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February 26 2012 / Emily

Bart Yasso visits Winston-Salem

This weekend, legendary runner Bart Yasso visited Winston-Salem.  He participated in a fun run at the local Fleet Feet on Saturday morning then was the guest speaker at the Twin City Track Club’s annual winter seminar that evening.  I was pleased to attend both events.

I went to the Fun Run with a friend and we enjoyed running in the big group.  There were probably about 50 people out, including one of Fleet Feet’s training groups who finished their longer run with the 3 mile Fun Run loop.  After the run I finally completed my much-needed and much-procrastinated task of buying a new pair of shoes.  My last two pairs have been Asics GT-2150 and -2160.  The 2170 model was out, but they did not have my size so I tried a number of other shoes before deciding on the Brooks Ravenna 3.  I’ve worn the Brooks Trance model before, but this is my first fling with the Ravenna.  I was going to take a photo to include here, but my cat (Fry) decided he was more important:

clearly the star of the show

I haven’t worn them yet but am looking forward to start phasing them into my run routine.

The evening brought the Twin City Track Club seminar featuring Mr. Yasso again.  My friend Steve from Steve’s House of Running also attended.  The event started with a social/cocktail hour and then an hour for dinner.  Food was surprisingly good – chicken, pork, cheesy penne, steamed vegetables and some caramel-drenched bread pudding.  Yasso took the stage after most of us had finished eating and spent a good hour or so sharing memories and photos from his many years of running all around the world, along with his general wisdom about running.

Among a number of points that resonated with me was his plea to make training simple.  He said that Ryan Hall, one of the best American distance runners, “probably has a simpler training plan than a lot of 5-hour marathon runners out there.”  He also had some inspiring things to say about his fight with lyme disease which has slowed him considerably.  Though he is no longer a front-runner or race winner, and feels lucky he had the chance for those faster races, he has enjoyed being in the middle of the pack “where all the runners are.”

When discussing his now-famous “Yasso-800s” (which a coworker at Runner’s World magazine named after Yasso) he said “do not have a workout named after you.”  He said there isn’t a day where someone  doesn’t approach and ask him about the workout.  For those who do not know, the concept is that a well-trained distance runner should be able to predict a marathon finish time in hours by the speed he can run 10x 800 meters in minutes.  Meaning, running 10 intervals of 800 meters at a 3:45 (three minutes 45 seconds) pace each would predict a marathon finish of 3:45:00 (three hours and 45 minutes).  I haven’t yet worked a full set of Yasso 800s into my training regime but hope to perhaps before my April marathon, or if not then definitely in a marathon training cycle later this year.

Yasso shared his stories about being “Chief Running Officer” at Runner’s World Magazine, a unique position he has been able to mold into his ideal job.  He said he would keep a Word document of his job description saved, and on occasions when there was a shake-up in the staff and a new boss would ask him what exactly he did, he’d review the document, remove anything he was tired of and add new exciting ideas, and he was never questioned. Brilliant!

Then he shared many tales of races around the world: Mt. Everest, Taj Mahal, Iraq, Badwater, Jerusalem, Antarctica, Himalayas, a Colorado 10k where you had to run with a burro, Nepal (and rhino run-ins), a nude run called the Bare Buns Fun Run, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and his favorite race, the Comrades Marathon (56 miles) in South Africa.  Many of the stories and more are included in his book My Life on the Run, which I look forward to buying and reading.  I’m kicking myself for not having enough cash to buy one at the seminar and have him sign it.

All in all, it was a lovely evening with a great speaker and lots of fun stories.  It really makes me want to travel the world more than I already do!  I already enjoy building vacations around running, and this evening made me want even more to start including my passport in some of those running vacations.

Bart Yasso presentation

me and Bart Yasso



Leave a Comment
  1. Deepa / Feb 26 2012 4:20 PM

    Hi there,

    Love the blog. Excited to follow your running progress!

  2. Dana Custer / Feb 28 2012 10:53 AM

    What a good weekend em! Sounds very inspiring!

  3. David H / Mar 3 2012 5:19 PM

    Emily, great summary and really nice start to the blog. I actually put a link to this post on my own blog with thoughts about Bart’s presentation:

    Keep up the running and sharing. I’ve been at it just over a year and am amazed at both the level of accountability that it provides, but the open doors to interesting discussions with fellow runners.

    By the way, ‘9’ marathons in the past couple of years! That’s great….crazy, but great. I’m on my third in two weeks and shooting for 3 / year to join 50 State Club by retirement.

    • Emily / Mar 4 2012 11:16 AM

      David, thank you for reading my post and linking back! I’m checking out your blog now too. I am enjoying getting my start in blogging about running. The 50-state club is a great goal! I’d love to do the same one day. I ran my 10th marathon yesterday and have run marathons in 6 states.


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