Monthly Archives: October 2005

Last pre-marathon run

Start time: 10/26/05, 5:30pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 10:06min/mile

Well, that was that; the final pre-race maintenance run. (I was originally planning on knocking out a 3-miler on Friday morning but now it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.) Mark and I talked about “guy stuff” for a while, and it was nice to get that last run in with him and just be able to chat about this and that. I’m going to miss our Mon/Wed running sessions together; with Mark’s upcoming scheduled for Hexagon and everything else it just won’t be happening for quite some time. Once Julie’s toe is completely healed I’ll see if I can still drag her out onto the W&OD after work since I know that having someone else with which to run makes a huge difference. Otherwise I’ll be hoofing it up and down Arlington, which is good in its own right but having a running partner makes a huge difference.

One of these days I’ll update on the day I actually run

Start time: 10/24/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 9:47min/mile

Oops, totally forgot to post this. Again. Er, anyway, this was supposed to be a 3-miler but somehow Mark talked me up to 4 miles. I’m not sure why because it was cold and rainy and miserable out. That does, however, explain our pace. I think we were both just desperate to get out of it all, especially once it really started coming down. Yuck. Still, it bodes well for Sunday because honest, we weren’t really trying that terribly hard.

Last recovery run

Start time: 10/22/05, 8:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 8 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 11:00min/mile

Saturday morning was our final group recovery run (and only one of a handful I did with the group because of speed training). It was nice to see a bunch of my fellow pace group members again, and good to see Steve and Christa one last time pre-marathon (since they’ll be off in Ireland next weekend supporting the AIDS Marathoners running the Dublin Marathon). The run itself went well; most of the group was doing fine, although Julie turned around early and just ran 5 miles because of her still-healing toe (and Kris did the same because of his knee problems).

Now all I’ve got is a couple of maintenance runs ahead of me. All this rain better go away stat, though.

Oh, and as an added bonus, there was a mini raffle/prize giveaway and I ended up with a warm hat for running in the winter. Yay! Now that I have virtually no hair on top of my head, I could use one.


Start time: 10/17/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 10:30min/mile

Start time: 10/19/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 9:59min/mile

Monday and Wednesday were both without Julie, alas, who is still letting her broken pinkie toe heal as much as possible. Monday also had Mark with a mysteriously sore calf, so we made plans to turn around/stop early if necessary. Naturally, that never happened. On Wednesday, things seemed much better for his calf, and based on our finishing time (49:55 without really trying) I’d say so. This bodes very well for our plans to shift up to a 10min/mile for miles 11-20 of the marathon. It was a gorgeous day to boot, lots of people out on the trail, and I just felt like we could run for the rest of the day… well, aside from the fact that it was getting dark. This bodes really well for good running weather for the marathon itself.

More importantly, Wednesday’s run put me at 600.4 miles for the year. Yay! It’s pretty cool to hit that number without having even run the real marathon just yet.

Need for Speed, part 7

Start time: 10/16/05, 8:00am
Location: American University
Distance: 4 miles
Average pace: 9:30min/mile

Ah, the final speed training pre-marathon… it went surprisingly quickly, being just 4 miles this time. No crazy final miles this time through, since we’re getting close to the marathon. (Although the last mile was accidentally a 9:05. Excited, much?) Fall has finally arrived and everything was cold in the shadows (which was half of the track) so there was a bit of shivering going on, but breakfast afterwards took care of that. More importantly, post-marathon some of us will keep doing speedwork and I like that idea very much.

Looking ahead…

It’s hard to believe that it’s time to start thinking about post-marathon races and plans for now through the end of April 2006. Good lord.

Right now the big question is if I tackle another full marathon in early 2006. My friend Mark ran the Frederick Marathon in 2005 and has raved about it; it’s a small but nice marathon, and it’s on April 30th, 2006. If I wanted to run it, I’d have someone with which to train (which is always nice).

There are other marathons between now and then, of course. The Philadelphia Marathon (November 20th) is still up in the air, depending on what happens at the Marine Corps Marathon on October 30th. Now that it turns out Julie has broken her toe, I’m thinking that there’s a good chance she’ll want to do Philadelphia depending on what happens with the MCM. (The podiatrist said she could run it if the pain didn’t bother her too much, and it was broken a little over three and a half weeks before the marathon so we’ll see.)

And then there’s the “smaller races” route. I’ve already got the Cherry Blossom 10-miler at the start of April on my calendar, and there are lots of fun 5 and 10Ks available in the DC area, from the Turkey Trot to the St. Patrick’s Day 10K, and all other ones in-between. (I’m still a little bummed about missing that colon awareness race, pun intended.) There’s something nice about being able to take it slightly more easy throughout the winter. If I do this, then the chances of me finally buckling down and actually trying to start going to the gym again (and re-learn how to use the equipment and such) is much greater.

There’s also a half-marathon option, of course. One co-worker’s talking about running the Williamsburg Half-Marathon at the end of February, and gearing up for that or another half-marathon is no big deal at this point provided I know it’s coming. My one and only half-marathon finishing time is rather pathetic to me these days so the idea of running another one is appealing. I’d originally talked about running either the half or full Mardi Gras Marathon, but I’ve taken that off the schedule for 2006, alas.

Looking really far ahead, there’s also the question of what to run for fall 2006. The glory of the Chicago Marathon? Make a play to try and get into the New York Marathon? Perhaps the far-off and breathtaking Venice Marathon? (No, really.) The local and by all reports appealing Richmond Marathon? The tried-and-true Marine Corps Marathon? (Which, upon being my fifth, gives me automatic entry for life.) Ok, it’s probably a bit much to think quite this far ahead.

So let’s see, here’s the list of everything under consideration right now, with the caveat that obviously a lot of these will not actually be run. I’m not nuts.

Nov 20th – Philadelphia Marathon
Nov 24th – Virginia Run Turkey Trot 5K
Dec 11th – Jingle All the Way 10K

Jan 29th – Miami Tropical Half-Marathon
Feb 26th – Williamsburg Half-Marathon
Mar ??th – St. Patrick’s Day 10K
Apr 2nd – Cherry Blossom 10-miler
Apr ??th – George Washington Parkway Classic 10-miler
Apr ??th – Sallie Mae 10K
Apr 30th – Frederick Marathon
Apr 30th – Brain Tumor Society 5K Race for Hope
May ??th – Capitol Hill Classic 10K

Oct ??th – Chicago Marathon
Oct ??th – Venice Marathon
Oct 29th – Marine Corps Marathon
Nov 11th – Richmond Marathon
Nov ??th – New York Marathon

I’ve put way too much thought into this.


Start time: 10/12/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 10:19min/mile

I was originally going to try and run yesterday, but starting yesterday afternoon I got a mystery ache in my left foot on the top of it, right near the ankle. It’s odd because I would understand if it’d started first thing Tuesday because with the new bed and all I slept uncomfortably Monday night (not being used to the new height and such). But no, it started Tuesday afternoon. I’m starting to think that Julie dropped a concrete block on my foot when I wasn’t paying attention.

The ache continued into today, but I decided to go running anyway with the understanding that if it bothered me I would call it quits. Sometimes I get aches if I don’t run for a while and I was hoping that was it. So, Mark and I headed out into a chilly, overcast, always-threatening-to-rain sort of day. My original plan was to just take off my glasses before running in case it rained, but after about ten steps I decided Plan B was the new course of action and put on a hat instead. I wish I’d dug out my long-sleeve running shirts, it was a bit brisk out. Any doubts I had about buying a new running jacket from the MCM this year have been dashed; I was going to ask for one for Christmas but now I’m thinking I’ll want it before then and should just buy it myself.

Anyway, we talked some more about potential race plans; Mark’s going to run the Frederick Marathon again the last weekend of April, which is a real possibility. Alternately I might just stick with some shorter races and maybe a half marathon in there somewhere. It’s all still very nebulous and up in the air, to be honest. Adding to the confusion, I’d finally decided that crowds (with the 12,000 fastest runners in the first wave half an hour ahead of everyone else) probably wouldn’t be a problem so if weather cooperated (ha ha) I wouldn’t need the Philadelphia Marathon as a back-up plan… except it turns out when Julie kicked the ottoman on Tuesday of last week, she did indeed break her little toe. Whoops. The podiatrist said that she can still run MCM on the 30th if she doesn’t mind the pain. So now I’m thinking that Philadelphia may still end up being back on depending on how she’s feeling, because if it hurts too much at that point I’ll run Philadelphia with her (since it’s three weeks later and by then it should be entirely healed).

Decisions, decisions.

Oh yeah, the ache is now almost entirely gone so I’m hoping it was just having a whiny foot that wanted to go running. Pfft.

Need for Speed, part 6

Start time: 10/09/05, 8:00am
Location: American University
Distance: 6 miles
Average pace: 9:30min/mile

Today was the first of our two final speedwork sessions, where we’re doing less and less milage. For me and Mark (and anyone else who’d done twelve, like grok) that meant 6 miles. (Julie banged up her foot on an ottoman and wisely is resting it; fortunately the bruising is already gone.) For the first four miles, Mark and I (along with speedwork running pal Jeff) were hitting our pace almost exactly. Jeff finished up at that point, and Mark and I finished our fifth mile a little fast.

“Are you going to try and bust out a full eight-minute mile for the final mile this time,” Mark asked. “I’m game if you’re game,” I replied.

Well, we took the first eighth and the last eighth a little off-pace, so we didn’t hit 8:00… instead it was… um… 7:27.

Bad Greg. Bad Mark. And no, we weren’t gasping for breath afterwards. This speed training stuff really works!

(“The 9:30min/mile pace group is my bitch next year,” I was heard to remark when we were done. Three miles at under an 8:30min/mile (without breathing hard) is not the daunting prospect it once was.)

(Mile times: 9:33, 9:33, 9:28, 9:31, 9:08, 7:27)

Zoom Zoom

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

“Let’s take it easy,” Mark and I decided. So then… what happened? Was it the cloudy skies blocking the sun and keeping the temperature down? The (accidentally, honest) matching blue UnderArmour shirts we were wearing? Our concentrating on proper form during miles 3-4? Us talking about the Boston Marathon? The really hot cyclist who tipped his helmet at us?

Ok, it wasn’t the matching shirts. I do think that the form definitely had a lot to do with it; our slowest mile was mile #2, but even it was a 10:30. For not trying hard, we’re both quite pleased because this really bodes well. Neither of us were even breathing terribly hard, although I once more had far too much sweat going into my eyes during the last half mile!

One thing I’ve been thinking about for next year is what pace group I’ll end up in. Right now I’m thinking that 9:30 or 10:00 (which means the 3-miler at an even pace of 8:30 or 9:00) is not only within reach, it’s a natural. I like that idea.

Back in the Saddle

Start time: 10/03/05, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 11:00min/mile

Mark and I decided we were ready to get back into the saddle yesterday, so after a short stroll to warm up, we were off. “Let’s just get distance and not worry about time,” we said. “There’s no need to aim for 11min/miles.”

Ha ha ha ha ha. Our finishing time? 54:57. I don’t think we’ve ever gotten so on the dot closer to an 11min/mile average. Lots of chatting about books, future marathon plans, and this-and-that. (Splits: 11:24, 11:04, 11:14, 10:59, 10:14.) We certainly looked (and felt!) a little stiff at the beginning, but by the end we were definitely back in the groove.