- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 5, 2004

I will admit that for decades, I have been a track addict.

I have tried to quit. Many times. It is hard.

Every time I try, I remember the high I get from running track, the rush and the thrill, and I go right back.

I even tried the 12-lap program, but it was useless. I just cannot help myself.

You know you are addicted when you plan holidays and vacations around track competitions, when you cannot bear the thought of parting with a pair of decomposing spikes, when you long for the smell of the starter’s pistol, when you allow yourself to get sucked into waiting six hours at a meet for a race that takes a minute or two.

While many of us use the track as our racing venue, many others do or should use it as a means to improve their running. Even marathoners train on the track.

If you want to run faster, whether you run 5Ks, 10Ks or beyond, the goal is to increase your turnover. One great way to gain speed is through track workouts, but who wants to run track workouts on an icy cold day in winter?

Thus, one way to have fun training for speed in the warmth is to participate (I purposefully did not say “compete”) in many of the area’s developmental meets. Locally, you have virtually a meet each weekend starting Dec.19, for an entry fee cheaper than the cost of a movie.

That marks the first of the all-comers meets at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover. The other dates are Jan.16 and 30 and Feb.20 (Masters only) and 27. Race walking and field events are included. Registration begins at 7:30a.m. at www.pvtc.org.

The Potomac Valley Track Club all-comers meets take place Jan.9 and 23 and Feb.6 at Thomas Jefferson Community Center in Arlington, with registration beginning at 7:45a.m. There are no field events. Call 703/218-2726.

Add some trips to the Philadelphia area and you have a full schedule. The Philadelphia Masters have all-comers meets next Sunday, Jan.9 and 30, and Feb.13 and 26. Call Kyle Mecklenborg at 215/393-1382.

And finally, put on your schedule the Mountain Express Open Indoor track meet at Hagerstown (Md.) Community College on Dec.30. Call 301/293-4219.

Wardian to tread on world record — When marathons weren’t challenging enough, he started doing five-day 100-mile stage races in the mountains and across deserts. Now Michael Wardian is basically running nowhere — on a treadmill — in an attempt to set a world marathon record.

The 30-year-old Arlingtonian and 2004 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier is scheduled to begin his quest at 11a.m. Saturday in conjunction with the grand opening of the second Pacers store located at the Clarendon Metro station in Arlington.

“I have a friend Serge Arbona that did the 24 hours world record on the treadmill last year and I thought that would be a cool thing to do, but right now I am running marathons, and so I thought perhaps I could parlay that into an attempt to run the fastest marathon on the treadmill,” said Wardian, who is in Memphis this weekend for the St. Jude’s Marathon. “Then I saw Josh Cox run a marathon [world record 2:31:05 in April 2004] on a treadmill at the Boston Marathon, and I thought that is something I should do.”

So how does one train for 2 hours on a treadmill at top speed?

“I have not trained that much on the treadmill but I have started to do so more often and it is great,” Wardian said. “I have been going to Gold’s Gym [which provides the treadmill] every morning, and I love being there and seeing all the other people working to get fitter.”

This is the only marathon where people can see Wardian the entire race, and he said his entire family — new wife Jennifer, his and her parents and his two dogs, Nikki and Maggie — may be there.

He also said the course will be flat, Chicago Marathon-style, with a tailwind, plenty of water and no traffic throughout the course. And let’s hope he doesn’t go off course like he did in Baltimore last year.

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