Category Archives: race

Jingle All The Way 5K + Extra Jingles

Start time: 12/6/2015, 9:00 & 9:37 am
Location: Pennsylvania Ave, National Mall
Distance: 5 kilometers & 5 miles
Average pace: 8:01 & 9:50 min/mile
Total Miles For December: 15 miles
Total Miles For 2015: 805 miles
Current Shoes: 86 miles

Ran the Jingle All The Way 5K, the first time in a while that I’ve done any sort of jingle bell type run. It was the same course as last year’s Thanksgiving 5K, and in the end I ended up finishing a whopping 1 second slower than that. I’d pooped out a bit about a third of the mile from the end, which is frustrating since that’s normally when I get a nice adrenaline kick. Ah well!

After it was over, I ran another 5 miles with Armand and Steve (both of whom also ran the race), which was perfectly pleasant.

Trot for Hunger 2014 5K

Start time: 11/27/2014, 9:00am
Location: Pennsylvania Avenue, National Mall, Freedom Plaza
Distance: 5K (3.1 miles)
Finish time: 24:52
Average pace: 8:00 min/mile
Total Miles For November: 66 miles
Total Miles For 2014: 742 miles
Current Shoes: 18 miles

It’s been a long time since I’ve run a 5K — 2009 in fact — and I’ve always said that I’ve never really mastered this short distance. This was probably the closest I’ve come to that, in terms of consistency; the three full mile splits were 7:59, 8:04, and 7:54. Would’ve liked a bit more a kick on that last mile but beggars can’t be choosers. I ran it with my friend Steve and we did a good job of keeping each other moving. No PR, but it was only 25 seconds off of the PR from five years ago, and I consider that a huge victory. 5 seconds per year? Thumbs up.

Rock N Roll USA Half Marathon

Start time: 3/15/2014, 7:50am
Location: All over Washington DC
Distance: 13.1 miles
Finish time: 2:05:52
Average pace: 9:27min/mile
Total Miles For March: 36 miles
Total Miles For 2014: 164 miles
Current Shoes: 230 miles

Much better than the last two times I ran this course (2011 & 2013), both of which were in the 2:13 range. I ran the first half with Armand, which went well and uneventful. I knew I was going to lose him at the hill exiting Rock Creek Park, in part because I was starting to overheat and I’d decided that once we left the park I was ditching a layer, and partially because he’s great on inclines.

So when we got to the hill, I took my one walk break in the race around the halfway point, which allowed me to catch my breath, and then fumble with my t-shirt that was underneath the long-sleeved one and remove it. According to Mr GPS it added about a minute onto my time, so not bad at all. After that, I kept running it out, although looking at Armand’s splits he definitely picked up the pace big time once he was on his own. (Which he should have! He’s faster than me and even if I didn’t lose him on the hill, he needed to make that break before long.)

Nothing too big to report. One tiny calf twinge around mile 12.75, so it was great to not encounter those like last year. On the whole, much happier with this finish time. It’s not as good as some of my better halves but it’s closer to those finish times (1:58-2:01 range) than I’ve been in in the past for years. So that’s a great improvement.

Veteran’s Day 10K

Start time: 11/10/2013, 8:00am
Location: Hains Point
Distance: 6.2 miles
Finishing Time: 55:24
Average pace: 8:55min/mile
Total Miles For November: 26 miles
Total Miles For 2013: 668 miles
Current Shoes: 262 miles

I ran the Veteran’s Day 10K this morning… with a bit of a chest cold. Hindsight being 20/20, not the smartest thing I’ve done. The weather was great, though, and the course is flat flat flat. I didn’t feel too bad during the race, but considering I was only about 4 seconds faster than my last 10K that was all-hills earlier this year, I think it was safe to say that I was feeling the results of the chest cold even before I finished.

(Since then, I’ve been coughing a bunch. Yuck.)

Still, all things considered, not too bad. A little crowded at times, but nothing to complain about. Considerate runners, cool temperatures (I didn’t need the insulating layer after all, ah well), and I maintained a very steady pace until the last 1.2 miles where I was even able to pick up a tiny bit of speed. So I’m taking it as a victory. Yay! And hey, unlike the other time that I tried to run a race while sick, I actually finished this one. So there we go.

Clyde’s 10K

Clyde’s 10K
Start time: 4/14/13, 8:15am
Location: Columbia, MD
Distance: 10K (6.2 miles)
Finishing time: 55:28
Average pace: 8:57min/mile
Total Miles For April: 29 miles
Total Miles For 2013: 175 miles
Current Shoes: 74 miles

Hilly, hilly 10K up in Columbia. Lots of climbs that never seemed to quite balance out with downhill stretches, although I’m sure that’s all just in my head. Ran this race with Stephanie (who warned us about the hills) and Ben, and had a great time. Cool start, which was good; kept up with Stephanie until around mile 3.5, at which point she got ahead of me on a massive hill and I never quite caught her.

Good finishing time for me, though. My last two (and fastest two) 10Ks were 52:30 back in 2008, and 54:02 in 2010. Considering I was at my fastest overall in 2008, only an extra minute in a half for a hilly hilly course? I’m very pleased. After a couple of lackluster finishes at races recently, I feel like I did a good job here. Probably could have kicked it a little faster near the end, but no complaints.

Rock ‘N Roll USA Half Marathon

Rock ‘N Roll USA Half Marathon
Start time: 3/16/13, 8:00am
Location: Washington DC
Distance: 13.1 miles
Finish Time: 2:13:34
Average pace: 10:12min/mile
Total Miles For March: 46 miles
Total Miles For 2013: 118 miles
Current Shoes: 17 miles

Another year, another March race. This is one where my training’s been a little haywire but I was still hoping for better. Unfortunately I started cramping around mile 8, which added with back pains around mile 1 and in retrospect I should be glad I finished. Nothing seemed to go quite right, unfortunately. Dressed too warmly and in layers that would be difficult to remove, coupled with (making a mistake I’ve done before) filling my water bottle with a sports drink that I then barely sipped because I’m not crazy about the taste. Between the two I might have dehydrated a little bit. Oops.

Bizarrely I ended up within seconds of the last time I ran this race, two years ago. And also one in which I wasn’t thrilled about. So I guess that’s… something? Maybe?

Anyway. I finished, that’s a victory, but there are a lot of lessons to be learned here that I’m still parsing.

Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon

Start time: 3/17/12, 8:00am
Location: Washington DC
Distance: 26.2 miles
Finish time: 5:17:33
Average pace: 12:07min/mile
Total Miles For March: 58 miles
Total Miles For 2012: 246 miles
Current Shoes: 42 miles

(I”ve been putting this race report off, because of a slightly unresolved issue indirectly connected to the race. But the longer I put this off, the greater chance that I will never get around to actually writing it.)

After training for most of the winter, my running the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon here in DC almost got derailed entirely thanks to an ill-timed sinus infection. I got the all-clear from my doctor to run it, though, even though I still had four days of antibiotics to go.

Rock ‘n’ Roll bought what used to be the National Marathon and Half Marathon, which had started back in 2006 (and replaced the short-lived, one-time-only DC Marathon). From 2006 through 2011, I ran all but one of the National’s half marathons, skipping 2010 only because some friends and I had gone down to Virginia Beach that same weekend to tackle the Shamrock Half Marathon. The National had been showing increasing signs of being in over their heads as the race grew, though, with outright incompetence on some aspects. So although it meant a much more expensive race when Rock ‘n’ Roll took it over, I looked forward to seeing how they’d handle the race administration. And, it seemed like a good a time as any to tackle a full marathon again, since my last had been in January 2010 as part of the Walt Disney World Goofy Marathon and a Half Challenge.

First, the actual putting on the race part? Excellent. Well marked mile points (unlike last year’s race, where the first marker was at mile 9), lots of race support, a much better starting line situation, easier packet pick up… you name it, they handled it quite well. Worth the extra money.

As for my running of the racef? Well, there were some good parts and some not-so-good parts. I ran the first 21 miles with my good friend Ben, and doing that was a real joy. I’ve had a lot of marathons where I ran the majority or all of the race by myself, and I’d forgotten how nice it is to have someone else to keep you going. Charlie, Andy, Peter, and Joey all came out to cheer, and that was also greatly appreciated. I also got to see my co-worker Holly in our starting corral. So, all good stuff.

On the down side, the temperature spiked while I was out there from below 50 to over 70, and just like the Florence Marathon, that spells disaster for me. I end up slightly dehydrating no matter how well I’ve been hydrating before and during the event, and when you’re cramping and feeling lousy it’s not going to be a good race. For me, that started around the halfway point, but I put on a brave face and tried to push through. Around mile 19, though, I knew the back half of the race was going to be difficult, and told Ben that since he was feeling strong to please feel free to ditch me at any point. He decided that at mile 21 he was going to pick up his pace a bit, and did just that (and had a strong finish, hurrah!).

I actually ended up walking all the way to mile 23; I felt horrible, not just physically but mentally. My stomach was upset (a combo of forgetting to bring something solid to balance out the gels… hey, it’s been over 2 years since my last marathon… and the antibiotics), I was discouraged, and my “running” with a minute walk break at the mile markers was barely faster than my speed walking. I did focus on another guy walking in the distance that looked quite fit, and managed to get most of the way up to him by mile 23. From that point I shifted over to a “run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute” pace, and that was a huge improvement, getting me moving at a much better clip that I’d been for about five miles. Still, a huge relief to finish. None the less, not counting Disney (where we stopped for photos twenty times and had run a half marathon the day before) it was much, much slower than my previous two races. A little disappointing, although it was under some adverse circumstances that were ultimately out of my control.

I’d also been having some shin pain on my right leg leading up to the race; I’d figured it was just a shin splint but right now we’re doing some tests to make sure it’s not anything else. So in the two weeks since the race I’ve run exactly nothing at all. There are quite a few possibilities, and some tests I’m having done today are hopefully ruling out the bad ones. I’ll hopefully know more later in the week. Fingers crossed for just a lopsided shin splint (since they normally come in pairs), but we shall see.

Washington DC Triathlon

Washington DC Triathlon
Start time: 6/19/11, 7:30am
Location: Potomac River, National Mall, Whitehurst Freeway
Distance: 800m swim / 20k bike / 7.5k run
Splits: 17:42 / 46:10 / 48:00
Total time: 2:04:00
Total Miles For June: 47 miles
Total Miles For 2011: 354 miles

I signed up for the Washington DC Triathlon… well, not on a whim, but almost a spur-of-the-moment. I’d had to cancel running the Columbia Triathlon this May due to illness, so I started thinking about the DC Tri in June as a replacement. Here’s the funny thing; I was signed up for both races last year and ended up running Columbia but canceled the DC Tri due to, yes, illness. I also remembed that last year the DC Tri was blazing hot that day. So instead of signing up for the Olympic/International distance, I went for the Sprint course. That way if it was baking outside, I’d at least be done a little earlier, right?

I almost had to sit around pre-race longer than my race itself (it was awfully close). The transition area closed at 5:45, and my swim wave was the absolute last to go in, around 7:30. Come to think of it, I probbaly did sit around longer than I raced. (Yeesh.) The swim, once I finally got there, was an interesting experience. I’d neer had a “jump in off a dock” start before, and the water was less than a degree under the maximum temperature for a wetsuit. I finally decided not to use mine, figuring what I’d gain in boyancy I’d lose in transition removing it. The water was indeed just fine, temperature-wise. A lot of people swimming sideways and hanging onto buoys right off the bat, though, which was odd. I knew my swim time would be subpar for me (I have not been good about keeping up with my swims this year) and sure enough, I was about two minutes off of where I should’ve been. I also managed to scrape my knee on the ramp as I was exiting the water. Potomac River water, yuck. (I used a lot of antibiotic cream on it for the next few days and that thankfully did the trick.)

The bike was not fast for most, but it was fast for me. It helped that it was a mostly flat course, but all in all I was really pleased with my performance there. A real improvement from Columbia (and its hills) the previous year.

As for the run? Well, I did the same thing I did in Columbia. In other words, bombed out around the 2/3rds mark. I need to work on pacing myself throughout the race a bit better to try and avoid this in the future. It probably didn’t help that a week before the race, they changed the course from a 6.7k to a 7.5k. Not a huge distance, I know, but I could have used that slightly shorter distance. I might’ve rallied a bit more at the end. Or maybe not, who knows?

All in all, a nice replacement for Columbia. I’m signed up for the International distance for next year. Now that I know the course, I wouldn’t mind tackling it again. Just with some better training under my belt, next time.

An entire race of “eh”

National Half Marathon
Start time: 3/26/11, 7:00am
Location: Washington, DC
Distance: 13.1 miles
Finishing time: 2:13:27
Average pace: 10:11min/mile
Total Miles For March: 66 miles
Total Miles For 2011: 164 miles

Another spring, another half marathon… well, except this was the most “eh” half marathon I think I’ve run. I was never feeling it from start to finish, unfortunately. Just a lot of plodding along, wondering when it would be over, never quite having the drive (or speed) that I wanted. Considering I was some 11 minutes off of the last race of this distance I ran, it showed. My third worst, and the other two were the Disney Half Marathon (where I was saving a lot of energy for the full marathon the next day), and my very first half marathon back in 2003 when I weighed a hell of a lot more (and it was an hour slower). Oh well; everyone’s got a not-good race (or five) in them, and this was one of mine.

As for the race itself, well… I swear, each year this race finds something new to screw up. This year it involved mile marker signs that were mostly not set up (what are the odds that everyone missed them?), and the ones that were set up were incredibly small and also parallel to the street so you couldn’t see them until you were on top of them, if at all. Nicely done there. On the brighter side, this year the course went through Howard University instead of (at least back in 2009, the last time I ran this particular race) near the hospital, so that was a nice change of scenery. And I loved seeing Charlie, Cristina, and Brett along the way, plus getting to see Beth and Chris come up toward the finish line after I was done. And my friend Ben from my running group did really well, so that was an added bonus too.

Since my GPS said I ran 13.3 miles, I have no reliable splits for this race, so you don’t get them either.