Monthly Archives: April 2006

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Start time: 04/24/06, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 3 miles
Average pace: 8:45min/mile

So. The idea was to run four miles by myself today; I’d missed running on Saturday because I’d started to come down with a cold, but I decided that it was more or less gone and I could hit the trail after work. It was a quarter mile out on the trail that I discovered the new headphones I’d bought for running… well, they stunk. To the point that I threw them in a trashcan rather than even try to keep using them. Back to the earbuds, I guess, despite how much I don’t like them either. (They always feel like they’re about to fall out.)

My first half-mile was a little fast (4:00), but after that I settled into a good pace for the next two miles worth of halves (4:19, 4:20, 4:18, 4:23) and I had a mile and a half to go. It was at mile 2.75 that everything fell apart. I’d thought on the previous half mile that I was starting to drag, but the split only had me about 3 seconds off so I figured it was just my mind playing tricks on me.) Suddenly and with no warning, though, I started feeling light-headed and dizzy. For a couple of seconds I actually thought, “I’ll just run to the mile marker and then I’ll stop, it’s only two minutes away.” Within another couple of steps, though, I knew that wasn’t happening. I stepped off the trail and walked for about forty-five seconds to try and catch my breath, then jogged the last bit to the marker and stopped entirely (4:57).

And so, I walked the last mile back to my car. Slowly. I felt stupid for having gone out running in the first place when I was just getting over a cold, and doubly stupid for not having the good sense to at least plot a route where I would’ve gone out less distance and then just repeated it, in case something like this happened. More importantly, I just felt like my ass had been kicked all over the place. My stomach was a little queasy, and as I trudged back to the car in my own personal humiliation, I prayed I wouldn’t see anyone I know. (No such luck. Madelyn’s husband Don had been out jogging and I’d passed him on the way out, and sure enough he passed me as I walked that very long mile back.)

Well, I guess I know what I’m not doing on Wednesday.

The joys of battery replacement

Start time: 04/19/06, 6:15pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: 10:14min/mile

On Tuesday after work, I went to Target to get some shopping done… and finally get a new battery in the watch half of grok‘s old Timex Ironman Speed & Distance GPS. Except they were A) out of the battery at the jeweler’s counter, and B) didn’t seem terribly thrilled about the idea of exchanging it even if I got a battery from the electronics department and brought it over. So, undeterred, I went to the mall on my lunch break today to get the battery switched out. The woman took a small eternity, first continually dropping one of the screws and then unable for quite some time to get the watch strap on. When I finally got the watch? The strap still wasn’t actually attached properly, but I managed to fix it with the help of a ballpoint pen.

So after all of that? Despite downloading the manual and reading it carefully I still couldn’t get it to do what I wanted to—namely to beep at me every mile. *sigh* I need to keep working on this.

Oh, today’s run? Almost identical to last week’s run (9:54, 9:48, 10:43, 10:27). Creepy. jabulous is an amazingly consistent running partner!

Inspiration wherever I can find it

Start time: 04/17/06, 8:00pm
Location: Arlington Boulevard Trail
Distance: 2 miles
Average pace: 8:43min/mile

So the original plan was that I’d go running this morning when I got home from Pennsylvania, then head into work after lunch. What actually happened, though, was that I got home later than anticipated due to a number of reasons, and the temperature had dropped to 45 degrees and raining. Brrrr. So, very tired from getting up early (in fact, earlier than necessary based on the other people I was driving home and their general poking around) and then driving all the way back, I figured I wouldn’t run at all. Then two things changed my mind.

The first was that it not only stopped raining in the afternoon, but the temperature began to rise. I was walking over to pick up dinner (having no energy to cook, I’d decided) and was marvelling over how it was now 60 degrees at 7:30pm and what a great evening it was turning out to be… and then I saw him. The Perfect Runner. Seriously, folks, there’s no other way to describe him. It was a guy out for an evening run in a sleeveless white running shirt and black shorts, and an absolutely perfect body. And as he effortlessly glided by (and I tried not to trip over my own feet as I stared in awe), I suddenly felt fat and lazy and lame.

So I went home, put my dinner aside on the counter, and got dressed to go running.

Except, of course, I was still tired. So while I had 2-, 3-, and 4-mile routes mapped out, as I finished up the first mile I was already starting to feel seriously pooped. And by the time I got back to my starting point (at which point I could’ve gone out for a third or fourth mile) I was ready to drop. Good intentions and inspiration can only take you so far when you’re just plain wiped out. So I decided two miles was better than nothing and stopped. (8:15, 9:10) Now at first I was feeling a little less than thrilled, both in terms of pooping out after just two miles, as well as having a less than spectacular second mile. Then I remembered that I used to run 2-milers for my weekday runs back in 2001, only I would finish each mile in (yikes) 16:30. And I’d just run two in 17:25, and without needing to stop and walk. So while it wasn’t my best day, it was still good. And now I’m really quite happy with that indeed.

I have really got to remember to get a new battery for the watch half of the GPS unit tomorrow, though.

The Passion Of The Greg

Start time: 04/15/06, 8:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 8 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 11:00min/mile

I went out running with last year’s training group on Saturday (the day before Easter, thus the thoroughly unwitty subject for this entry); it was a large group, with me, Julie, Ali, Alma, Carla, Craig, Katie, Mark, Randy, and Craig’s brothers Jeff and Scott. We headed out slow, and halfway through mile two we had several people hit a bathroom break, so we were off to a slow start. (12:09, 12:24) Before long we got our groove, and miles 3-6 involved a bunch of speeding up by the group. (11:04, 11:27, 10:42, 10:30) The group had started to stretch apart around the end of that stretch, though, and around mile 6.5 there was a sudden shuffle at the front and Katie was about 75 feet ahead of everyone else while the people she was running with had suddenly started dropping back quickly. I had been content to stay with the main part of the group (for me the run was as much social as it was exercise since aside from Julie I won’t be training with any of them this year) so Jeff and I ran ahead and caught her and took the last part of it in. (10:17, 9:19)

What can I say, Katie’s fast. It still amazes me to this day that she did not utterly crush me at the marathon (like she did at the Cherry Blossom 10-miler). I’m just happy that half of the time I can keep up with her, or alternately that she humors me by letting me think so!

Back in the saddle

Start time: 04/12/06, 6:15pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: 10:14min/mile

No run for me on Monday or Tuesday, alas. After Sunday’s run I felt good… up until the part where we sat down and had lunch. When I stood back up my left calf muscle was all cramped up and sore. I took it easy for the next two days and used The Stick on it a lot, and on Wednesday all seemed good enough to run again. Julie kicked out a faster-than-normal second mile (9:55, 9:49, 10:44, 10:25), which was a little entertaining because the second we did all I could think was that mile 3 would be longer as a result. (Normally we hit the second mile marker about 10-15 seconds into a walk break. Hitting the marker before the walk break began meant that we had two full walk breaks waiting for us in dreaded mile 3.) It was a nice run, though, and it felt good to get back out there. I was going to report that my calf is completely back to normal but about half an hour it mysteriously was sore again. Although now it’s not. Huh.

Since I’m going to be away on Saturday and Sunday I was thinking that I might just plan on running Friday and Monday mornings, but we’ll see what my legs are saying to me later tonight and tomorrow morning. If more rest is required, so be it!

Scouting out the new territory

Start time: 04/09/06, 10:00am
Location: Waterside and National Mall
Distance: 8 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: ~10:30min/mile

Since the new AIDS Marathon season starts in a month, and this year I’m a site assistant at the Waterside location, I figured it would be a good thing to get to know the area. This, in no small part, because I’ve never actually been there before aside from visiting a friend that used to live around there. I shanghaied grok and made him show me around the area. It went really nicely, despite huge crowds on the National Mall. Lots of dodging of people, sudden detours and loop arounds, and such, but still really enjoyable. It’s fun to run in a new neck of the woods, especially one as iconic as the monuments area of DC. I’ve never actually run down there aside from in a race, so it was nice to do so in a relaxed state of mind.

“It’s that damn third mile!”

Start time: 04/05/06, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: 10:18min/mile

The subject line was a direct quote from Julie upon finishing. Once again, our pattern held true on mile splits (9:53, 10:14, 10:41, 10:22). This was also the first run since the race, and I am thoroughly impressed with Julie; not only had she jumped from 6 to 10 miles for the race, but she was still game for running on Wednesday and with no backsliding. I think she’s going to surprise herself immensely by the time training starts in June. She’s much faster than she thinks she is.

A thoroughly pleasant Cherry Blossom 10-miler

Start time: 04/02/06, 8:00am
Location: Washington DC
Distance: 10 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Finishing time: 1:32:38
Average pace: 9:16min/mile

I must admit that I had my doubts going into this race. Were my muscles really up to speed? Had my lack of sleep the past couple of nights (coupled with the return of Daylight Saving Time) doomed me? What about the dehydration that had happened all through Saturday thanks to something I ate clearly not agreeing with me? And what about Naomi?

Regardless of my doubts, I of course still ran the race. I met up at the Foggy Bottom metro station with Julie, Ali, Alma, Craig, John, Katie, Mark, Marty, and Randy and we all headed down to the race. Despite half of our group needing to use the port-o-potties, we still made into the corrals (and fortunately Ali, John, and Katie were all able to start with us despite being in a different corral; we went towards the back and they went towards the front) and were off before we knew it. Alma and Marty took off and were going to run the whole thing straight through; knowing that I’d poop out partway through I was more than a bit jealous!

Before too long it was just me, Craig, John, Katie, and Randy hoofing it together. The weather was gorgeous, though, and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. So rare considering the past two years the race has been sub-Arctic complete with icy cold winds, and the blossoms have long since departed. My watch said 59:01 as I went over the 10K marker, which I was less than thrilled about, since my 10K PR from last May was a minute faster and I figured I’d have a faster pace for this race. It didn’t dissuade me, though, and our run through Rock Creek Park was great since its out-and-back means we can see other people ahead and behind us. I passed my friend Cal right at the turn-around, and we began the trek back towards the finish line.

Somewhere around mile 8.5, Katie took off (and power to her!), even as I was losing speed and John was nowhere to be found. I focused on my final walk break with the knowledge that I had just 1.5 miles to go, and tried to keep up with Randy and Craig. The two of them began to slip away from me around mile 9.5, and it took every ounce of energy I had left to “rubber band” off of Craig even as Randy continued to pull ahead. I barely passed Craig about 100 feet before the finish line, but Randy had already crossed over. My finishing time was a 1:32:38 which gave me a 9:16min/mile, faster than the Half Marathon. That made me super happy. The splits were slightly more erratic this time (9:44, 9:20, 10:00, 9:08, 9:30, 9:23, 9:23, 8:52, 9:16, 7:56) and I have no idea what the heck happened at mile 3, but all in all, a very good race indeed, smashing last year’s time of 1:49:02.

Phew! I’m glad I’ve got no more short races in April, though. (Just two more in May—a 5K and a 10K—and that’s it for the spring season!)

Oh, and my statistics for the Cherry Blossom (and its ludicrous “20-39” age group):

2004: 2235/2242 (99th percentile)
2005: 2132/2290 (93rd percentile)
2006: 1955/2873 (68th percentile)

EDIT: Although bizarrely, there’s also a listing if I go to for a 30-34 grouping, but not if I go to the Cherry Blossom site. I guess Cherry Blossom doesn’t believe in those stats even though they were provided. For my amusement and records, though, it was 585/871 (67th percentile). Heh.