if at first you don’t succeed….

First, let me start off by saying I will rarely write blog posts immediately after whatever it is I’m writing about. This is just the way it is, if you haven’t figured that out already. The good news is, I have a ridiculous memory and can recount events in my life like they were yesterday…complete with their theme songs. Because all life events have a soundtrack. I should move on before risking sounding crazy.

Last Tuesday, I was all set to do the Michigan workout with Princeton Intervals. More than set, actually, really excited and well prepared! This was going to be my last really hard effort before the marathon, and I was looking forward to tackling it for the first time since spring 2011. Given that in 2011 I was unable to finish due to it being the final straw in the abrupt development of my pelvic stress fracture, I should have known it wouldn’t go too smoothly. This is a great workout, for anyone taking notes for ideas. I suppose it originated from Michigan’s track program, but I discovered it from my own college coach. It was the longest and most anticipated feared workout each cross country and track season, and it goes like this:

michiganOn my warmup, I knew I might have a problem. It was a problem I have had several times before, but I had managed to keep under control for the past few months, mostly due to fear the problem would arise. The culprit: acid reflux. It gets exacerbated by running, and creeps up based on no identifiable reason. It only happens when I have eaten something during the day, so I’ve never had an issue in the morning. But, it was a 6:30pm workout and there was no way I could have Gu and only Gu all day. The food I ate was normal, not heavy, and not acidic, so I was surprised this feeling overtook me just in time for this workout. (To be honest, I think this time it was mainly caused by being anxious and stressed about something non-running related.)  It basically feels like my lungs are being strained, making my pace automatically slow. It’s purely chest pain, no stomach distress, despite what people think when I tell them “acid reflux.” I felt like I was taking part in some intense beer mile. It was awful. However, since I was so  excited for this workout and everyone was depending on my instructions, I showed up and attempted to do it, hoping the awful feeling would go away. It didn’t. I think my 1600 was 6:35 (goal = ~ 6:10), and my tempo mile was over 7:00. The 1200 was actually 1066 meters, adapted to our workout location, and that was pretty slow too. After the second tempo mile, during which I stopped because I thought I was going to vomit, I gave up on the workout. I literally could not run without feeling nauseated and overcome by chest pain, and it was simply not worth it if I wasn’t hitting any times I wanted to hit. I knew what this feeling was, and I knew it would not get better until the next day.

So what did I do? I got up the next day and tried again. A redemption workout. One workout I have been curious about for awhile is Yasso 800s. I first read about the famed workout in an old Runner’s World article here, and after reading many “it doesn’t really work” articles subsequently, plus discussing it with my aunt, I decided I wanted to try it, with some modifications. On Wednesday, I planned on doing the 800s with 200 meters of jogging recovery between each. I wanted to definitely hit under 3:30 for each. That sounded really easy, given that it’s 7:00 pace on a track, so I thought I’d be happier if they were all closer to 3:20 than 3:30…but I had no idea how the workout would feel, so I would just see what happened! I would aim for 10, as the full workout calls for, but because I did do 3.5+ miles of harder effort the night before (even if it was an epic fail) I would be satisfied with cutting it to 6, or even in half.

My results: 3:17 (1:04), 3:24 (1:14), 3:25 (1:15), 3:21 (1:10), 3:20 (1:16), 3:22 (1:11), 3:23 (1:15), 3:15. Average = 3:20.8 

I was pleased with this. First, because I was going to stop after 5…then 6. Then 7. But I stopped after 8, mostly because I had to head in to work soon and wanted time to cool down. After that eighth, I was wiped. This was mostly because I was still sore from the previous Friday’s crazy warm long run, I think, plus the run Sunday night and the previous night’s failed workout. Basically, all I was thinking in my head on the last 800 was, I can taper after this. Words I have never before had a chance to earn the right to say. And how great it was that I am looking forward to this! This means that a.) I probably trained hard enough, and b.) I’ll probably listen to my body and be rested on race day. (Yes, I added those “probablies” after I typed that potentially overconfident couple of statements…) Thoughts on the Yasso 800 workout itself: I don’t think it’s a definite indication of what you can do in the marathon, but it is a good workout when you don’t take much rest! Do I expect to run a 3:20? Not exactly. It would be pretty sweet, but the workout taught me some things other than that, and that is perfectly fine.

Also, REDEMPTION. Who has time for ill-timed acid reflux? Not me and my training schedule, thank you very much.

Have you ever had a redemption run/workout? A day when you just had to say “let me try this again tomorrow…”? Re: Yasso 800s – tell me your stories! What were your Yasso 800 times vs. your marathon times? Just curious….


4 thoughts on “if at first you don’t succeed….”

  1. I’m curious about Yasso’s too. I didn’t run them for my first marathon, but I’m trying to incorporate more speedwork this round, and will probably try it out. Nice job getting some speedwork redemption. 🙂

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