Who Was Yasso, Anyway?

running-track2So, this is the note that we got from Run Coach Simon about the workout that I just finished:

There IS a marker on your schedule for tomorrow.  I thought I’d send out a quick explanation because it might not completely make sense on the spreadsheet.  First, if you’re feeling sore tomorrow, feel free to postpone the workout until later in the week.  I’d prefer if you did it on fresh legs.  Second, you’re going to run 10 800’s (half a mile…you can do it on a track or a flat section of road) as fast as you can (most likely, your 800m pace associated with your VDOT score is going to be what you can handle for 10 of them, since you’ll be resting in between).  So, if your VDOT is 34, your 800m-repeat pace is 4:13 per 800.  I want you to do at least the first 6-7 800’s at 4:13.  If you’re feeling good, try to do the last 3-4 faster (as fast as you can).  If you’re not feeling great, just try to hang on to a pace as close to 4:13 as you can.

How much rest should you take in between each one?  If your current VDOT score is between 0-30, take 4 minutes rest in between 800’s.  If your VDOT score is 30-60, take 3 minutes rest in between 800’s.  Note:  this is a long speed workout…a person with a VDOT of 28 would likely take 90 minutes to complete it.  Budget your time accordingly.

 What I need from each of you afterwards is the average of your ten 800 times (and any notes regarding your experience during the workout…did you feel fatigued?  Did you work on a particular part of your form?).  So, if you did 4:21, 4:23, 4:20, 4:25, 4:26, 4:24, 4:20, 4:17, 4:12, 4:05, then your average would be 4:19…that’s the number I need.  I’ll provide individual feedback when I receive that number from you.

AND. SO. When I started in November, I had a VDOT of 25 (and I was running too fast when we did the Marker, too – I got competitive – I probably should have been closer to a 23). This would mean (we have a chart) that my 800 time would be 5:37. The chart gives you pacing for various runs  based on your VDOT score – e.g., “2 mile marker” (which is what we do to get the VDOT), 5k, 5k pace/mile, easy, long, tempo, 800s, and marathon pace. I was pretty pleased that in December, when we did our second Marker run (when I was coming off of being sick, too), I had moved up to VDOT of 27 (the chart goes to 60, if you were curious – it starts at 10). That would be an 800 pace of 5:14.

OK, well, 5:14 seemed immensely fast to me, since in the previous 800 workouts I’ve done during weekly training, the best I’d ever done an 800 in was 6:10.

So I set out to do the 10 x 800s in Tiburon. I was supposed to meet Mentor Margaret and Iron Mel at 5:00 p.m. to do it together, but I realized once I “did the math” that this would put me home quite late, which wasn’t going to work. That was a bummer – I always love seeing them, they are always so great.

I did what I was supposed to do – run as hard as I could on the 800. I looked at my watch, TOTALLY confident I HAD to be close to that 5:14 pace. I mean – I was a 27 VDOT, after all, and that was taken WEEKS ago! So I bet I was maybe even a 28!  I was winded and did not feel so great – and I hadn’t even made 5:14, my watch read 5:19.

I was glad of the 4 minutes I had to walk and regroup, figuring that I must “somehow” have not quite given it all that first time. But with each successive 800, I felt like I was working harder and harder (on the 9th I actually had an asthma attack – crapola), and my times got longer and longer and longer.

My times (with 4 mins in between) were: 5:18, 5:19, 5:30, 5:37, 5:39, 5:44, 5:51, 5:56, 5:50, 5:55. This is an average of 5:39. That’s back down to between VDOT 25 and 26. Ah well, maybe the 27 was a fluke.

 I keep getting these Rude Awakenings. I read other athletes’ blogs, and they are all happy they are learning new things, kicking cancer, training like demons, etc. All I feel is super emotionally depressed. OK LOOK, I KNOW, I haven’t exercised since 2006. Not a freakin’ LICK. It’s only been since November 7th that I have done ANYTHING to move my body. But for some reason, my mind is just not getting around this concept. I think that it’s like the authors said in “Younger Next Year” – you just kinda “think” that you are still in the shape that you were when you were at your peak…or that you are not TOO far off. (e.g., the overweight ex-college football quarterback star polishing the trophies that date back decades, but “he could totally go out there and kick butt.”)

In the Louie on Sunday, I was an HOUR longer than I thought I would be. I’m not sure why, but again, I somehow still have my PR (3:16) in my head. Oh silly grrl, that was at the Chicago Sun-Times in ~1988~ – when you’d been training for a couple years AND you were in your 20s AND the bike course was dead-ass flat. But here again, in doing these repeats, I just felt so emotionally overwhelmed with how CRAPPY I am doing. I couldn’t even make the FIRST 800 time, much less, as Simon says above, for “the first 6 or so.” I think I had the asthma attack on the 9th because of being so emotionally overwrought with how unfit, fat, and just overall old and crapped out I am.

Yeah so OK, my blog is not all about conquering obstacles and feeling great and kicking cancer and being an instrument for change. Today, it’s just about a grrl who let herself get to be a big fat cow and feels really down about it. And So It Goes.