Tuesday was by far the nicest January day I have ever experienced in my tenure as a Montana resident. It was warm enough to be a spring day, and there’s nothing like a dose of spring weather to get me thinking about track workouts.


Even though I’ve been “out of the game” for well over a year now, I just couldn’t resist the urge to head out into that sunny, 50-degree goodness for a little interval workout.


I headed to Playfair Park, one of my favorite places to do speed workouts. (FYI: If you’re new to running, this is a great place to go — it’s flat and soft, and the biggest loop is just under a mile.)


When I got there, I saw that there were lots of people who had the same idea — many of whom, I suspected, were making good on their recently declared New Year’s resolutions. For that reason, I tried to be extra friendly to the walkers and joggers I met along the trail, throwing in the occasional “keep it up” or “nice job” to those who looked like they could use a little extra encouragement.


As I began my speed session, I quickly realized that it would take a lot more than nostalgia and warm weather for me to complete a workout like the ones I used to run back in my track and field days. It wasn’t long before I was huffing and puffing harder than anyone else out there.


To my surprise, some of the same people I had cheered on earlier returned the favor when I passed by them again. Hearing their words of encouragement gave me the boost I needed to finish what I had set out to do — albeit much slower than originally planned.


During my cool-down jog, I thought about how lucky I am to live in a place where so many people not only value fitness and health, but also are eager to support others who share that value.


Keep moving, Missoula!


Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.