Category Archives: custis


Start time: 4/28/11, 5:10pm
Location: Custis Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Average pace: 9:06min/mile
Total Miles For April: 71 miles
Total Miles For 2011: 242 miles

Went for a run after work on the Custis Trail, but I was feeling a little under-hydrated and ended up cutting it short. Ugh. When sweat starts stinging in my eyes it’s always a warning sign that my levels are off, and sure enough, the whole way back on the Custis Trail was sting city.

(8:34, 9:17, 9:22, 9:08)

50 degrees

Start time: 2/7/11, 4:50pm
Location: Custis Trail, W&OD Trail
Distance: 8 miles
Average pace: 9:46min/mile
Total Miles For February: 11 miles
Total Miles For 2011: 62 miles

The plan was to run 8 miles on Saturday morning… but we had friends in from out of town over the weekend, and 8:30pm dinner reservations at Citronelle, followed by not being able to fall asleep, meant that at 5am I was on about 1 hour of sleep, and starting a run at 7:30 simply was not going to happen. So I sent a quick “I am totally not coming” e-mail and turned off the alarm.

Anyway, I made it up today since the weather is so freaking awesome. Started at where the Custis Trail hits Spout Run and ran all the way to the end at the W&OD, then ran up it a little bit to add on some extra distance before turning back around. The trail’s almost completely clear (hurrah!), just one or two tiny ridges of snow/ice here and there. Custis Trail still slows me down, and I am still a bit slower than where I want to be, but it was nice to get out there and it was even nice to run on the evil Custis. No, really. Honest.

(9:11, 9:35, 9:32, 10:15, 9:59, 10:14, 9:44, 9:31)

If There Be Thorns

Start time: 1/20/11, 4:50pm
Location: Custis Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Average pace: 9:12min/mile
Total Miles For January: 33 miles
Total Miles For 2011: 33 miles

What’s that? A weekday run that was outside? Craziness! (Gee, the last one was… um… December 31st. At least I’ve had some weekend runs since then.) I figured it was time to take advantage of this 40 degree weather while I could, and since it was quiet at work I took some stuff home to tackle later, and ran the Custis (just in case it started to get too dark by the end). Not my fastest run, probably not helping that early on in mile 2 I hit a hill and lost some faith and slowed way the hell down, but later rallied a bit.

Also, somewhere in mile 4 on the way back, there was a huge dead vine coming over the fence and I swatted it with my hand… turns out, it was a thorny vine. Ow. Ow. Ow. I actually ended up briefly stopping to try and pull the thorns out of my glove and thumb. Yeesh. Next time, run around.

Anyway, I need to start tackling this more often. I always say that, but I do mean it. Let’s see if I can stick with that goal. It sure beats the indoor track.

(9:03, 9:22, 9:19, 9:15, 8:58)

…and the trail won

Start time: 11/23/10, 8:00m
Location: North Arlington, Custis Trail
Distance: 6 miles
Average pace: 9:04min/mile
Total Miles For November: 20 miles
Total Miles For 2010: 582 miles

After a week of no running due to soreness, weather, and other engagements, it was good to finally get back out there this morning. Especially since I have a feeling with travel that getting a run in over the Thanksgiving weekend might be difficult at best.

Went for a different loop this morning; ran up to Highland, then down it to the Custis Trail for a couple of miles before heading home via Ballston and Pershing. The lack of running over the last week, even with some cycling and spinning and rowing, definitely did a number on me. Oof. Pooped out during the third mile while on the Custis, but rallied a little later for the second half.

(8:26, 9:09, 9:44, 8:48, 9:10, 9:06)

Back to the Custis

Start time: 11/9/10, 6:20pm
Location: Custis Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Average pace: 9:01min/mile
Total Miles For November: 8 miles
Total Miles For 2010: 570 miles

That’s right! It’s the dreaded Custis Trail!

I was going to try and run before work but I woke up feeling groggy and disoriented—the worst possible way to feel when hoping to run. So I postponed until after work, but now that it’s darker out I needed to find a fully-lit trail, and that meant… yep, Custis, aka the Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Heavy Breathing.

Those hills always kick my ass (and I know I average about 30 seconds per mile slower on the Custis in general) but I must say that despite feeling beaten down in spots, I left it feeling exhilarated and happy that I ran it. I might have to try and do this again soon. Time to add those hills back in, right?

(8:57, 9:06, 8:49, 9:12, 8:57)


Start time: 8/28/10, 6:00am
Location: Iwo Jima Memorial, Custis Trail, W&OD Trail, Bluemont Trail, Glebe Rd, Washington Blvd, Clarendon Blvd
Distance: 12 miles
Average pace: 10:27min/mile
Total Miles For August: 68 miles
Total Miles For 2010: 460 miles

That was an uncomfortable 12-miler. I ran the first seven miles with Jim, Michael, and Steve (they were tackling a 20-miler), and with them we circled Iwo Jima before running the length of the Custis Trail. “I always forget just how bad these hills are,” Steve said to me about halfway down the Custis Trail, and I nodded in agreement. (But we did run into Katie out for her 60-mile bike ride, so hurrah!)

When we got to Bluemont, I bid them adieu, hit the bathroom, and then started heading home. It was around then that I began to feel a little sick to my stomach; with 20/20 hindsight I should’ve headed directly home (there was a 3-mile direct path at that point) but I pushed through the remaining five, never feeling terribly good at any single moment through them. When I got home I stepped on the scale and was down around 4.5 pounds due to water loss. Yeesh. Been doing a lot of rehydrating today. Also, of the three flavors of “Vita Coco” (a coconut water brand), the coconut and pineapple is the winner so far.

I signed up a while ago on a spur of the moment for the Parks Half Marathon, which is in two weeks, and also the same weekend as SPX. Was originally thinking I could still tackle it on that Sunday, but right now I am leaning towards a big ol’ no. If so, this will be an unusual record year for me, with three races I signed up for and then did not run. (The others being the Washington DC Triathlon, and the Toronto Half Marathon in October.) Even with two races I am pretty sure that is a new record, now that I think about it.

(10:12, 10:20, 10:57, 10:38, 10:51, 10:03, 10:16, 9:51, 10:32, 10:29, 10:52, 10:13)

Stupid Custis Trail

Start time: 3/4/10, 6:45pm
Location: Custis Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Average pace: 9:33min/mile
Total Miles For March: 8 miles
Total Miles For 2010: 127 miles

Wow, that sucked.

It’s been ages since I ran on the Custis Trail. I hadn’t planned on doing so—I was aiming to run on the W&OD Trail after work—but I got out of the office much later than I thought and it was fairly dark. Since the Custis Trail is lit (unlike most of W&OD unfortunately) I thought I’d do the responsible thing and run there instead. Only problem is that Custis Trail is one of the hilliest running courses in the area. Lots of straight up and down hills that kick my ass every time I run them. When I used to run with Pacers, on Tuesdays I’d run in Old Town and Thursdays I’d run in Clarendon on Custis (or was it the other way around?) and it was always a huge time difference with Custis.

Anyway, it clearly had been too long since I’d done some serious hill work; on the second mile there was one hill that kicked my ass so thoroughly that I actually ended up walking for about 10 seconds just to get to the top. Bleah. On the bright side, yesterday my right foot had been a tiny bit sore and I figured out the reason today, with the heel lift in my right shoe having slid out of position. (It’s there to help my right calf from getting strained.) Soon as I put it back, problem solved. Now if only the hills were that easy to slay! I guess I know what I need to do more of… unfortunately…

(8:49, 10:03, 9:59, 9:22)

Run to the car

Start time: 9/30/09, 6:10pm
Location: M Street, C&O Canal Towpath, Key Bridge, Lee Highway
Distance: 4.8 miles
Average pace: 8:27min/mile
Total Miles For September: 48 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 617 miles

My original plan was to run on Tuesday, stopping at the W&OD Trail after work. Except my car died on the way home from work, and by the time I finally got home I was in no mood at all to go for a run. (Also, it was much darker than when I’d planned on running.) On the bright side, Charlie let me borrow his car, and while at meetings today I got a message from the dealer that the car was fixed and the faulty part of the engine was under warranty. Hurrah!

So, after I got home from work, I changed into running gear, then drove Charlie’s car to his neighborhood and dropped it off, as well as leaving the keys in his place. Then, I headed home on foot; down M Street until I got to Rock Creek, at which point I switched over to the C&O Canal (so to avoid the masses of people in Georgetown), followed by over the Key Bridge and then up Lee Highway to the dealership. With minutes still to spare, I picked up the car and all was good. I’d hoped to run a full five miles, but my old GPS spent the first three quarters of a mile unable to get a signal (grrrrr) so it wasn’t until I got home that I had any idea how far I’d actually run. Ah well, this is why I round to the nearest half mile when I record things.

And on the bright side, considering the last two miles were at a 9:24 (almost straight up on the Custis Trail/Lee Highway stretch that I loathe with a white-hot passion) and a 9:00 (more up up up), I’m pleased with my pace. Obviously I’d have liked something even zippier, but I was clearly moving at a good pace for the first 2.8 miles at least. I’ll take it.

4th of July = Boom

Start time: 7/4/09, 7:00am
Location: North Arlington, Mount Vernon Trail
Distance: 10 miles
Average pace: 9:48min/mile
Total Miles For July: 15 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 394 miles

With the Independence Day celebrations downtown resulting in lots of closed roads and bridges, we decided it was easier to just run in Arlington this Saturday. Just a 10 miler, which turned out to be a good thing for me. We started out with six, but Stephanie and Ben turned around after three miles, and Bill a mile later. Unfortunately for me, as we were heading back, once we cleared the Mount Vernon Trail, Jim and Michael were feeling a little peppy and I most definitely was not. They zoomed up the Custis Trail, while I kept looking at this hills and thinking, “I am gonna die here.” Just feeling out of gas, I ended up taking a shortcut back to the start. Then, feeling bad, retraced the trail so I ended up catching the guys on their way back, only a quarter mile behind them. I ran an extra quarter mile, and it worked out well in the end. But that ninth mile… oof! I’m blaming this one on hills and improper hydration.

(10:05, 9:53, 9:57, 10:24, 9:21, 9:09, 9:10, 9:14, 11:00, 9:38)

All over the place

Start time: 2/7/09, 12:00pm
Location: Washington DC and Arlington
Distance: 14 miles
Average pace: 9:48min/mile
Total Miles For February: 26 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 71 miles

Well, the good news first: I had a great first 11.5 miles! That said, the last 2.5 miles? Ugh.

I am hoping the problem was related to dehydration; I made a big mistake when I plotted out my route (down Route 50 to Iwo Jima, run south past Memorial Bridge to 14th St Bridge, cross and run around the Tidal Basin to the Washington Monument, down one side of the Mall and up the other, then along Constitution to Lincoln Memorial, up the Potomac to Georgetown, and finally across Key Bridge and along the Custis Trail to get home) in that I had not even thought of the fact that most water fountains would be turned off because it’s the winter. So when I went to refill my water bottle around mile 8.5 (and I probably hadn’t drank enough to that point as it was), no dice. Oops. Also, it turns out that Thompson’s Boat House is closed for the winter as well.

Fortunately, one restaurant had an outside bar set up (because it was a glorious 55 degrees!) and the bartender refilled my water there, but the damage was already done. I had some calf cramps over the last 2.5 miles, and the slow downs are rather noticeable. On the bright side, up until that point the only dips in pace were when I had to dodge hordes of tourists, so yay for that! I’m also resolving to be better about stretching every day, I know I’ve been a little lax in that. It’s been almost two years since I’ve had these cramps show up, so hopefully better hydration and better stretching will keep them away again.

It was fun to just run all over the area, rather than just up and down the W&OD like I have on so many other runs. A little change of scenery is always nice.

(8:00, 9:13, 8:55, 9:33, 9:33, 9:55, 9:24, 9:50, 9:19, 9:29, 10:07, 11:09, 11:26, 11:24)