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June 4, 2012 / fionarwbl

My Running Mojo is Back: Long Runs and Yassos Make Me Feel Strong

This weekend was fantastic, from start to finish. And by start, I mean my 5.30pm Espumoso Rosado (what? You don’t speak Spanish wine? Sparkling rose 🙂 ) that I had at the bar at Tertulia while waiting for a friend for dinner. There’s no better way to start a weekend that with something sparkling and alcoholic. Of course, if it keeps going with multiple plates of fabulous food, including an amazing potato, ham, and cheese dish, and an octopus tentacle, and pan con tomate, and more, well, all the better. Tertulia is one of the best places I’ve eaten for a while, and definitely lived up to its reputation.

All those eggs, salt, fat, and protein must have done something right, because my entire 14 mile run on Saturday morning felt easy. I cannot remember the last time a run in general felt easy, never mind a 14 mile one. I woke early on Saturday morning to get the run in before escaping the city for the weekend. I aimlessly pottered around getting ready in a relaxed way, which reminded me of why I find mid-week morning runs so difficult; I’m rushing around so much that it feels like there are 4 minutes between getting out of bed and suddenly I’m running on the sidewalk to the park and my body is in shock about what the hell just happened. At 7:15 I eventually made it out, and started an easy pace to Riverside for a West Side Highway run.

It was a damp morning with a little bit of light rain when I started, but it cleared up after about 10 minutes. After a little bit of pace shuffling during the first two miles, I settled into a 9:30ish pace, which I stuck at for the first seven miles. It felt fantastic – easy, maintainable, like I could run forever. In fact, I actually felt a little worried about how good this felt. As if on the run back my body would go into a crazy rebellion and would seize up and I would have to hobble home in misery. Did I tell you that I forgot to bring any money or my bank card on this run? Yes, silly me.

Seven miles took me as far as the Jewish Heritage museum, and then I had to turn around to come home. When I run in Central Park, it’s a loop, but I could never really end up that far from home. On this run, I was very aware that every step I ran out, I would have to run, or walk, but either way, get myself back home. Therefore turning around is a huge psychological boost – every step is now taking me home. My body started to feel a little bit like a homing missile, or my dog dragging home – it just naturally started to pick up the pace. Not only was this run feeling strong, but it was even getting faster! The queen of positive splitting was going to negative split. My pace dropped to around 9:15s

At about mile 12 I got a call from my husband offering to pick me up an iced coffee. Talk about motivating! The sun had come out about 20 minute before, and the path was drying out, and I was starting to sweat. The last two miles admittedly felt tough, but when I looked at the splits, they were my fastest, so no wonder I started to have a little more trouble maintaining my breath. Katy Perry’s Firework kicked in on the last half mile, and I had some fun sprinting to the chorus at the end. A five minute walk later, and I was rehydrating with iced coffee and the high of running strong.

Where’s Daddy?

Ori and I were lucky enough to escape the city this weekend and spend time with good friends upstate New York. It was the perfect weekend of relaxation, great friends, an adorable baby, and happy dogs. And of course amazing food and delicious wine. The weather might not have been perfect; the film choice bizarre (Alien vs. Predator anyone?), but the time itself was great. I love living in NYC, but being able get away and hear birds and watch my dog chase butterflies and see hawks fly overhead is just bliss.

Once we came back to the city, I had an urge to catch up on my running plan, and get the speedwork session planned actually done. For the first time in my life, I was going to do the famous Yasso 800s. For those who don’t know what Yasso 800s are, they are a speedwork session that is also an accurate predictor of marathon time. You run 800 meters at a fast pace, and then you recovery jog for the same amount of time. I love speedwork, and am committed to knocking significant time off my marathon time later this year. Hence my excitement about trying this famous workout.

You are supposed to work up to 10 of the Yassos, since this was my first workout, I only did 6. I did have a goal pace in mind to start with. I wanted to run them in approximately 3:45 mins, or a 7:30 pace. I headed back to Riverside so I could have an easy, flat run with no puddles and few tourists to dodge. The first one literally flew by. As did the second. The third started to feel tough towards the end. The fourth one was by far the worst. I was sucking air from the start, and my calves and quads were screaming at me. I had the familiar running through molasses feeling, and I felt like my form was falling apart. It was that feeling that you are spending more time on the ground than running; I think it might be related to the increased cadence, but it makes me feel like a particularly slow hamster. The fifth one felt better, and the sixth felt good in an ohmigod I’m going to be finished soon way. When I looked at my splits I was incredibly proud of the consistency – just a 5 second spread across the intervals, and five out of 6 were within 3 seconds of my goal pace. I’ve never been this consistent in a workout.

 

Consistency hell yeah

This workout was so much fun! Yes, it’s incredibly tough, and I was sweating, red-in-the-face, and slightly nauseous for most of the second half. Yes, I was willing for it to end. Yes, my calves and quads are cursing me to today. However, the 800s go by so quickly that you can mentally push yourself – just 3 more minutes, just 2 more minutes, just 30 more seconds, in order to keep yourself engaged. Each chunk is manageable on its own. Tempos can overwhelm me with the realization that I’m just 0.4 miles into a 4 mile tempo and already uncomfortable. The sense of satisfaction from each of the 800s is fantastic, and the determination to keep performing through each set worked great for me. I had a great time on this workout, and am looking forward to doing it soon.

How was your weekend? Did you do something that made you feel strong?

 

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2 Comments

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  1. Loren / Jun 4 2012 8:42 pm

    In fact I did! I did the first annual lu-athon and after the first 10 min of spin class, I was ready for it to be over! 🙂 But I’m glad I stuck it out and used my free time on Saturday to feel a bit more in shape. I’m a long way from being the awesomeness that is you, but it’s a step!

    • fionarwbl / Jun 4 2012 9:00 pm

      Ummm, I’m 23439% sure I would have died doing that. 3 hours of exercise in all different forms – crazy. Crazy crazy.

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