Monthly Archives: August 2005

Through the old neighborhood

Start time: 08/31/05, 6:45pm
Location: Local Neighborhood (Vienna)
Distance: 3 miles
Average pace: 9:43min/mile

As I’m picking up my keys to my new apartment today, and since most of my running during the week has been on the W&OD Trail this spring and summer, I thought it was time to take one last spin through my current neighborhood. It was a quicky—just three miles—and for the first lap it was nice to hit the route that I’ve been doing since late 2001. The stores, the car dealership, the crazy toiletbowl building… it’s hardly scenic, but it was nice to see it all again. By the second loop, I was ready to bid it all goodbye. Cars were trying to run me over, the weeds sticking out over the sidewalk had to be dodged, and my headphones kept falling out. (I really need to get a new set, these emergency back-up ones stink.) It’ll be fun finding new routes to run through Arlington.

The end of the month tally for August 2005 is 88 miles, putting me at 468.4 for the year. After July’s being depressingly low in comparison to the previous two months, August is the highest mileage of the year, a very nice change! (And my second highest mileage clocked for a month since I started this.)

Need for Speed, part 4

Start time: 08/28/05, 7:00am
Location: American University
Distance: 10 miles
Average pace: 9:30min/mile

Vroom! Another Sunday of speedwork, and more enjoyment ensuing. It was another small group, but it went well; Mark, Tod, and I all knocked out 10 miles, and Julie smashed her scheduled 8 miles into the dust. This was definitely the first one where I was struggling a bit towards the end, but not in an “I can’t go on” sort of way, more of a, “This really sucks, I am running out of energy, must push forward” feeling.

It helped that I knew I was stopping at ten miles, so when things started to feel like they were shifting into reverse during that last mile, I just started counting the laps of the track. “Only three and a half more to go… only three more to go… only two and seven-eighths to go…” Ok, I didn’t really get that specific, it was really just whole laps that I counted. Although on the last lap, Mark was practically breaking it down that much. I think he was just as happy to end as I was.

This was followed by a fantastic lunch at Guapo’s in Tenleytown, and then I bought my new running shoes (finally!) that I’ll break in this week, hopefully Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon. I’ve definitely put that off long enough.

Music in my head this time: Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now, Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, Faith No More – Easy, something else that I’ve thankfully blocked out already
Mile times: 9:34, 9:24, 9:30, 9:30, 9:28, 9:28, 9:25, 9:24, 9:32, 9:18

Stupid Things I’ve Said On The Trail: an ongoing series

Start time: 08/13/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 10:55min/mile

Me: “Wow, it’s really hard to even maintain just under an 11min pace. What’s going on here?”
Julie: “Maybe it was the 20 miles that we ran on Saturday.”
Me: “Oh yeah, that.”

Honestly, I’d forgotten about it, the run had gone so smoothly then. Go figure, I’m blanking on 20-milers now. (Mind you, the 18-miler sucked so I guess it all evens out.)

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! 🙂

Oops, almost forgot

Start time: 08/17/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 10:55min/mile

On Wednesday, Julie and I went running with our friend Laura, as well as Laura’s dog Tischa. Tischa was adorable, needing to wade for a couple of seconds in every stream we passed (but then Laura would just catch back up with us) and attracting the attention of… well, just about everyone! We were turning heads, but it was because of an adorable dog rather than our stunning good looks, ho ho ho.

Need for Speed, part 3

Start time: 08/14/05, 7:00am
Location: American University
Distance: 8 miles
Average pace: 9:30min/mile

Yay! More speedwork! This time was at our new location—the track at American University, my old roommate Marc’s law school alma mater. This was my first time actually getting to run speedwork on the track and I’ve got to say that for consistency’s sake you can’t beat it one bit.

I was supposed to be knocking out 9:30min/miles, and let’s put it this way: I don’t need to do the fancy little chart from last week because I was so on the money. I was hitting my times down to the quarter mile for the first five miles perfectly, and for the last three I actually came in a little fast thanks to running the initial eighth-mile about five seconds fast. (On the final one I also finished fast but I think it was due to excitement of being done.) But yeah, really consistent times for me: 9:33, 9:26, 9:31, 9:30, 9:31, 9:20, 9:21, 9:16.

Big props also go to those kind enough to wait; while I wasn’t the slowest person there, I was the slowest one that actually ran 8 miles so for the final mile it was just me on the track feeling a tiny bit silly. Maybe that also had something to do with deciding that I was drenched after five miles and ditching the shirt. (That breeze sure felt nice, though.) And having to dodge the randomly-activating sprinklers which weren’t positioned quite right, unless they really are supposed to wet the track a bit as well…

I’m really loving the speedwork program; I can’t believe I never did this before.

Two days at once

Start time: 08/08/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 11:00min/mile

Start time: 08/11/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 11:20min/mile

Two hot-as-blazes running days… Monday we were all still a little tired from Saturday’s 18-miler (unsurprisingly), but were also remarkably consistent, which was nice. Even despite the rain which (naturally) hit right at the turn-around spot, yay. It wasn’t too bad aside from one really huge burst, but it only lasted about a minute and was otherwise just sprinkling.

Today was just me and Mark, and unfortunately Mark wasn’t feeling it. A combination of not much sleep and heat started wearing him down more and more as we ran, and I ended up running the last half mile by myself. It’s hot out (I’d really be pleased if it was just in the 80s for a change) and I’d already knocked out 4.5 (slower) miles, but going over the last little hill before the basketball courts just felt good.

That said, the puddle of water around Mark after we were done from him just standing in one place? Hysterically funny!

“If you can run 18 miles, you can run a marathon”

Start time: 08/06/05, 6:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 18 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 4:1
Average pace: 12:00min/mile

18 down and all is well. The temperature dropped a little bit for Saturday morning, and thank goodness for that. Melting Greg is not a pretty sight, believe you me. The run itself went pretty well; most of the group looked to be doing fine, and we did a nice job of staying on pace. The only downside was that we had some real communication problems with the group, where people just vanished with little or no warning whatsoever. We’re going to need to have a talk about that; on the marathon if they want to just disappear that’s fine, but until then… well, you get the idea.

Still, I felt really good when it was over and pretty strong. No aches the rest of the day or this morning either, which is always a very good sign. Knock on wood, this is my best training season yet.

In two weeks, 20 miles… and another slow-down. I know it’s the right thing to do, but just in terms of the sheer amount of time being out there, not looking forward to that aspect. Ah well, better safe than sorry.

Taking it easy

Start time: 08/03/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 12:30min/mile

Another ultra-hot day here in the Nation’s Capitol, so we decided that rather than die a horrible death we’d just go slower than normal. In retrospect, we should’ve changed the run:walk ratio to something smaller but instead, no, we just ran slower. Which can actually be difficult, on a hot day, because all you keep thinking is, “I’d rather be taking a shower.” In fact, that is literally all I thought for the last two miles, and there was no chit-chat when we were done; I leapt into my car, drove home, and practically threw myself into the shower. Ahhhhh…

Back in the groove despite best efforts otherwise

Start time: 08/01/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 10:40min/mile

Back out on the trail today, despite rising humidity and having run my speed training yesterday. We were trucking along pretty good but after 3.5 miles, Julie and Mark both decided to slow down; the combination of the speed work and the weather was just beating them down. I actually felt really good, though; maybe it was the Starburst I ate a half mile earlier. Whatever the reason, I creamed that last mile and a half (9:50min/mile pace for the last mile and a half). Outside sucked, but inside I was feeling great.