November 14th, 2010
Today was my first 10K in two and a half years… no, really. It’s honestly been that long. I know, a little out of control. I knew going into this that I almost certainly wouldn’t get a PR, which is a shame because I know I’m capable of a faster PR than the one I have, a 52:30. But that said, I knew I wasn’t going to get it; a few extra pounds and some general slacking on my running would do that. I figured if I was within two minutes it wouldn’t be too bad, and I ended up 1:32 off (with a 54:02), so that’s not that bad. But now I have a new line in the sand to try and kill.
Anyway, it was a nice day regardless. This was the first race I’ve tackled with people from my 2009/2010 running group, so that was a nice experience. Six of us started out together, but John and I pulled ahead during the first mile. John then left me in the dust around the end of mile 2, and as he came in a whopping 4 minutes ahead of me I think it is safe to say that he definitely poured on the gas. Something I need to work on, myself.
Considering this is such a flat course, there are no real excuses for not doing well save for the need to work harder at this end, and that’s something I find achievable. I’m not disappointed at all with my finishing time today, but I would like to get to a faster point in the future. I think that’s possible.
(9:03, 8:24, 8:40, 8:37, 8:34, 8:44, 1:57)
Placing: 97/172 (56th percentile)
May 18th, 2008
I missed the Capitol Hill Classic last year; I had an injury that had prevented me from running anything. So I had a lot to really prove for myself, because this was my first 10K since May 2006.
I made one small mistake this year; I ran into Emma early on and stuck with her until about mile 2.5. As Emma is normally faster than me, it meant I was starting to run out of gas. Fortunately I realized the error of my ways and slowed down a bit. It went well after that, aside from a misplaced Mile 4 marker that made me really wonder what the hell was going on, and running completely out of gas and walking for about 30 seconds up the long, steep, Capitol Hill. UGH. Not proud of that. But otherwise it went well, and I got to see a whole bunch of my old fellow AIDS Marathon staffers—Rick W, Rick C, Karen K, and Emma. Good times, good times, good times.
(8:19, 7:52, 8:14, 10:17, 7:11, 8:55, 1:33 for the .2. And yeah, that marker was definitely off for that fourth mile!)
And hey! Check out my age group placing!
2005: 315/386 (81st percentile) (30-39 group)
2006: 166/233 (71st percentile) (30-34 group)
2008: 98/192 (51st percentile) (35-39 group)
May 21st, 2006
With my last race I was mentally composing a journal entry five seconds into the race about how I knew I wasn’t going to get a PR. Around mile 3 today, I was wondering why I hadn’t already done the same thing.
But let’s rewind a bit. Readers of my other journal will know that I’d been feeling like I was dragging and just generally not up to par all weekend, and this morning was unfortunately no exception. Cal told me that ten seconds into the race today he was thinking, "Why am I here?" and that’s actually what was going through my head before I’d even left my home. Ugh. I got to the start of the race, though, and found a pack of AIDS Marathoners to start with. We were all going to be runnign different speeds, though, so it was with a bit of regret that I realized I’d be running this one on my own again. I was hoping to have someone to pace off of; this year I’ve felt like several times I’ve headed out of the gate too fast (races or otherwise) and was afraid that we’d get a repeat performance of this bad running behavior. Sure enough the first two miles were just that (8:13, 8:30) and I just knew that I wasn’t going to be able to maintain this pace. (It was also around this time I was wishing that it was a 5K because I like to think I could’ve kicked it out on the final 1.1 miles.)
Sweltering in the sun (it was 52 degrees when I left, but the heat and sun seem to have shown up five minutes later), I hit the third mile marker at 9:50 and I could just feel my heart sink. My previous PR was a 9:22min/mile pace and I spent a lot of the rest of the race diong math in my head, trying to figure out how many extra seconds I had "banked" from the first two miles to see if I could beat that. Mile 4’s time looked the same (9:48) but it was also a two-walk-break mile so I felt like I was starting to rally a bit. Sure enough, mile 5 was at a 9:29 and I began to think that yeah, I could do this so long as I didn’t bomb out. "All right, Greg," I told myself. "You just finished mile 5 and your time is a 45:53. To beat last year’s 58:06 you just need to finish the last 1.2 miles in 12 minutes. That’s a 10-minute pace. No problem."
What I really need to be thinking at this point of a race is really "don’t forget that you still have to climb Capitol Hill before you hit mile marker 6." Ugh, ugh, ugh. I hate that stupid hill with a passion, to put it mildly. Struggling back up the hill, even though I’d taken my walk break just two minutes earlier I just couldn’t do it. I was out of gas. I finally told myself I could walk for an additional minute and that I’d make up the time once it leveled out a bit. Walking up even part of the hill felt like… well, defeat. At the same time, I kept scanning the side of the course for the mile marker. Where was it? Where was it?
And there it was. 9:53 for the mile. I could still do this, I’d get a PR, and it wouldn’t be the one I wanted as of yesterday but it would still be an improvement and a real victory. I pushed through the last .2 miles as best as I could, and while my old adrenaline burst never did hit (ah well) it was all over in just 1:44, for a new PR of 57:30.
Phew. Not my most glamorous race, and I didn’t feel strong the way I did after the race last year… but I did it, and it’s done. Now I just need to really start getting out there regularly again (and drop off these extra five pounds that have once more come back to haunt me) and all will be well. I hope!
May 22nd, 2005
What a fantastic race. Tod was a wonderful running partner, making me laugh at just the right moments and keeping us on track. He’s the one who first gave me the nudge to realize that all my old running times from 2004 (and before) were getting thrown out the window, and by god, that’s exactly what’s been happening. A nice steady pace despite some huge crowds, massive potholes, and crazy people trying to helpfully hose down runners. Gee, thanks… not.
Ultimately, another race to go on the permanent "races to run calendar"; I loved this from start to finish, and I loved my 58:06 even more as a result. This wasn’t a race where I’ll shake my head at the memory, but one where I’m thrilled to have been part of it.
April 17th, 2005
It was just Pam and me for the Sallie Mae 10K this morning; we stuck together for the first two miles, as my legs started to loosen up and I just enjoyed the fresh air and the sun beating down and shining off of the Potomac River. After two 10:30min/miles, I picked up the pace a bit; I knew that my previous best for a 10K was at a 9:50min/mile pace, so all I could think in the back of my head was that I’d ended up "80 seconds behind". That doesn’t sound like much but when the entire course is only 6.2 miles long and you’re already 2 miles in, that’s a lot for me. I’d been doing a 4:1 run:walk ratio and I kept it up for miles 3 and 4, where I started to shave off a little bit of time; after mile 3 it was down to 70 seconds behind, and after mile 4 just 50 seconds behind.
I took one final walk break about halfway through mile 5 and then it was running all the rest of it in; when I hit mile marker 5 I was "behind" by just 20 seconds. I knew that if I kept up the pace I was on I was pretty well set to beat my old PR. As I hit the final marker with two-tenths of a mile to go, I glanced at my watch… tons of time to spare, thank goodness. I was now ahead of schedule by about 30 seconds. I got one final boost when about 250 feet from the finish line someone started sprinting past me, and I wasn’t ready to let this stranger win; I picked up the pace myself and ended up racing him across the finish line. (I won, ha ha.) The final result, 1:00:21, knocked 39 seconds off of the previous PR.
I have one more 10K scheduled (the Capitol Hill Classic 10K) on May 22nd. I think if I drop the walk breaks after the first mile or two I can knock off some more of those remaining pesky 22 seconds; it’d be nice to get a sub-hour finishing time one of these days. Until then, I’m happy with today’s victory. (Pam did really well too, coming in about ten minutes later. No PR for her, unfortunately, but I know she will next time. Things just didn’t seem to be aligning for her today.)
March 12th, 2005
Today was the third time that I’d run the St. Patrick’s Day 10K here in DC; in 2003 I finished with 1:24:18 (13:35min/mile), and in 2004 with 1:22:34 (13:19min/mile). This year I was determined that I was going to hit a new PR by quite a bit.
My mental goal was "anything under 1:05" although in reality I was hoping to be able to average a 10min/mile, which is 1:02 exactly. (Under one hour was the stuff of fantasies.) When I started the race today on Pennsylvania Avenue, my plan was clear: stick with my friend Randy (who would get under an hour easily) as long as possible and then hoof it as best I could the rest of the way. My friend Pam was going for the same plan, and we had several others buddies from our running group who were all also going for new PRs. Suddenly the crowd started moving and we were off.
By the time we hit mile 2, several things were clear. First, we’d just lost Pam and it was just Randy and me. Second, we were slightly off pace for Randy to hit his goal time. And third, I was not going to be able to keep up with Randy for the entire race! Sure enough, at exactly the halfway point (3.1 miles), Randy got ahead of me in the crowd and that was that. I didn’t really mind, though. I knew I couldn’t hang with him the whole way through, and it was exciting enough to actually be in the crowd of runners for a change. Stitch in my side? Pfft! Choking on a cup of water? No problem! Running up that damn hill at L’Enfant Plaza? Well, ok, that thing kicked my ass like it does every year.
When I hit mile 5, I looked at my watch and I had an unrealistic amount of time left to hit under an hour, but under 1:02 was still in reach. I pushed through without walk breaks, and while mentally it felt good, it meant that this was the first time in as far as I can remember where I didn’t have my super-adrenaline-burst to push through the last stretch of the race. I stayed steady, which was good, but I must admit I missed having the ability to zoom towards the finish line, passing people left and right.
Most importantly? This year’s finishing time: 1:01:00, or a 9:50min/mile.
Needless to say, I’m thrilled. A little tired, but thrilled. (Oh, and super-Randy? 55:45. Wow! He’s so awesome.) This time next year, that sub-59:59 finish time will be mine!
March 14th, 2004
Got up far too early this morning and headed downtown to take part in the 16th Annual St. Patrick’s Day 10K here in Washington DC. I ran this last year, my first real "short race" after two marathons the previous years. This year was a little colder and windier, but I felt obligated to take part in it again, my introduction to the world of races that are much more reasonable distances. Julie, Pam, and Amanda all ran it with me, which was an added bonus; having someone to run with makes a 6.2 mile slog much more interesting.
Since I’ve been very slack since the Marine Corps Marathon back in October in terms of running, I’d figured that just running this would be a good jumpstart to getting back into shape for a new training season beginning in May. (Yes, another marathon. I’m nuts. I know that.) I need these little incentives.
The course was a little different this year—no loop up near Union Station—but otherwise it’s the same old course that most 10Ks in this area use. That’s fine by me, because I like seeing the familiar landmarks as we stomp along. We’re always towards the very end of the pack of runners (to put it mildly) so you’ve got to find other things to amuse yourself. ("Oh look, it’s that place that has brunch at E and 2nd Street SW that we really should go to!" "Look out for the jaws of death!" And all the other standbys.) This year the hill up L’Enfant Plaza felt tougher than normal, a clear sign that I have not been out on the W&OD Trail or even in my own neighborhood running like I should. It’s an easy hill, so huffing and puffing is a bad thing.
But still, a good time despite losing Amanda around mile 2.5. She was never too far behind us, though, so ever time the trail doubled back on itself we had a chance to cheer her on. There was one guy who was running with a flag on his shoulder and towards the end Pam asked him if his arm was sore. His response was to let Pam try holding it, and even snapped a picture of us near the Capitol. (I look like a hunchback in this picture, but oh well.)
The nice thing was that even out of shape and with a little extra weight than normal currently being carried around, I trimmed a tiny bit of time off of previous 10Ks. Yeah, it was under two minutes of time, but I was still happy with the end result. (Lopping off 15 seconds per mile isn’t as easy as it sounds!) It always feels nice to get a new Personal Best.
December 6th, 2003
Why yes, I do lack common sense. Why do you ask?
If you’ve been in the DC area, you know that we got more snow here.
Despite that, I ran in the Jingle Bell 10K this morning. Lisa, Julie, and I all participated; we got down there, attached our numbers to our jackets, put bells on our shoes, and we were off! Unfortunately, the snow was still coming down on us, and that meant that within a mile I could no longer see that well as my glasses picked up any and everything coming down from the clouds. I ended up running through far too many puddles of slush, and my toes may never forgive me. It was cold despite having three layers of clothing on, and when it finally stopped snowing the last mile the wind obligingly picked up and froze us to death.
In other words, a lot of fun. I’m glad I finally was able to participate! (I can’t remember what happened last year, and the year before that freezing rain was coming down. Not fun.)
March 15th, 2003
In my only nod to Monday’s holiday, I ran in the St. Patrick’s Day 10K earlier this morning, along with Julie, Martha, and Kimberly. (And about 4000 other people.) It was a lot of fun—none of us had ever run a race that was under 26.2 miles before!—and for very little preparations, we did quite well. Our speed was good (for us at any rate; we were totally at the back of the crowd with all those super-fast runners), and we were really happy with our finishing time (1:24:18). Three not-so-good things, though:
- We never were able to find Lisa, who we were also supposed to run with (and it was her idea, no less); we aren’t sure if she didn’t make it or somehow managed to elude us the entire time.
- There were supposed to be water stops at miles 2 and 4. Instead, the water stops were at miles 4 and 4.75. Yeesh.
- About 200 feet from the finish line, some asshole in his car decided that he had to get across the street immediately and nearly ran us over. We yelled at him to stop (I honestly don’t think he would have otherwise) and then he had the nerve to roll down his window and tell us to calm down. Gah! To top it off, there was a DC police officer not ten feet away who didn’t do a thing. (I would have appreciated him to at least tell the guy to be careful.) Glad to see he’s doing his job.
Oh well. We still had a blast and we’re all the more excited now for the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon at the end of August!