thing happened. I realized that I wasn’t upset. The Alicia of a few years ago would have been mentally kicking herself. The Alicia that showed up though knew she was out of shape, knew she wouldn’t be the fastest. My goal was just to finish the workout. Which I did.

The group was very supportive, calling my name as I brought up the rear every single 800. Normally, this would have irked me to no end. But this time I just smiled and gave a thumbs up.

I realized that beating myself up for being out of shape or being ashamed of my performance was not going to help. Running has taught me that if you don’t run hard you’re going to slow down, and that if you push yourself just a little bit more each time you run, you can improve. Though it does take time. Which, I guess, is just like life.

Knowing I can get better if I put in the work is immensely comforting to me. It makes the course clear. And that course is made easier when I am another type of K with myself – kind.