Monthly Archives: July 2005

Need for Speed, part 2

Start time: 07/31/05, 8:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 6 miles
Average pace: 9:30min/mile

Well, it was time for another round of speed work… I’d missed the four mile session two weeks ago but I had hustled when running up and down the hills of San Diego to get to my group run that Saturday, so I figured that was good enough.

After hearing how great the track at Wakefield High School was for the four-miler, I was all excited to be there for today’s speed work. The guy showed up to unlock the gates at 8am… and told us that there was an event starting at 9am and they would be setting up at 8:30am, even though we’d already booked the track and was told there was nothing else going on.


So, it was back over to the W&OD Trail. Yeesh. Oh well, it was nice to at least run a warm-up on the springy surface of the track; I can see why people were a fan of running along it! Speed work itself went really well, though. We only had half-mile markers so it was a little harder to judge how well one was moving, but by the end I felt like I was hitting it, despite the way we were running meaning that odd-numbered miles were slightly uphill and even-numbered were slightly downhill. I was aiming for 9:30min/miles (or 4:45 for each half) and I ended up with:

mile # first half second half total
1 4:53 4:36 9:30
2 4:25 4:34 9:00
3 4:42 4:41 9:24
4 4:29 4:40 9:09
5 4:43 4:48 9:31
6 4:30 4:51 9:22

So, not bad! I think I’m starting to get the hang of this thing.

Oh yeah, grand total of miles for July was 65.5, which was lower than the last two months… of course, I also went on vacation for a week, followed by missing one or two maintenance runs due to the heat. So, very understandable.

It’s getting hot in herrrrre…

Start time: 07/27/05, 8:30pm
Location: Gold’s Gym
Distance: 3 miles
Average pace: 10:45min/mile

After skipping a day or two of running because of the extreme heat conditions (100+), I headed over to the gym this evening to knock out a few on the treadmill. Not a big treadmill fan, but I figured it was better than nothing. Gold’s was nothing short of an oven, so after three I decided that was good enough for government work and called it a night. Since my weekend run isn’t until Sunday, I might see if I can knock out a few on Friday morning, provided I can haul my lazy ass out of bed in time.

Piece of… something

Start time: 07/23/05, 6:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 16 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 4:1
Average pace: 12:00min/mile

Phew! This was not a run that I was expecting to be tough. Starting with this run, all of the long distances are slowed down by a minute or two per mile (to prevent injury), so I figured that with the slowdown I’d be just fine, right? Right?

Ho ho ho.

It didn’t go badly, but it’s been a long while since I’ve had a long run that I genuinely had to work at towards the end. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing; I definitely took it way too easy last year, after all. But with the heat racketing up and the sun beating down, I felt like I really earned those last four miles or so. (Dear W&OD Trail: Get some more shade between markers 5 and 9. Please.) I ended up being pace group leader this week since Michael was out on a trip. It went really well, and with a little help from Craig and Julie we hit almost every single mile perfectly on time. That was really gratifying, needless to say. But now… well, it’s good to be inside. Hopefully the 18 and 20 milers won’t be quite so brutal in the weather department; it really makes all the difference in the world.

(And oh look, is predicting a high of 98 degrees* for Monday. I am so not running after work. Either first thing in the morning or in the evening at the gym, I think.)

* — No, not Nick Lachey’s former group.

I fought the lag and the lag won

Start time: 07/20/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 11:37min/mile

I flew back to DC on the red-eye Tuesday night, and grabbed a little under two hours of sleep in doing so. After I got home, I caught another two hours of sleep, then went into the office. (Yes, I’m insane.) And at the end… went running with Mark and Julie. Uggggghhhh. Heat + jet lag = disaster. I was exhausted when we were done, and our times slipped steadily throughout the run*. My only consolation (and it wasn’t much) is that my running partners were struggling, too. Oh well, tomorrow’s 16-miler should be a breeze in comparison.

* — 10:40, 11:14, 11:38, 12:22, 12:08

Down by the Water

Start time: 07/16/05, 10:00am
Location: San Diego
Distance: 5.5 miles
Average pace: 9:02 / 13:00 / 9:55min/mile

Last Saturday I went running with three of my friends (Jill, Laurenn, and Brendan) while off in San Diego. I was to meet them at the Hyatt in the Gaslamp District down by the water, so I ran from my Little Italy hotel a mile and a quarter in 11:18. A great opening salvo in some of the best running weather I’ve probably ever had. From there it was three miles down along the water, which was fantastic. Laurenn set the pace (she’s training for a triathlon) and while the first half (12:29min/mile) was faster than the second half (13:34min/mile) it ended up with a good solid 13 average, which is what I do believe Laurenn was aiming for. From there it was slogging uphill all the way back into Little Italy by myself. When I got to El Cortez hill, I finally gasped and let myself get a 10 second walk break; that thing is steep. As in, San Francisco Steep.

A great, great run, and after two days of stiff and sore calves from walking all over the convention center, my legs felt fantastic for the rest of Saturday. And as an added bonus, I now know all about checking out “boobies” while I’m running.

Burma Shave

Start time: 07/11/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 10:46min/mile

Nothing terribly exciting to report aside from the weather, and that’s gotten pretty tired! I’m heading out of town for a week starting Wednesday morning but have plans to go running while in San Diego… that’s about it!

Over half way there, and life is good

Start time: 07/09/05, 6:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 14 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 11:00min/mile

Beauty. It was hard getting up for a 6am start time again, but that was the toughest thing for me about today. Mike was our new pace group leader, although I stuck by him up at the front to help set the pace since it’s a tricky thing to do for the first time with a large group. Boom, boom, boom: we knocked those miles out with little difficulty. Even better, now that we’re going out to the Vienna Community Center, the obligatory bathroom break wasn’t so killer since there are multiple bathrooms to use for everyone who needs them. (I must admit, I like going in just for the air-conditioning and the allure of paper towels to mop off my face.) I’d say we hit almost every single mile on the dot, though, and only lost four people from our twelve-person starting pack. (Two people had to drop back along the way, and each had someone stay back with them.)

If only they could all be this good!

How many ways can I say “it’s hot and humid outside”?

Start time: 07/06/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 10:35min/mile

Is it September yet? I have this fantasy, you see, that in September it will be distinctly cooler out, or at least a little less humid. (I’m deluding myself, aren’t I? *sigh*) Still, moved at a pretty nice clip despite being weighed down by a huge picnic lunch.

Need for Speed

Start time: 07/03/05, 8:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 2 miles & 4 miles
Run:Walk ratio: all running & 5:1
Average pace: 9:30min/mile & 11:00min/mile

Sunday was my first official day of “speed training”. It was planned to be a short session, just two miles worth, but I was really looking forward to it. I drove down to Wakefield High School, which had given us permission to use their track…

…and the gates were locked. D’oh!

Once everyone arrived (maybe a dozen people in all, including Mark, Julie, and Laurel from my pace group, and my good buddy grok) we conferred for a bit and decided that as tempting as it was to just jump the fence, that if someone got hurt it would be A Bad Thing, so instead we carpooled over to the W&OD Trail where with the help of GPS units, quarter mile increments were marked out. It’s not a track, but until that gets sorted out with the high school, it’d have to do. I ended up doing my mile repeats at a 9:30min/mile pace, and that worked really well for me. I need to decide before the next one if it’s the right pace for me; it hit me after I got home that I had done the 10K (admittedly with a run/walk pattern) at a faster pace than that, after all. After all, I am supposed to be pushing a bit here!

Anyway, once that was over, Julie, grok, Cal, Rick, and I ended up knocking out a few more miles at a slightly slower pace. It was nice to get to just run and chat (all great people!) and was a great way to start the day.