Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy little accidents...

Do you ever remember watching this guy on Public TV?

Sometimes I wish I had an afro.
He'd come on Saturday around noon...I seem to remember it was somewhere between cartoons and either college football or college basketball. In any case I'd have about 30 minutes to kill flipping around channels. Inevitably I'd come across Bob painting some landscape masterpiece and I'd be drawn in like a moth to a flame. Bob had this saying when he was painting that would appeal to the novice painter to reassure them and help their creativity. He'd say "we don't make mistakes...just happy little accidents." Then he'd turn some random red streak down the entire canvas into a house or tree or sunset.

No, I'm not suddenly turning this running blog into content about painting landscape motel art. Today I had a "happy little accident".

I've not done any track workouts in the buildup to the marathon, and I can't say that I've missed it, but I have wanted to get out there and test my fitness with some Yasso 800's. Yasso 800's are simply 10x800m around a standard track with a 400m recovery jog between each 800. If you'd like to run a 4 hour marathon, complete each 800m in 4:00 minutes. Do this 10 times and you should be in shape to hit your goal time. My goal time is 3:45, so I'd need to do all of my 800's as closely to 3 minutes and 45 seconds as possible. Simple, right?

Today's Pfitzinger workout called for 8 miles with 5x600m at 5K race pace (7:00 min/mi). So I figured it would be a good day to do my Yasso's instead.

This morning I wake up and I'm thinking about the workout, and thinking that I should be running the 800's at an 8:30 pace. (8:35 is the goal pace for a 3:45 marathon. Who knows where I got 8:30 mind doesn't work first thing in the morning). An 8:30 pace is a 4:25 800m which would equate to a 4 hour 25 minute marathon which is slower than I wanted.

I then remembered my Pfitzinger plan to run the 600's at my 5K which equates to an 3:30 800m.

As you can see, my mind is all over the place AS I"M RUNNING TO THE TRACK.The irony is, Yasso's are designed to be so simple, yet I've done all these stupid computations in my head, and I'm going to kill myself on the track.

Quick recap: 4:25 too slow. 3:45 target. 3:30 is too fast and what I have in my mind I'm supposed to run. I should probably start writing this stuff down. I don't trust myself in the morning.

I do my first 800m. 3:32. Not bad
I do my second 800m 3:31 Still feeling good.
3rd 800m 3:26 Nice!

It is at this point I realize out that I'm supposed to be running a 3:45 800m..not a 3:30. (for the uninitiated 15 seconds is a big deal to my legs/lungs)

Decision time, do I slow up and do the 3:45's or see how many 3:30's I can do? Is this a mistake, or a happy little accident?

Do you know me at all? What do you think testosterone drove me to do? "See what you can do Coffee-boy!"

4th-3:29, 5th 3:32 Halfway there...maybe I can pull this off.

6th-3:29, 7th 3:28 Still feeling like I have my legs under this really happening right now? My confidence is growing with every single lap.

8th 3:30, 9th 3:30 One've got one more...push

10th 3:24!!! Ok I got a little excited towards the finish and pushed even harder.

To those of you who have stuck through this blog so far, wading through the numbers, let me say I am ECSTATIC! I know this doesn't necessarily guarantee me of a marathon in the 3:30 range, but it is a HUGE confidence boost to let me know that I'm in the ballpark for sure.

Remember the blog about "Running is 90% mental?" This is an amazing confidence booster for me, and it certainly helps me think that a 3:30 at Marine Corps is certainly possible. I am so glad I screwed up the times today...I may have never known what I had in me.

Have you ever had a happy little accident while running? Tell me about it.