Intervals of gasping

Intervals of gasping
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Today’s workout was yesterday’s interval session. It’s a curious one, in that RW reckons that it’s 9 miles-1 miles jog, 8x800m, 1min interval, then 1mile jog. Which doesn’t add up in the slightest. Luckily, satellite field is 2m away, so turn those 1s into 2s and we’re away. Also turn the 1 min rest into 2.5; although I wasn’t at the pace I would hope to hit at sea level, I was gasping for breath at the end of each 800. In each case, what felt like a few seconds turned out to have been over 30, as once I’d recovered my faculties enough to think of it, I’d glance idly at the watch to see how much walking (another break from sea level, I’d jog the recovery there) time I had left only to find it was 1:5x or less.

I woke up groggy and struggled to get going, distracting myself with CSI Las Vegas. Somewhere before 11 I wandered out, passing pretty much everyone on their way back from breakfast. I got going once onto the road, and 2 miles was about right to warm me up. The fence at the bottom of the field is about 750m long so just about right. I still couldn’t resist looking at my watch, which wasn’t really the point, especially as the reps got tougher and I was disappointed when thinking I’d done 400m and it was only 300. The Ethiopian people’s coffee team were out training again, and I got some “… … White man” shouts, one bloke came over to shake hands and I got a banana skin-no comedy fall-from the coach window as they drove out. Whoever threw it was on the far side to me, so i’ll never know if it was meant for me, but I like to think they were aware of the irony of a black footballer throwing a banana (skin) at a white man, and that somewhere some cosmic football karma-irony is being slightly equalised.

The even numbered reps were into a headwind, and I’m about to let myself see the numbers.

3:13, 3:18, 3:06, 3:22, 3:11, 3:23, 3:12, 3:31.

Not brilliant, though you can certainly see the wind factor on 2, 4, 6 & 8 (who do we appreciate). The coach Bert Yasso gives his name to Yasso 800s; 10 reps gives a surprisingly accurate guesstimate of your marathon time, always assuming you’ve done the long runs etc; those are not too bad, I’m hoping, for an altitude workout, much as I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be running a 3:20 marathon at altitude. Interestingly, though, Adharanand Finn, who wrote running with the Kenyans, managed a 3:20 marathon in Kenya off the back of his training, before a 2:55 at New York, and I’d be overjoyed with those numbers (if a little confused at how I’d got to New York) especially as he then went on to a 35m 10k and 1:19 hm. He also had 6 months at altitude, mind.

Summary: 1:19:22, 14.42km, pm 21:08, 4.19km Craving for chocolate: strong. Books: Screwjack, Hunter S Thompson, Persuader, Child.

Open sky, big birds swooping
Open sky, big birds swooping.

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