Category Archives: 18mi

Not Worrying

Start time: 1/14/12, 8:00am
Location: National Mall, Foxhall Rd, Tenley Circle, Mass Ave, Mt. Vernon Trail
Distance: 18 miles
Average pace: 11:09min/mile
Total Miles For January: 52 miles
Total Miles For 2012: 52 miles
Current Shoes: 85 miles

Old Greg would have probably been trying to speed up a lot on this run, looking at his watch, and worried about mile splits.

New Greg, however, is not that concerned about finish times and more concerned about the enjoyment overall. Nothing wrong with Old Greg’s strategy (it’s a lot of fun to try and break your PR, and do really well, and so on; I respect people a great deal who are going for it and perhaps for another race I’ll re-embrace it) but at least for now, it’s not a high priority, or in fact much of a priority at all. Makes a big difference.

The run itself was good; Foxhall Road kicked my butt (it’s about a 400 foot climb over its length) but in a good way, and the company was nice. Rolled my ankle a tiny bit at mile 11 (oops) but it held up just fine for the rest of the run.

Also, it’s really cold out. Very glad I had that extra jacket on.

That Sucked

Start time: 8/29/09, 6:00am
Location: Hains Point, Mt. Vernon Trail, Georgetown, Rock Creek Park, National Mall
Distance: 18 miles
Average pace: 10:40min/mile
Total Miles For August: 110 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 569 miles
Humidity: 88%

18 and done

Start time: 3/7/09,10:30am
Location: SW Waterfront, National Mall, Georgetown, Capital Crescent Trail
Distance: 18 miles
Average pace: 9:34min/mile
Total Miles For March: 24 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 141 miles

Oooooof. Be careful what you wish for, indeed.

After all the snow and ice of the last week or so, it seems the DC area’s collective thought process did indeed bring a warm front into the area. I’m not entirely sure, with 20/20 hindsight, that 74 degrees and humid was the way to go about it. I like to think that it was a combination of the temperature jump and new mileage that made me start face-planting by the end, but we shall see. I ran the old AIDS Marathon 18-miler course, which starts at 4th and I Streets SW, heads through the National Mall, across the Georgetown Waterfront, then on the Cap Crescent trail all the way to Maryland before heading back. It was a nice (if slightly hilly on the Cap Crescent heading outbound) course, and I haven’t run it since fall 2007. For a run that I did entirely on my own, it was comforting to have those old memories with me.

That said, once I got back into Georgetown, I was definitely running out of gas. When I got all the way to Constitution and 20th Street (finishing up mile 15) I just felt about ready to quit; so, for miles 16-18, I took a 1 minute walk break at the start of each mile, and that seemed to help a bit. At least I didn’t lose any additional ground doing so, right?

Interesting, it was the same finishing time for my 18-miler (or within an average of 1 second per mile) for 2008, which was a nice relief. 2007’s was about 12 seconds per mile faster, and in really hot weather to boot, though. Happily, I demolished 2006 and earlier’s paces…

And hey, on the bright side, the bruise on my leg didn’t bother me at all while running. Woohoo!

(8:42, 8:05, 9:02, 8:47, 9:23, 9:17, 9:21, 9:25, 9:52, 8:56, 9:18, 9:42, 9:52, 10:00, 10:53, 10:46, 10:06, 10:43)

18 and Out

Start Time: 8/16/08, 6:30am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 18 miles
Average Pace: 9:33min/mile
Total Miles For August: 53 miles

18! Always a good distance to hit, because to quote the old chestnut, “If you can run 18 miles, you can run a marathon.” It was a really small crowd, and most people were only running 13 miles—just me and Laura for the full 18. We were all of a mile and a half out when naturally, nature made a call. I told Laura to go on ahead, and then I hustled to catch her (which explains the jump in miles 2 and 3). The two of us kept going together, but at mile 5 Laura’s knee suddenly hurt very badly and suddenly. We paused for a few seconds, but it seemed to be fine. (Fortunately, at mile 5 we were also right by home base again.) Then, at mile 6.5 it happened again, so she turned around and walked the mile and a half back to start, while I headed on alone.

I picked up the pace a bit at that point (being by myself and all), and it felt really good. I ran out to the Vienna Community Center, filled up my water bottle, popped a salt packet (the sun had come out in full brightness) and then started heading back. Instead of helping, though, the salt packet just made my stomach feel horrible the whole way back. Ugh. To top it off, a combination of very mild dehydration* and not getting much sleep over the the past week caught up with me after I’d finished up mile 16, and the last two were a real struggle to finish. For both of them I ended up taking a walk break along the way to really regroup and get moving again, which helped a lot. Still, not bad otherwise. And I like to think that had I been running with anyone else for those last two miles, I’d have pushed a little harder. But I knew no one else from my group was out there, that portion of the trail was oddly empty, and I just didn’t care.

* — Even after drinking two bottles of water upon finishing, two freezie pops, and a little bit of my vanilla soy protein drink when I got home, the scale said that in-between leaving the house and then getting back I’d dropped 3.5 lbs. Yikes. That is a bit too much in terms of water loss. I think the cool start to the morning made me a little complacent about proper hydration, coupled with not enough Friday preparation.

9:50, 8:46, 8:58, 9:52, 10:06, 10:02, 9:25, 9:12, 8:56, 9:10, 9:18, 9:15, 9:07, 9:28, 9:17, 9:30, 10:44, 10:57

Stopping Short

Start time: 8/26/07, 6:30am
Location: National Mall & Cap Crescent Trail
Distance: 18 miles
Average pace: 9:46min/mile

The moral of this Sunday’s attempted 20-mile run? Some elements of bad runs are avoidable and others are not, so it’s important to figure out which ones are and take the appropriate steps. Unavoidable on Sunday for me was the weather; while nowhere near as bad as Saurday, it was still hot and incredibly humid. At one point I described the run as “carving your way through the air up the trail” and no one disputed that claim. When at mile 2 you already look like you’ve fallen into the river? Not good.

Unfortunately, I made two mistakes that really could have been avoided. The first has to do with the fact that I normally get up about two hours before a long run, which gives me enough time to shower, shave, eat breakfast, and most importantly use the bathroom about 5 times. I’d gotten to bed later than planned on Saturday night, so instead of setting the alarm for 4:30am, I set it for 5am in order to get a little more sleep. The problem was, that meant a couple of less bathroom breaks. I thought I’d be ok… well, no. Around mile 10 I started having an upset stomach, and at mile 14 (where on the Capital Crescent Trail we would turn around for a 6 mile run back to home base) I felt bad enough that I had to stop. And really, an upset stomach can mean so many different things that it’s hard to really diagnose. It wasn’t until I’d stopped for about 15 minutes that I figured out the problem was one that a bathroom would need to solve. Lo and behold, that did the trick.

The second was that after stopping at mile 14, because I thought I was done, I didn’t really keep moving. I stood around and talked with Christa for a bit, waited for the next group to show up, and so forth. So once I did finally start running again… everything was sore and stiff and never really loosened back up. *sigh* At mile 18 I finally gave up and called it a day. So close, and yet so far. Ah well.

Next time? Well, at least it will be a different set of mistakes to make instead. I was pretty mad at myself, partially because I wanted to finish the run out with Paul, Dvora, and Laura, partially because I’d had such a good 18 miler, and partially because so long as I can remember I’ve only had to stop short on 3 long runs over the course of 7 years. At the time on Sunday, it felt like a horrible, horrible defeat.

Live and learn, live and learn.

18 and Done

Start time: 8/5/07, 6:30am
Location: National Mall & Cap Crescent Trail
Distance: 18 miles
Average pace: 9:22min/mile

Phew! Today was a hot day; not quite as bad as yesterday was (where it went over 100, I believe) but still very hot. We caught a break by it not being putrid out, though, and that was a good thing indeed. We headed out and did the first seven miles down near the National Mall; because of the distance and the heat we were supposed to slow down to somewhere around a 9:30. We had a little trouble gaging our speed at first, but felt good. (9:19, 8:52, 9:04, 9:16, 9:29, 8:43, 9:00) Well, aside from some stomach issues I was having, but a trip to the world’s most repulsive portajohn helped a great deal.

From there it was onto the Cap Crescent Trail; Laura dropped back a bit because of stomach cramps, but the remaining four of us pushed on together until 11 miles into the course. (10:00, 9:33, 9:13, 9:37) It was at that point that Dvora and Paul decided to turn around early (Dvora only had a 14 scheduled, Paul wasn’t feeling well) and a couple of seconds later, Dave zoomed off into the distance. At which point it was just me, with seven miles to go. Oh well, good practice for the marathon, right?

At first, I was feeling a little sluggish and tired, and my stomach briefly decided to give me some problems. It was two miles to the turn-around, and a full mile back I was still feeling less than stellar. (9:34, 9:40, 9:53) Then, finally, my second wind kicked in and from there it was smooth sailing all the way back, a great way to end a run feeling energized and strong. (9:35, 9:10, 9:26, 9:14)

If you can run 18 miles…

Start time: 09/24/06, 7:00am
Location: Downtown Washington DC
Distance: 18 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 10:29min/mile

Today was the 18-miler, which is the biggie. Not because it’s the farthest distance that we’ll run this season (my mileage will go up to 23 miles) but because 18 miles is the mythical number where if you can cover that distance, you can theoretically run a marathon. We actually started out with a bizarrely large group of seven people, but two were visitors who were only running 4.5 miles with us before turning around, and Emma was only clocking 10 miles. The journey out to the turn-around went well, though, hitting the first 9 miles in 1:33:53 (a 10:26min/mile pace). Since we were supposed to run a reduced pace of 10:30, this was pretty darn good. On the way back, soon after dropping off Emma, Chris M decided that once we cleared the Capital Crescent Trail he was going to slow down and let the next group catch him so that his foot wasn’t bothering him.

From that point on it was just me, Stephanie, and Bill (who normally runs on Saturdays) and we clocked those last 5.5 miles quite well; our finishing time for the back nine was just a 1:34:45, less than a minute longer. Score. It was a good, strong finish (and as an added bonus I got to shout a hello to Coach Christa who was helping with the Miami training program today). But best of all?

I felt great, like I could’ve kept that pace up for another 8.2 miles, no problem. Heck, if I had that would’ve been a 4:35 finishing pace, which is already an improvement over last year. Fingers crossed, and barring disaster, this could be one great marathon. We’ll see!

“If you can run 18 miles, you can run a marathon”

Start time: 08/06/05, 6:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 18 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 4:1
Average pace: 12:00min/mile

18 down and all is well. The temperature dropped a little bit for Saturday morning, and thank goodness for that. Melting Greg is not a pretty sight, believe you me. The run itself went pretty well; most of the group looked to be doing fine, and we did a nice job of staying on pace. The only downside was that we had some real communication problems with the group, where people just vanished with little or no warning whatsoever. We’re going to need to have a talk about that; on the marathon if they want to just disappear that’s fine, but until then… well, you get the idea.

Still, I felt really good when it was over and pretty strong. No aches the rest of the day or this morning either, which is always a very good sign. Knock on wood, this is my best training season yet.

In two weeks, 20 miles… and another slow-down. I know it’s the right thing to do, but just in terms of the sheer amount of time being out there, not looking forward to that aspect. Ah well, better safe than sorry.

Running: 18 miles

Start time: 8/2/03, 6:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Activity: Running
Distance: 18 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 2:2 (mostly)

Phew! I’ve been trying to climb back up to speed this week, and while it was a tough journey, I think it was well worth it. After having a couple of weeks off, last Saturday’s run was a lot tougher than it should have been, so I knew I had to stop slacking off. I got some good solo runs in on Tuesday and Thursday, so I figured I was ready for this Saturday’s 18-mile run.

The farthest I’d gone this year was just 14 miles, and one of those miles had been walked in, so I was already mentally prepared for the idea of just maybe doing 17 miles, but I’d play it by ear. One great boost of encouragement this morning was that my parents were going to be water volunteers! That meant that they were helping man a water stop at the Vienna Community Center where they’d be pouring water and Gatorade for runners, offering pretzels, and generally keeping us from collapsing into a heap. It really meant a lot to me for them to be out there that early in the morning; trust me, it was very much appreciated! (If you’re interested in helping out this way and live in the DC area, let me know!)

There were only six of us this week—so much for that huge group of people we started with in our pace group back in May! Hopefully we’ll have some of our missing in action members back before too long! We set off at a reduced running pace (starting with the 16-miler they slow us all down a little more so we don’t burn ourselves out before the marathon itself!); Lindsay and Scott were going to run the full 18 miles, Madelyn and Beth were planning on just 17 miles, and Julie and I were both playing it by ear. The first 7-mile stretch went really well, running from the edge of Arlington all the way through Vienna. (Although we did watch one group miss the turn-around and keep running. We hollered at them that they were going too far but they said they couldn’t hear us. Oh well.) So naturally, things got tougher on the way back.

It was probably nine miles in that we lost Madelyn and Beth; Madelyn has always been pretty vocal about her lack of ability to run through the heat, and today was no exception. We turned around and the two of them had slowed down a bit, so we waved to them for good luck and kept pushing forward. By the time we got back to home base (14 miles in) we were a little tired but so far, so good. It wasn’t until soon after the 16-mile point that I finally started to really drag; nothing was hurting badly, but I was just feeling exhausted. It’s no small wonder, since I was already three miles into brand-new distance! I told the rest of the group that when we hit the next water stop, I was going to adjust my running pace and slow down a little bit, and Julie thought that sounded like a good idea. Lindsay and Scott headed off, almost leaving a dust cloud in their wake.

The good news is that the rest of the run went really well; we didn’t get in that long after Lindsay and Scott, and Madelyn and Beth made it in soon after that with 17 miles under their belts. This was a really important run for me because it pushed me back up to where I should be in terms of progress. It’s always tough to catch up when you’re behind, but I’m feeling good about being back up to speed now. Next week is just a 9-mile recovery run… piece of cake!