Seebo's Run

A running commentary on my training and whatever else emerges from that.

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Yasso 800's

Yesterday I said we’d be in Katy TX today. Almost made it. Thanks to another episode of bungling from the folks at USAir, T and I are at my in-laws in Arlington TX this morning. Seems like they messed up T & my tickets (M & C’s were okay), and had the wrong email address so each time they notified us it bounced back. They had our phone number, but nobody ever thought to call. So, we are at the airport without valid tix, and the best they could do was either send us to Houston on Friday or to Dallas last night. We chose the latter, and we’ll drive down to Katy with my in-laws shortly. Gotta be flexible.

That means I did my track workout this morning (the one that was postponed from Tuesday) on the Hutchinson Junior High track just down the street. My in-laws live in East Arlington, which has become the low-rent part of Arlington. A “bad” neighborhood in Arlington is still better, socioeconomically speaking, than the majority of Philadelphia neighborhoods, but the decay was evident on the track, which was “old school” (literally) gravel – rutted with little weeds poking through in the outside lanes and glittering in parts with pieces of broken glass. Even the football field inside the oval (football fields in Texas are treated like shrines) was riddled with crab grass and fire ant mounds. But the track was still (presumably) 400 meters around, and I had some work to do.

The workout of the day was a set of 8 to 10 “Yasso 800s,” with a 400 meter recovery lap. I’ve never done these Yasso 800s before as I’ve considered them a bit gimmicky, but the premise is that you take your predicted marathon time, in hours and minutes, and transpose them to your target time for the 800m reps, in minutes and seconds. Thus I’m shooting for a 2:40 time in Boston, so I targeted my 800’s at 2:40. This idea was developed by a Runner’s World guy, Bart Yasso, and popularized by Hal Higdon, who says they are a good predictor of marathon performance.

I nailed the first four in 2:39, 2:36, 2:41, and 2:39. Number 5 was in 2:40 but on the recovery I knew that there were more many reps left than I had energy. I focused on one rep at a time to see if I could survive to 8, but #6 was in 2:42 and then halfway through #7 I started feeling nauseous, my mouth got really dry and around the back turn you could stick a fork in me, I was done. Reps 7-9 in 2:48, 2:50; and 2:52; and I rallied a little to bring the last rep back down to 2:46. With the warmup and cooldown the workout totaled 12 miles, with the total time as 90:06. Resting pulse was 48, I meant to get a max pulse but forgot.

Track workouts gone bad always leave me with an intense sense of failure. Why couldn’t I push myself any faster? Seems like it all it would have required was a simple act of will. If these damn Yasso’s hold out, that won’t bode well for me in Boston, etc. etc. The better self talk says to look at these like weightlifting reps, that if I nailed all of these then the workout was too easy. Shoot a little beyond my capability, like I did today, to get the full benefit of the workout. Whatever is right approach, the key is just to move on. My legs felt nicely weary on the cooldown, as they feel on a long hike, a feeling made even cozier by the absence of any pains that I could worry about. By way of a good omen, upon running my cooldown laps I noticed I was watched by a pair of falcons who had a big messy nest way up in one of the skylights.

And now my legs should should get nice and tight on the drive down to Katy.


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