Category Archives: tempo

Back to Pacers!

Start Time: 5/1/08, 7:00pm
Location: Clarendon & Custis Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Average Pace: 8:35min/mile
Total Miles For May: 5 miles

I haven’t run with Pacers in literally a year. So what better time to go back? Katie and Blair wanted to try the Pacers group, and like I said, it had been a while. So we headed on over, and it was a lot of fun. I ran with a woman named Kelsey, and we chatted a great deal for the first half of the 5.4 mile course. (Have I mentioned that for my mile counts this year I’m rounding down to the nearest half-mile? So that’s why it says 5 miles up there.) Of course, the second half is uphill and… ooooooooof. We were both feeling it. We definitely passed a bunch of people on the way back, though, so we weren’t the only ones who were feeling it.

My GPS glitched a bit and claimed that the course was 5.6 miles, so I don’t have quite accurate splits. But here’s what it claimed: 7:30, 7:47, 8:08, 9:01, 8:21, and 5:34 for the last bit. (I’m guessing/hoping mile 4 is the one that had the extra .2 miles. But that was the uphill portion in full blast, so who knows?)

Taper + Taper + Taper

Start time: 11/6/07, 6:45pm
Location: Thomas Jefferson Community Center
Distance: 3.5 miles
Average pace: 9:49min/mile

This week is the final piece of tapering, with runs scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Tuesday said “35 minutes easy run” so after Sunday’s failed attempt, I decided to try again to discover a 10min/mile pace. (It’s hardest to hit early in a run for me, let along maintaining it.) I really need to be able to do that early on so I don’t crash and burn yet again with six miles to go. This worked much better (9:47, 9:41, 9:53, and 4:58 for the half) although I am still a tiny bit convinced that the track isn’t quite a full eighth of a mile. But still, I feel like progress is being made. (And episodes 1-2 of the Doctor Who story “Marco Polo” were absolutely wonderful to listen to while running.)

Start time: 11/7/07, 8:00am
Location: Wilson Boulevard & Clarendon Boulevard
Distance: 3 miles
Average pace: 9:09min/mile

The idea here was to do another 10min/mile pace (schedulebot: “30 minutes easy run”), but I went running outside and hit two problems. First, my GPS went crazy and I suddenly had no idea what sort of pace I was running, and second, it was just too cold to be bothering with that anyway. So I just ran the distance, took the average of the total time (27:27), and called it a day.

Start time: 11/8/07, 7:45am
Location: Thomas Jefferson Community Center
Distance: 3 miles
Average pace: 8:14min/mile

Today’s scheduled run was a 3-mile tempo, so back to the gym I went for one final circling around the indoor track. The paces were good (8:31, 8:09, 8:02), the audiobook was fantastic (episode 3 of “Marco Polo”), and hopefully? Maybe? Race day here we come.

Fingers crossed!

Proper Distance

Start time: 11/1/07, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 3 miles
Average pace: 8:22min/mile

There are times when you can’t help but wonder if you’re judging the distance that you’re running properly. With the past couple of runs being on an indoor track at the community center, I do start wondering if the faster times have to do with not really running as far as you think you are. So Thursday’s quick 3-miler was actually a big relief in that regard, because I didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard but the splits came out accordingly (8:35, 8:33, 7:59). It was also a relief because Dr. Cannon had put some padding under my right foot’s insert, with the instructions to give it a whirl and see how it felt. It felt odd for about half a mile but then everything was fine (and no foot pain, yay). Fingers crossed.

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Running

Start time: 9/20/07, 7:30am
Location: Wilson Boulevard (Courthouse, Clarendon, Virginia Square, Ballston, Bluemont)
Distance: 6.25 miles
Average pace: 8:54min/mile

I was scheduled for an 11-miler today, so I mapped out a 6-mile run for the morning. The problem was, I’d never actually just run down Wilson Boulevard beyond the 1.5-mile mark. So while my route was great in theory, the reality? I had not realized there was a massive, massive, massive hill in mile 3. I mean, we’re talking so huge that when telling a friend where I’d run their response was, “Um, that’s really hilly” and they only drive that area. I actually ended up walking on that hill for about 30 seconds to catch my breath, which is really bad. Still, I picked it up on the way at the end, which was nice. (9:08, 8:49, 9:21, 8:54, 8:58, 8:35, and 1:48 for the quarter (an 8:03min/mile pace).)

AnticipationStart time: 9/20/07, 7:15pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Average pace: 8:34min/mile

What a beautiful evening it was tonight. Nice and cool, a gorgeous sunset for inspiration, and after a long day at work it felt good to blow off a little bit of steam. I figured the last two miles might slow down because the last two miles were uphill, but that wasn’t a problem this evening. One normal warm-up mile, then four that just went slightly faster and smoothly. Well, aside from no less than four bicyclists who were riding on the wrong side of the trail and almost ran me over. For two of them I felt the bike whiz by about a millimeter from me. Nice. (8:53, 8:28, 8:36, 8:31, 8:23.)

A graceful and easy tempo. Hurrah!

Support Your Local Military

Start time: 9/18/07, 7:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Average pace: 8:32min/mile

I keep forgetting to post this one—on Tuesday I was supposed to run LTRs, but I just couldn’t muster up the interest. I think it had to do with having the 21-miler on Sunday; after that much, I just needed something less structured, more fun. So instead I went for a 4-mile tempo. It was a gorgeous, cool night and I’d forgotten just how great it feels to go running in that kind of weather. I started off at my regular pace, then began to pick it up on the way back. Apparently it was also “shirtless armed forces running night” on the W&OD because I saw not one, not two, but three different shirtless/muscular/military-type guys running as well.

On the way back, I saw the original one for a second time up ahead a bit. I could feel myself getting closer and closer, and a combination of the prize at the end of the rope, it being a great night, and just feeling really good about running meant that last mile was really flying. Woohoo! (8:55, 8:49, 8:34, 7:51)

A nice break from the schedule for a change, and just what I’d needed to get my spirits back up.

Stopping Short (again)

Start time: 9/6/07, 7:30am
Location: Arlington Boulevard Trail
Distance: 4.5 miles
Average pace: 8:32min/mile

On the schedule for Thursday was a 10-mile tempo; the plan was to split it up into two parts like I did for the 9-miler. Easy, right?

When I headed out in the morning for the first 5-miler, I was already really tired; not a good sign. I hadn’t slept well and I was just dragging. By the time I began to near home base at mile 3, I was giving serious thoughts to just quitting. Instead, I sucked it up as best I could and pushed on, doing a pretty good job of keeping pace the whole way through. Well, up until mile 4.5 where I decided I really was done and would just use the last half mile as a cool-down. So of course, looking grubby and walking dejectedly home is when Steve and Britt drove by on their way to work, waving merrily away. My timing is impeccable.

I was supposed to run the other 5 miles with Pacers (whom I haven’t been with in ages) but when I left work I was even more tired than I was in the morning. So, I ended up scratching the run entirely, which was disappointing because I’d been really looking forward to it. *sigh* Some days, you just can’t win. Here’s to a better run this weekend, right?

Split Shift

Start time: 8/16/07, 7:30am & 6:30pm
Location: Clarendon/CourtHouse/Rosslyn & W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles & 4 miles
Average pace: 8:50min/mile & 8:38min/mile

Now, I’ve been told for years that splitting up a long run into two portions throughout the day will give you the same benefits as running it all at once, and that various studies have confirmed such ideas. But, I’ll be honest, I’ve always been a little wary of that. As my scheduled Thursday runs get longer, though, splitting them up into morning and evening seems like a better and better plan. So, today I chopped my 9-miler into two segments.

The morning part started out well, but around halfway through with a huge uphill trudge and enough humidity to make me feel like a smear on the pavement, I was definitely slowing down; by mile 4, I couldn’t take it anymore and I ended up taking a minute walk break to help recharge somewhat. Oof. Not a pleasant run.

The evening part was hotter, yet I ended up actually doing a lot better. It was only the third mile that really brought my average down; I was pretty pleased with my splits overall (8:40, 8:34, 8:54, 8:24) and I felt like I could’ve kept going for another mile or two at that pace. Well, if it wasn’t for the fact that I was so sweat-soaked I was afraid I was going to pour out of my clothing. As I told a friend later, only three times before have I ever been so miserable while running that I took my shirt off, but if tonight’s run had been any longer it would’ve been the fourth. Oof!

Two Updates for the Price of One

Start time: 7/31/07, 7:30am
Location: Thomas Jefferson Community Center
Distance: ~4.75 miles
Average pace: 9:20min/mile & 7:00min/mile

Nothing to really report about the LTRs; the 10 reps went great, the “cool down” lap was above pace again, and about the only thing new was for a chance I did my LTRs on the indoor track on a “counter-clockwise” day. (I seem to always hit “clockwise” day.)

Start time: 8/1/07, 7:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 8 miles
Average pace: 8:55min/mile

Well, there was nothing “tempo” about the run at all based on that pace, but after spending 40 minutes of yawning and trying to talk myself out of running at all (tired tired tired), I got the distance under my belt for what turned out to be a very, very long Wednesday indeed. Oof.

Melting in the City

Start time: 7/29/07, 8:00am
Location: National Mall
Distance: 7 miles
Average pace: 8:45min/mile

Well, the good news about Sunday’s run is that despite some pretty warm temperatures we stayed slightly above pace for our tempo run. The bad news is that it was supposed to be 8 miles. Erica and Cassie zoomed off (per usual) and did all eight. But of the rest of us…

Aaron: Stopped after two miles, turned around and walked back
Dave: Walked one mile and skipped one in the middle while we headed out and back.
Paul & Devora & Me: Toughed it through seven miles and called it quits.
Laura: Toughed it through seven miles a tiny bit behind us, then after walking for about two minutes or so decided she was good and ran the rest of the eighth mile.

A tough day! It was hot, it was super humid (the bigger problem), and we all decided we had nothing to prove.

Upstairs, Downstairs

Start time: 7/26/07, 7:15am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 8 miles
Average pace: 8:51min/mile

Uphill: 9:09, 8:53
Downhill: 8:38, 8:41
Uphill: 8:57
Downhill: 8:49, 8:51
Uphill: 8:52

Dear W&OD Trail,
Is it really too much to ask for a nice flat 2-to-4 mile stretch of trail near my home? If it could also not cross any major roads that would be an added bonus. Thanks a zillion.

P.S. As a tempo run, a bit of a wash, unfortunately.