Category Archives: 20mi

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Start time: 2/4/12, 7:00am
Location: National Mall, Rock Creek Park, National Zoo, Connecticut Ave, White House, Hains Point, Mt. Vernon Trail
Distance: 20 miles
Average pace: 10:32min/mile
Total Miles For February: 26 miles
Total Miles For 2012: 110 miles
Current Shoes: 143 miles

Oh 20 miles, how I’ve not missed you. Ran two routes strung together; first down to Rock Creek Park, up to the Zoo, and then back (at which point we refilled water bottles), then headed over to Hains Point, the Mt. Vernon Trail, and then back along the Mall via Memorial Bridge. And to keep things confusing, the line-ups were:

Miles 1-10: Me, Jim, Michael, Steve, Ben, Stephanie, Rich
Miles 11-20: Me, Jim, Michael, John

Originally Steve and Ben were supposed to run all 20, but Steve’s coming down with a cold and decided to cut it short, and Ben at the last minute said he wasn’t feeling up to the second half. As Jim, Michael, and John are all much faster than me (coupled with John also feeling rather fresh at the start of the second half) meant that I spent most of miles 16-20 falling behind, occasionally catching up when they slowed down, then falling behind again. Slightly demoralizing but ah well. Some days you can keep up with the others, some days… not so much.


Start time: 12/12/09, 7:30am
Location: 14th St., National Mall, Rock Creek Park
Distance: 20.6 miles
Average pace: 10:45min/mile
Total Miles For December: 51 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 829 miles

Start time: 12/13/09, 3:30pm
Location: Thomas Circle Gym
Distance: 5 miles
Average pace: 9:46min/mile
Total Miles For December: 56 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 834 miles

The original plan was to run a mini-Goofy this weekend with Charlie and Ryan; 10mi on Saturday, 20mi on Sunday. Only problem was, Sunday had a very strong prediction for lots of rain and perhaps a “wintery mix.” So, instead we ran 20 miles together on Saturday. The run wasn’t bad; lots and lots of Rock Creek Park, further than I’d ever run up it before. Ryan was definitely running out of energy on the way back (I suspect he didn’t have enough food) so we slowed down a bit so that we could finish it all up together. (No splits, my GPS went totally berserk and started losing signal while running down the center of Beach Drive in Rock Creek park. Not a tree or cloud to be blocking signal. And then it lost signal the whole way back up 14th Street at the end. It ended up losing almost an entire mile. Yeesh.)

Unfortunately, the rest of Saturday and a lot of Sunday involved a lot of family stuff; I ended up getting no rest and not much sleep that night. With a really inadequate recovery, I ended up just running leisurely 5 miles on a treadmill at Charlie’s gym and called it good enough.

Windy with a touch of rain

Start time: 10/10/09, 9:30am
Location: North Arlington, Memorial Bridge, SW Waterfront, East Potomac Park, Hains Point, Mt. Vernon Trail, C&O Canal
Distance: 20 miles
Average pace: 10:15min/mile
Total Miles For October: 50 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 667 miles

You know a run is ending badly when all you can think at the end is, “Two more marathons and one more long training run and I am done with this stupidity.” Yes, I can get huffy in my own head, about myself, when no one else is around. This was a miserable run for me; I hate running in the rain, so when they’d forcasted ran from 5-10am this morning, I figured I would sleep in (since I was all by myself) and start once the rain died down. So of course, I woke up and it hadn’t rained but was now supposed to do so starting around noon. Argh.

Within about 30 seconds of leaving my house, of course, it started raining. That was the kind of run I had. When it wasn’t raining, there was a bitter cold wind blowing on me; crossing over the bridge to East Potomac Park (and indeed all through the park and at Hains Point) the wind was so bad that I was afraid several times it would actually knock me over. Around mile 15 I really pooped out, big time; at one point I stopped to get water and ended up sitting down for a minute to take a tiny rock out of my shoe, something I’d have otherwise ignored.

The funny thing is, as craptacular as the run was, it was faster than my 20-miler a month ago. (The difference being about 9 seconds per mile, but also ending really strong and knowing I could knock out more fast miles. Here, if I had to run 6 more miles I’d have quit on the spot.) Ah well. I must’ve headed out too fast early on to have such a colossal burn-out at the end. Never have I desperately wanted lights to turn read so much as I did today on the way home.

Much Better

Start time: 9/5/09, 6:00am
Location: Hains Point, Mt. Vernon Trail, C&O Canal, National Mall
Distance: 20 miles
Average pace: 10:24min/mile
Total Miles For September: 28 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 597 miles

It’s funny, this 20-miler was only 15 seconds per mile faster than my horrible 18-miler last week, but I feel really good about it.

It was a super-small group, just me, Dave, Steve, and John—and John was only running 12-13 miles. Steve’s been building his mileage back up after throwing out his back a few weeks ago, and I was impressed he was jumping back up as much as he was. After a week of great weather, it heated back up today, but not as bad as last week’s horrible weather, at least.

After bombing out on last week’s run, the plan was to take it a little easier, something that Steve wasn’t going to argue one bit. I’d say that we hovered in the 10-to-10:30 range for the first three quarters or so, although we did have two particularly slow miles in the 11-min range; one involving navigating from the top of Key Bridge down to the Canal towpath, and another one dodging some construction barriers when we escaped from the towpath.

What made me happy, though, was that about halfway through mile 17, I was feeling great and I started kicking it back out. So it was nice to see the last four splits being 10:14, 9:14, 9:08, 8:51. And I felt fantastic, like I could’ve run another five or six miles at that speed. (Which would have given me a PR was it a marathon. A funny thought.) Or in other words, if I do the “nice and easy” approach for the first half and then pick it up in the second half, I should do fine. That often-elusive negative split that most runners want, in other words. (I have actually had a couple of negative splits over the years, but not lots.)

It’s funny, I was just talking earlier in the run about how for my last two marathons I’m really not going to worry about finishing times; NYC and WDW are going to be about the experience. But if I play my cards right in NYC… well, it won’t be that long-hoped-for sub-4:00 marathon (I’ve given up on that) but I might just squeak out a new PR. That would be nice.

5 x 4mi

Start Time: 10/11/08, 7:30am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 20 miles
Average Pace: 9:31min/mile
Total Miles For October: 32 miles

The workout prescribed for me on Saturday was to run 5 sets of 4 miles; the first two at a 10min/mile page, the next two at a 9min/mile pace, the last (if possible) at an 8min/mile pace. Between each set was a slight (4 minute) rest break to refuel and the like. So, I headed out… and on the whole, I have to say, I am not feeling like this sets-of-mile-repeats program is really preparing me well for my marathon. In the real thing I don’t get rest breaks every four minutes, but more importantly, on that fifth set… no fuel left in the tank at all. I felt like I was pushing hard to try and at least get a 9min/mile pace, when it was really all the way back down to a 10min/mile pace. And that was with having rest breaks. That shouldn’t have happened at all.

I’m just not impressed with how this is going, and I think there are other issues going as well (which I want to sit down and write about later) but on the whole I’m really not happy with how this year’s training is panning out for me. If I run a marathon next year I think there will need to be a lot of thinking about what I need to get a good experience for myself. Unfortunately, I’m not getting what I need for myself this year.

Set 1: 39:21 (10:00, 9:39, 9:51, 9:50)
Set 2: 39:49 (10:06, 10:05, 9:53, 9:43)
Set 3: 35:24 (8:26, 8:57, 9:13, 8:47)
Set 4: 36:33 (8:39, 9:14, 9:33, 9:06)
Set 5: 39:18 (9:41, 9:43, 9:53, 9:59)


Start Time: 8/30/08, 6:40am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 20 miles
Average Pace: 10:05min/mile
Total Miles For August: 93 miles

Crappy, crappy run. The first half was not bad, but I ran out of gas—big time—in the second half. Had Fred or Kathy (at the 16.5 mile water stop) said, “Do you want a ride back?” I would have taken it. Regretted it later, sure, but oh yeah. Totally taken it.

Considering I was feeling tired, lithless, and generally sick from Wednesday night through Friday night, well, I suppose this really shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Doubly so because what was to have been our water stop at mile 13.5, the Vienna Community Center, was closed due to the holiday. Had I stopped there on the way out (making it mile 12.5) I would have been ok because there was a water fountain right before the turn-around. But of course, I hadn’t checked it, and in retrospect I should’ve turned around and hoofed the extra half mile back to the water fountain. So it was just me and my water bottle between miles 9.5 and 16.5.

Honestly, I’m just glad I finished; that was a major victory in its own right.

Oh, and PowerBars? Have an expiration date. I had one I had kept for an emergency, and sure enough this morning I remembered that I’d forgotten on Friday to pick up some more gels. So the emergency PowerBar came with me, and when I took a bite… it was horrible. It tasted like ashes, honestly. I’m not a big fan of PowerBars to begin with, but this was one of the few flavors I could tolerate. Bleah. Needless to say it went into the trash. Lessons learned!

A Half Marathon… and 6.9 more miles added on for fun. Or something.

World Wide Half Marathon Challenge
Start time: 10/07/06, 8:00am
Location: Downtown Washington DC
Distance: 13.1 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Finishing time: 2:10:41
Average pace: 9:59min/mile

Start time: 10/07/06, 8:00am
Location: Downtown Washington DC
Distance: 20 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 10:00min/mile

What a morning.

Today was my scheduled 20-mile training run for the Florence Marathon at the end of November… but it’s also the weekend of the World Wide Half Marathon Challenge, in which over 500 people around the world registered to run a “virtual” half marathon either today or tomorrow. No prizes, but we’ve all got race numbers, a results board, even a (PDF) goodie bag. Now, I wasn’t planning on try to beat my PR for a half marathon today (2:06:08) but I figured it was a fun thing to throw in there. After all, I’d be running the distance anyway.

The next bit is also in my regular journal, for those who read both and want to skip it…

Running in the Dark

Start time: 08/20/05, 5:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 20 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 3:1
Average pace: 12:50min/mile

Saturday afternoon I had to be in Middle Of Nowhere, Pennsylvania, and in order to be able to leave in time… there was no way I could start at 6am with my group, with the two-minute-per-mile slowdown (putting us at a 13:00 for the training run). So… in a fit of insanity, I thought, “What if I start at 5am?” I could run 6 miles and be done with that part at 6:18am, at which point my group would just be getting ready to leave after announcements and the faster groups zooming off into the distance.

Julie thought this was a brilliant idea and decided to join me. This would mean I wouldn’t be running alone first thing in the morning, and in pitch darkness to boot. Yeah, it’s still dark out at 5am. I went to CVS and bought a cheap flashlight to bring with us, since very little of the W&OD Trail is actually lit. Miles 1-6 was the two of us, a flashlight… and no one else until the last five minutes. It was really quiet, and really calming to be out there. We nailed the new time easily, which I was happy with: having a new slowdown is often hard to really hit quickly. Right as we finished up the first six miles and got back to home base, our group was ready to head out.

Miles 7-14.5 were with the group, and it was actually a little frustrating. Our leader had problems hitting the right speed (which is not surprising, since like I said it’s often hard to hit it right out of the gate), and we were actually running a little fast for most of it. The part that was setting my teeth on edge is that we had two people take off ahead of us, and one of them A) has had problems finishing the long runs without dropping back, and B) was supposed to be the guy that would hang back that week if someone else had a problem. So, for someone else in the group, I found it frustrating to watch.

The last 5.5 miles were just me and Julie, and we fell back into our groove really well. When it was all said and done… I felt great. An incredibly strong 20-miler… and the first time I’ve ever finished an entire long run and done so before the fastest group came in! Woohoo! 🙂