Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yasso 800's

This morning's run was my first attempt at Yasso 800's. They have become very popular around these parts, even inspiring a commenter to start calling him or herself yasso800. I am not sure if that person is Bart Yasso himself, but he would be proud of the effort today.

My best marathon time to date is a 3(h):30(m). Without getting too deep into what I want to run in October, I would love to beat my previous best time. I figured that is a good place to start

So, my goal in the first Yasso 800 installment was to hit a 3:30 average. I'd want to run 800 meters ten times, each at 3 minutes and 30 seconds. In between each 800 meter run, I'd jog 400 meters. I had the added bonus of Tiffany keeping time for me at the 400/800 meter spot of the track.

Here are my times for each 800:
#1 - 3:28
#2 - 3:29
#3 - 3:27
#4 - 3:29
#5 - 3:31
#6 - 3:29
#7 - 3:26
#8 - 3:26
#9 - 3:28
#10 - 3:06

I decided to run the last 800 as hard as I could. I am not sure if that is really the goal of the exercise, but I wanted to see what I could do and how much I had left. Bart Yasso himself said the last couple can be a little tough sometimes. With that 3:06 included, my average was a 3:26. I am very happy with that and look forward to attempting the next one with a 3:20 goal.

yasso800 previously made a reference to Steve Prefontaine. "Pre" is one of the greatest runners in American history and has always been my favorite runner. I think I first took a liking to him after watching the movie Prefontaine in 1997. There was later a second movie made about Pre called Without Limits.

Running really doesn't get the publicity or have the following of the major sports, so inspiring national figures in the sport are a littler harder to come by. Much of Pre's fame comes from his all out running style. He also played a big role in the running boom in the 1970's. Pre's life was tragically short as he died at the age of 24. My favorite Pre quotes are these two:

"A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more."

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift."

Here's a picture of Pre with that quote:

The one great thing about running is that almost everyone can do it. 99% of the population simply needs a pair of running shoes to get out and do it. And some people don't even need those. On my last two long runs, I came across two real people doing truly inspirational things on the lake path. I saw a blind man running amongst a group of people training for the marathon. He was being helped by another person who was guiding him down the path. The next week I saw a man running with two artificial legs. Those are the people who are really doing something amazing. I am just some guy out there running. You can't help but be thankful for the things that you have. It makes those minor aches and pains pretty much go away. I couldn't help but get an immediate boost after seeing these two men out there running with these incredible impediments. If these guys can do it, almost anybody can.

I don't know if I really have a point here. Inspiration can come in many forms, whether it be from Steve Prefontaine, the blind man running, the man running with two prosthetic legs, Jon Lester, Jimmy V or whoever. Sometimes you have to open your eyes to see it. Other times it finds you. It's up to you what you do with it.

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