Monthly Archives: September 2005

Last run of the month

Start time: 09/28/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 10:40min/mile

My next run is scheduled for October 1st, so this closes out September for me. It’s been that sort of month where I didn’t get nearly as many miles under my belt as I wanted (I missed a handful of maintenance runs) but it was due to outside circumstances more than laziness on my part, at least. Even then, the total for September is 76 miles, which is the same that I got for June… only in June my mileage kept going up while in September there was only one “long run” (the 23-miler) since the final long run is October 1st.

Oh, the run itself was fine. Waved hi to butchinson, chatted about Gilbert & Sullivan with Mark (I’m not a big fan of their works), marathon plans, and plans for next year. More on those when I have time, honest.

Need for Speed, part 5

Start time: 09/25/05, 7:00am
Location: American University
Distance: 12 miles
Average pace: 9:30min/mile

Last Sunday was the final mileage jump for my speedwork sessions, up to 12 miles. It went really well; I ran the first eight miles with Mark and Jeff, and the last four with just Mark since Jeff was done for the day. There were lots of attractive people in the forms of the AU Women’s Soccer Team and their Coaches, so as I said that day there was something for everyone. (There was also a stupid little kid riding around the track on his bicycle, but thankfully grok and Rick put an end to that quickly.)

The best part of the day for me, though, was the final mile. Four laps around the track is one mile, so since I was running 9:30min/miles that meant each lap needed to be around 2:22. Rick had already said that the final mile is “the fun one”, and right as Mark and I were finishing up the first lap he called out, “If you’re smiling that much Greg, you clearly aren’t working hard enough.” I promptly thought to myself, Hmmmm… I wonder? and then sped up. I finished the second lap at 2:01… the third at 2:03… and the fourth at 2:00. Being able to shift up to an 8:00min/mile for the last three quarters of the mile felt fantastic, and a nice finishing time for the mile at 8:23.

My next year goals will get hashed out in a month or so (I still need to go through my goals from this year like tahiggins wisely suggested) but right now I’m thinking that landing in the 9:30min/mile training group next year should very much be in reach. Yay!

Our final two speedwork sessions will be in a couple of weeks; the next one will be half our previous longest distance at speedwork (so 6 miles) and then the final one will be 2-3 miles for everyone. Can’t wait!

(Mile times: 9:45, 9:33, 9:20, 9:27, 9:41, 9:31, 9:23, 9:25, 9:25, 9:24, 9:31, 8:23)

Same old, same old.

Start time: 09/19/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 11:00min/mile

Just me and Mark today, hitting the maintenance runs again after skipping them for a week. Lots of people were out today, probably enjoying the slightly cooler temperatures while they can.

Nothing terribly exciting to report. Wednesday morning I am going to try and go running in the new neighborhood before work. We’ll see if I actually succeed, mind you.

Group In Recovery

Start time: 09/17/05, 7:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 8 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 11:00min/mile

After last week’s 23-miler, throughout the week I ran… nothing! No guilt about it, either. It was a really busy week and with everything else going on, I wanted to try and get a little running time to just let my brain reset, but in the end a week off after a long run was just fine in my book.

Apparently it was also just fine for almost all of the rest of my group to skip the 8-mile “recovery run” scheduled for this Saturday. Out of the 20+ people in our pace group, we had a whopping total of… six. That said, it was a really nice run. Julie, Carla, John, Laura, Katie, and I went at a pretty good clip, and it was just nice to have a small group with which to chit-chat about anything and everything under the sun. (And apparently the race staging ground this year will be in the North Pentagon Parking Lot instead of Rosslyn. Naturally this change was made now that I have moved just a leisurely stroll away from the old starting area in Rosslyn. Bah!)

Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of good people who weren’t at our run site, but there’s something to be said for the nice small group. Having speed training instead of recovery runs has been fantastic but with only three recovery runs scheduled I have sort of missed the small-group-experience.

Rapidly Approaching the Endgame

Start time: 09/10/05, 7:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 23 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 3:1
Average pace: 13:00min/mile

Hard to believe there’s only one more “long run” to go at this point, now that the 23-miler is history. We were back in two lopsided groups today, with more and more people unable to tolerate having to run with the Bickersons. Oh well, not my fault. Our group did really well; I ended up setting the pace, and aside from one or two hiccups we really nailed the pace. Perhaps a little too much dawdling at water stops, but it was 5 hours of running, I can understand the want for another 30 seconds to grab some more Starbursts. I felt pretty strong, though. Towards the end I was just feeling tired and a tiny bit sore, but really nothing major. This isn’t like several years ago where it was an, “Ow, ow, ow” sort of thing. It’s amazing how much my body’s adapted to the abusive workout that I put it through.

Best of all was this morning, though, when the sun wasn’t making an appearance and we were running through lots of fog and mist. It finally got burnt off, but the lack of direct sunlight provided for a really pleasant running environment. Don’t get me wrong, no humidity would have been nice, but at least the humidity helped us out instead of hindering us for most of the marathon.

Oh, and a great side-benefit of the new haircut; I swear, I sweat less as a result. Maybe it’s just evaporating faster, but whatever the reason I’m just thankful.

Final long run: October 1st.
Marathon: October 30th.

Tick tick tick tick tick…

A Tale of Two Trails

Start time: 09/06/05, 6:00pm
Location: Mount Vernon Trail
Distance: 3 miles
Average pace: 10:00min/mile
Start time: 09/07/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 4:1, then 5:1
Average pace: 10:50min/mile

The difference between my last two runs really couldn’t be any bigger, the more I think about it.

Tuesday I decided I’d finally give the infamous Mount Vernon Trail a whirl. I’ve seen it many a time as it snakes along the Potomac River, and thought to myself how nice it looks. The reality? Well, the view is outstanding as you run down the river, looking into DC at sights like Georgetown, the Washington Monument, and Memorial Bridge. I know that if you go further you eventually pass by the airport, Old Town Alexandria, Mount Vernon itself… a pity that at least the section I went on, it’s a pretty lousy trail. It’s incredibly narrow to the point of danger; I was running so far to the right that I was practically falling off the trail and still almost getting clipped by bicycles. The part where the trail goes under Memorial Bridge, it goes down to a single “lane” and it’s a miracle more people don’t collide and die there. In general, the people on the trail were pretty rude, both runners and cyclists; very little warning of people passing, some trail hogs, and all in all I was utterly unimpressed. I will give the people on the trail points for looking pretty darn hot, but this is ultimately a trail where the view is great but nothing else is.

On Wednesday I met up with Julie to run down the W&OD Trail… where we promptly ran into Katie about to go running as well. Julie and I adjusted our ratio so we could run with Katie, and were about to get going… and then butchinson zipped by on his bike. Why did no one tell me that it was “familiar faces” day on the trail? Sure enough, a mile and a half out, we saw Noel from our run site going in the other direction. Julie and I eventually bid goodbye to Katie once she needed to slow the pace down a bit, and switched back to our old ratio and pace for the remainder. All of this reminded me more than anything else about what I like about the W&OD Trail: all the familiar and friendly faces. It’s got mostly polite people, a lot of genuinely cool acquaintances that I run into here, and it’s just a generally well-maintained and cared for trail system. It might not be as glamorous or well known, but it’s pretty great. (And then after all of that, right as we were finishing up we ran back into butchinson, whose bicycle had lost a pedal. Julie promptly offered him a ride back to his car since she’s got the SUV, so that worked out really well.)

It’s a shame that the Mount Vernon Trail stinks; it does have the great view(s) and it’s really near my new place. But on a regular basis? No thanks. I’ll stick with the W&OD and try some others like Custis. For now, though, I’m good.

Recovery run? Oh yeah, that thing.

Start time: 09/03/05, 7:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 10 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 11:00min/mile

My first “recovery run” of the season! Normally I’d have had quite a few by now but speed work has meant that instead I’ve been zipping around doing mile repeats those weekends. It felt pretty odd to have this finally happen again, one of only three I’ve got scheduled for the year.

We had a small group, enough to run without having to split up, and to be honest I was less than pleased. Some real problems in terms of direction and leadership, and I don’t think I was the only one who felt it. People kept vanishing without others noticing, there were minor arguements about style… it could have been a thoroughly unpleasant run but I just tried to ignore it and concentrated on chatting with Julie, Ali, Katie, and a few others around me.

It’s rare to have an entire group get along wonderfully like we did last year. This year reminds me much more of 2001, where there were little subsections of the pace group that got along fantastically, but we weren’t all chummy and one huge unit. It’s not a bad thing, so long as you recognize it and move forward with that knowledge. As I was told as a child, “You can’t be best friends with everyone.” Having just good acquaintances with the rest is fine by me.

The actual running part went well, though!

Oh yeah, last Thursday

Start time: 09/01/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 10:55min/mile

Oops! Totally forgot to enter this. An uneasy start to September for me; I felt still and not entirely “with it” for the entire second half of this run. It wasn’t a great one for Julie, either, and it sounded like almost the exact same symptoms. She slowed down for the last mile and a half and I’m thinking I should’ve done the same thing as well instead of still trying to find my groove. It’s important to remember that sometimes we just don’t have a good run and there’s nothing you can do about it; this is something I’m better about recognizing in hindsight than when it’s occurring.

The new shoes are breaking in very well, though.