Mmm, a Race in the Offing

I'm getting excited about doing the Race for the Roses half marathon this coming Sunday. I like this race because it all happens just a couple of public-transit miles from my house, so I can easily pick up my packet the day before, then on race morning zip on over on Max, arriving a half-hour before the start, warm up, and run. Also, the course through and around downtown PDX is interesting enough, with a long gentle climb in the early going, then a long gentle decline, followed by lots of flats with a ridiculously steep 50-foot gain to get onto the Steel Bridge and over the Willamette right before the finish. Last year I ran this race in 1:31:49, a PR. I wonder if I can beat that this year? I'd like to try. I'm not going to taper for it—there will still be long rides and runs, and hard rides and swims this week—but I will rearrange things a bit to try to be a little fresher come Sunday morning. Which is what led me to doing my high-intensity run—Yasso 800s—tonight instead of Thursday. Now I'll do my long bike ride Thursday evening instead of Saturday morning.

Yasso 800s? Oh, the runners out there know all about these. Bart Yasso is the guy they're named after. He noticed that the hours and minutes of his marathon time consistently coincided with the minutes and seconds of his 10x800 intervals. That is to say, he knew he could run a 2:40 marathon if he could run 800 meters in 2 minutes and 40 seconds 10 times with 2:40 seconds of restful jogging between each 800. Now, the part about this tidy story that a lot of people don't want to think about so much is that Yasso himself emphasizes the relationship only holds if you do all the other customary marathon prep—especially those weekly long runs (working into the 18-22 mile range).

Anyway, I did eight 800s at 3:12, on grass, with some very tight turns and a couple of tiny but vicious little climbs. I probably could have gutted out two more, but it would have taken more out of me at this point than needs to be taken out. Still nearly three months until the real race.

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