Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sorta sucky speedwork

Well, it had to happen sometime—a bad run. Ha! If you think that today is the first time I've ever had a less than stellar run, well, your opinion of me is a lot better than it should be.

Actually today wasn't a completely bad run, I've undoubtedly had worse. It was, however, an example of a speedwork FAIL in a way that really hasn't happened before. (It hasn't happened because I set my speedwork standards low.) It was bad enough, also, to make my delirious planning last night of future runs looked like the ravings of a masochist. "Yes, I want to cause myself pain, more pain!"

The first sign that today might not turn out for the best was when I had to make two (yes, two) relatively emergent bathroom stops in the first three miles. One around the halfway point and another when I passed my house at just under the three mile point. That done (and surely there could be nothing left in my body to cause me any woe), I headed for the track about a quarter of a mile from my house.

My ambitious plan was nine 800's (half-mile) with a quarter mile recovery between them. This was part of my Yasso 800 scheme, working up to ten repeats before the marathon. Under this theory, the time it took me in minutes and seconds to do these 800's would be the time in hours and minutes I could do a marathon.

Now, I'll admit I'm only doing a rough approximation of this plan. First, my splits are half miles, not 800's. And you are supposed to jog for the same number of minutes between repeats as it took you to do each 800 (my quarter mile jogs are about 2:30, less than the half mile time). Also, Greg McMillan points out in one of his articles that if this does work, the marathon time is more likely to be about five minutes slower than the 800 times. (Which works for me, as my 800 times on a good day tend to be about 3:55.)

It is probably pretty obvious from all the parentheticals and italics that I am about to admit (and perhaps explain) how (and why) I blew it big time today.

First. I didn't do nine. I only did six. I don't know for sure if I could have done all nine but I ran out of time about when I was ready to give up the ghost and go home. On the positive side, number six was my fastest. I do think there would have been a problem had I tried to go on, though, because shortly into my final recovery run I had to turn around and head quickly to the nearest bathroom.

Second. These were the slowest 800's I. Have. Ever. Done. Only four of the six were at a sub-8 minute pace. My last one was the fastest, though, at 3:54 and a 7:52 pace.

Third. I think there was something goofy with the Garmin satellites. Not to lay blame or anything, but even though my watch said that I stopped at .5 mile each time, it took further around the track than it ever has before to get to the point of half a mile. Obviously, if I was going extra distance, that is why it took me longer than usual. Right? Right???

So, based on my performance today, not only would I not run a sub-4 hour marathon, but I would most likely quit about 2/3 of the way through. (Or run for the nearest porta potty....)

Now that I've beat myself down, here is where I pull myself up again with some wise conclusions.

Still waiting.

Well, I suppose a taste of failure doesn't hurt anyone. It's not exactly failure. I was out there running at 6 a.m. and my 800's were at a good clip, if not as fast as I would like. And I did run 8.14 miles altogether, which is no walk in the park.

And it is a good lesson to remind me that maybe I won't run a sub-4 marathon this time around. (Though I'm not saying I won't, just maybe.) Like with my run this morning, there's all sorts of wild cards that can screw up the best laid plans. For example, stomach issues (duh). Or an unexpectedly tough course. Or it just might not be my day. Or it could be too hot, or too cold, or too windy, or too rainy to do my very best. And even if I don't run sub-4, I will still finish and probably do a pretty good job of it.

I would still like to do the ten final Yasso's, though I'll admit I'm nervous about it. I really have to make sure I start out extra early and allow more time than I think I'll need. Running out of time just gave me license to quit today. I don't know if I can make enough time to do a full 3:50-ish minute recovery in between laps, though.

I might also mention that over Saturday-Sunday-Monday I ran a total of 41 miles. That might have played a small part in my leg speed.

Anyhow, my slightly revised plan for the rest of this week is to rest tomorrow (go to the Y), run on Friday morning, rest completely on Saturday, and run the Capital City Half in Olympia on Sunday.

Hope everyone's having a good week! Already halfway through!

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