Monthly Archives: March 2006

Farewell, March.

Start time: 03/29/06, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: 10:17min/mile

One final run to round out March. Julie and I took another four miles together, and to our surprise half a mile in we ran into Mark, who joined us for the rest. He seemed in good spirits, and we chatted about Cherry Blossom 10-miler plans and such. A slightly slower third mile (9:56, 10:17, 10:41, 10:13) but not bad at all. No stiffness at all is left from the half marathon, so fingers crossed for a good race on Sunday.

Speaking of half marathons, its presence also meant that this was officially my highest mileage for a month where I wasn’t in the AIDS Marathon program, topping out at 69.1 miles. (The previous record holder was December 2005 with the surprisingly high 66 miles.) The yearly total is at 162.1 miles, while last year at the end of March I was at 118.4. Wow!

April should be an interesting month in terms of running; starting on Mondays I’m going to be running by myself and experimenting with a GPS unit. Interesting may not even begin to sum up what’s ahead!

Monday, Monday

Start time: 03/27/06, 5:45pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: 10:16min/mile

Two days after the half marathon, and thankfully all is well. I could definitely still feel it in my muscles, but it wasn’t a bad feeling, just more of a signal that the muscles had definitely been used on Saturday! And, as I commented to Julie as we were finishing, an added bonus was that it was still light outside when we finished. Shocking! Shocking I tell you! (10:04, 10:12, 10:38, 10:09. Julie was motoring!)

“Blow, blow, thou winter wind…”

Start time: 03/18/06, 8:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 10 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 10:24min/mile

That felt really, really good. It’d been a while since I’d done a double-digit distance (the last was… um… February 11th!) and it’s nice to know that it’s still a good process. I ran the first six with Julie and Randy, and a groove was settled into quickly while we chatted away with Randy about this and that, just catching up in general. (10:15, 10:30, 10:41, 11:03, 10:47, 10:52.) We did all of today’s at a 5:1 (instead of a 6:1) because that’s what Randy’s been training at, so it was interesting to be back at last season’s ratio and pace.

We dropped Julie off at that point and knocked out four more miles; no new ratio, but just naturally a bit faster without consciously trying (9:59, 10:05, 9:49, 10:00). Amusingly our finishing time was 1:44:06, which was faster than I raced the Cherry Blossom 10-miler last year. So that bodes really well.

I must say, though, it is awfully windy out today! (Hopefully this means we won’t have these winds still in two weeks time… yeah right.) Both Randy and I towards the end at different points had our hats blown clean off of our heads… brrrrr. Time for a nice hot shower!

(insert witty title here)

Start time: 03/15/06, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: 10:35min/mile

On the bright side, better than Monday’s pace. And very consistant as well (10:27, 10:41, 10:37, 10:34). But I know Julie wasn’t happy with it, and to be honest I was less than thrilled as well. I told her that on Monday I was bringing a tazer and she gets one zap for every second below her pace. 🙂 More later, but I just accidentally deleted the data out of the watch so I figured I should post this now before going to bed and forgetting it all.

Hey, this is pretty exciting.

I just went and looked a little more closely at the St. Patrick’s Day 8K standings and decided to compare them to the previous three years I ran the race. Specifically, how I finished in comparison to those in my age group; the first year was a 25-29 age group, but it’s been 30-34 since then.

2003: 379/379 (oh good lord)
2004: 512/513 (hey, I beat someone in my age group this time…)
2005: 305/368 (82nd percentile)
2006: 294/469 (62nd percentile)

If that isn’t an eye opener, I don’t know what is. I certainly feel a lot better about Sunday. (Not that I felt bad, you know… but certainly less than jazzed.) If I could finish one above the halfway point in my age group I’d be stoked. Sadly that may very well not happen until I shift into a slightly less competitive age bracket, but you never know. I mean, hell, I was last in my bracket in 2003. So I’m stoked about this.

(Here’s the funny thing—for a bit I was thinking, “Well, maybe it was just that there were more people.” So I took my pace from last year’s 10K and figured out my finishing time for an 8K. That would’ve been a 48:52, which would have made me 386/469 instead… or 82nd percentile, the exact same as last year. Ha!)

The trails are alive with the sound of runners

Start time: 03/13/06, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: 10:53min/mile

“Sorry I’m poking along today,” Julie said around the end of mile 3, “but between diminished lung capacity* and just being lazy, this is about all I can do.”

Personally, I was content to be “poking along” today; the weather in the DC area this past weekend was fairly fantastic, and while I’d have normally waited until Tuesday after a Sunday race, knowing the temperature’s going to drop about 30 or 40 degrees tonight meant that one last “gorgeous running weather” day was in order. We clearly weren’t the only ones who felt that way; after a winter of mostly desolation and some die-hard runners, the trail was full today with both cyclists and runners. Quite a few attractive ones, too—an added bonus!

So, not terribly fast but I was perfectly content to enjoy the beautiful afternoon/evening and just take it easy.

* — Someone forgot their allergy medicine today.

Groove 1, Greg 0

Start time: 03/12/06, 9:00am
Location: Washington DC
Distance: 8 kilometers (4.97 miles)
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: 8:58min/mile

Today was one of those “glad it’s over” sort of races, but for no real definable reason other than “I never found my groove.” (Paging Stella.) It didn’t go badly, don’t get me wrong… but I just never really felt into it. I was a little tired before we even began (and darn it, I was in bed last night at a reasonable hour), and that’s never a good sign.

The course was crowded but full of eager runners, but it was crowded enough that I never saw the first two mile markers. (Julie said she never saw them either, but could hear other people seeing them.) I really wasn’t sure at what pace I was really moving, and good ol’ self-doubt showed up several times in those first three miles. This was also only the second race I’ve ever run entirely by myself (the other being the Worst Organized Race Ever), which was a strange feeling. I know, most people have the reverse, but it’s what you’re used to.

Anyway, I hit mile marker 3 at 27:05, which meant that I’d been averaging 9min/miles for the first three. That’s good. Unfortunately, I was also starting to lose some steam when that’s when I wanted to begin to pick it up a bit. That groove was nowhere to be seen as I hit marker 4 in 9:32. Hmph. I buckled down at that point, threw out the last scheduled walk break, and tried to just keep moving forward. The final two-block stretch of the race was me playing my “I’m going to beat… you!” game where I picked a runner up ahead (in this case a tall leggy guy with a bright orange shirt) and made it my mission to pass the object of my determination. It worked well, and I finished the last mile (well really the last 0.97 miles… stupid 8Ks…) in 7:57, for a finishing time of 44:35. I’d say “and I got a PR!” but really, since it was my first 8K just finishing is a PR. But it was an 8:58min/mile pace, which was faster than my last 10K pace and that was the important thing.

Julie did well too; she lost a couple of minutes when someone in front of her wiped out hard and she helped him up and over to the sidewalk and then gave him some Advil before police finally came over to assist. She’s far nicer than I. Even with that delay her finishing time was a 55:12, which is very respectable indeed.

Oh yeah; once again, right foot going slightly numb around mile 3. I’m thinking more and more that my shoes shrunk slightly after getting washed from the Mud Extravaganza last month and that getting new shoes will nip this in the bud. Sometime this week, Metro Run & Walk will be very happy to see me.

And now that I’ve gotten home, scrubbed out the fish tank, put in some new water, and emptied the trash… time for a shower. The best part, by far, about a race is the post-run shower. Ahhhhhhhh.