Monthly Archives: July 2006

There’s no place like home

Start time: 07/29/06, 7:00am
Location: Downtown Washington DC
Distance: 10 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 7:1, then 6:1
Average pace: 9:30min/mile

I ran with the Saturday group this morning and… phew! Apparently there really is no place like home. One big problem was that the 9:00 group is really small, so the two groups apparently merge on a regular basis. The problem was, in the words of the coach at the site, “That group really runs between an 8:30 and 9:00 pace.” Turns out there’s someone else normally there that sort of takes the 9:30 part of the group under her wing, but wasn’t there. Yay. The good news is that Katie (from last Sunday) was there so the two of us ran together. The group was fast out of the gate and about two-and-a-half miles in we gave up on keeping up with them. So we had a perfectly good run together, although by the end I felt a little queasy and dehydrated; a combination of a Paula-Radcliffe-esque need for a bathroom break (thankfully unlike everyone’s favorite winner of the London Marathon, I hung onto my decorum for the last mile) and perhaps eating a little too much cookie dough while baking last night. Oops.

On the bright side, we’d been zooming enough at the beginning that even with slowing down a tiny bit for the end stretch, still a solid 9:30 pace. (And ultimately it was just an extra two minutes of walking at one point, and another brief walk break when I sucked down water into my windpipe. Whoops.) Very, very, very nice people at the Saturday site, but I think despite Sundays being just me and Stephanie most of the time I’ll take that. Definitely.

The hills are alive…

Start time: 07/25/06, 7:00pm
Location: Clarendon and the Custis Trail
Distance: 4.25 miles
Average pace: 9:24min/mile

With the heat not where it was a week ago, it was time for another after-work run with the Pacers group in Clarendon. And of course that means… hills!

So the first three times on this route, it kicked my butt in varying degrees (9:57min/mile; 10:17min/mile; 10:36min/mile). So today I headed out with Darrell, along with two new runners (Kate and Pam). It was nice to talk with Darrell for a bit, and the new runners down at the slow part of our spectrum did pretty well too. I just kept pushing, and while that final climb felt it was killing me (and Darrell pulled ahead a bit), I felt I was moving at a good clip. So then I pulled up my splits and… wahey! 9:14, 9:29, 9:28, 9:38, and for the fraction of the last mile an average of 8:52. I’m thrilled with this; not only because of a really good average for a really tough course, but how consistent my splits were. I’m utterly delighted. Yay!


Start time: 07/23/06, 7:00am
Location: Downtown Washington DC
Distance: 9 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: 9:30min/mile

What a nice run it was today! Yesterday was uncomfortably humid when I was out helping with the Marine Corps Marathon training program, so this was a real study in contrast; nice cool breezes, and while humid nowhere near as bad as yesterday. Stephanie couldn’t be there because of work, but Katie from the Saturday run group was there so I had someone else to run the 9:30s with. Additionally, the two members of the 10:00 group (Scott and Pary) decided to join us, which was nice for added company—especially because on Sundays when Stephanie can’t be there and no one else from the Saturday site shows up, I’ll be running with them anyway.

Anyway, it was a really good run. Katie was fun to talk to, the mileage just sort of whipped on by, and before we knew it we were done. Scott and Pary slowed down a little bit towards the end but seemed to still be in good spirits. And, since I’m going to probably run with the Saturday group this next weekend (afterwards I’ll be heading out of town for a mini-vacation) it’s good to know someone from that site. Best of all, we were really on pace for almost the entire thing, and perhaps most importantly towards the end. When I finished at the end, I thought to myself, “Yeah, it should be like that.” So yay!

“…and it’s 95 degrees in the shade…”

Start time: 07/18/06, 7:30am
Location: Arlington Boulevard Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: 9:50min/mile

Knowing that the DC area is in a super-scorcher heatwave at the moment, I wisely decided yesterday that I would not be running with the Pacers Tuesday Night group at 7pm. Ultra-hot + hills = dead Greg on the side of the trail. So, instead I went running before work. Still quite nasty out, but not as bad as it would’ve been after work.

I fiddled with my Garmin 301 this morning and set it for intervals to see how that worked out. It does a good job, but the one frustrating thing is that when I download the data it gives me only the breakdowns for the 6min and 1min laps, not the mile-laps that I’ve set it to do otherwise. Hmmmm. I think what I’ll just have to do if I need something to beep intervals at me and I want to use the Garmin is clip my regular watch around my water belt and let it handle the intervals while the Garmin does my mile-lap measurements.

Anyway, I did glance at the Garmin as I hit each mile or so (it helps to have a route you already know) and while I started to slow down a bit in miles 3-4, it was still a lot more consistent this morning than I’d been in a very long time out on my own. A much more graceful series of splits; if I had to guess I think it was something like 9:30, 9:30, 9:45, 10:30. That last mile I was feeling super overheated and made the conscious decision to slow down a little bit. Honestly, it was the hottest I’ve felt while running in a long while. An ice cold shower afterwards felt nothing short of heavenly.

If I run again before the weekend (which I’d like to) and if it’s still nasty out, it’ll be at the gym on a treadmill. Between the heat and “red” air-quality issues (my throat feels a little raw now, although nothing like a couple of years ago when I stupidly ran in the morning of a “purple” air quality day) it just seems stupid to do this again, even if I got up even earlier to do so. Thankfully the heat’s supposed drop a bit on Saturday and Sunday, which is good for our poor Marine Corps Marathon runners who have a 16-miler scheduled. (Good thing it’s also time for the pace slowdown, plus a 6am start time.)

Oozing my way across DC

Start time: 07/16/06, 7:00am
Location: Downtown Washington DC
Distance: 8 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: 9:53min/mile

Dang, it sure was sticky and humid this morning… everyone looked like moving puddles of sweat.

Stephanie was back so I ended up running with her. We were on pace for a lot, then definitely slowed down a bit at the end. No splits, alas, so I’ve got to go entirely based on my total time. Not quite up to par but considering the conditions and that last week at this time I was at an 11min/mile, I’m more than satisfied. Next week I might have to run with the 10min group since Stephanie may have to work, mind you, so we’ll see how that goes!

“There are worse things I could do.”

Start time: 07/13/06, 7:00pm
Location: Old Town Alexandria and the Mount Vernon Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Average pace: 9:24min/mile . . . sort of

When I got ready to leave my apartment today to (finally) try out the Old Town Alexandria location of Pacers’s group runs, I thought to myself, “It seems kind of nice outside. I won’t dig out the sleeveless shirt.” And then I also left the half-frozen bottle of water, thinking that yeah, it wasn’t that hot… right?

Ooooof. What was I thinking? Super hot, super humid. On the bright side, I kept a pretty good pace going with Chris. Technically I didn’t really get that pace; Chris, two other runners, and I stopped at the halfway point to refill our water bottles for about two minutes, and on the way back we missed two lights and were stuck for another three and a half minutes. So to be fair, those rest stops helped out a lot. And if I add back in all that time elapsed it’s really a 10:30min/mile pace. But it felt good to look at the little chart I downloaded off the Garmin and know that once I took out those points, I actually did a good job of maintaining a steady pace. Yay!

Looking quite forward to Sunday morning!

“You know that spring in my step I had last time we went running? It’s not there today.”

Start time: 07/11/06, 7:00pm
Location: Clarendon and the Custis Trail
Distance: 4.25 miles
Average pace: 10:36min/mile

I finally got back out to the Pacers group and it felt nice to do so. Well, despite the sweltering heat. When I left the house, the weather was saying it was 89 degrees, but that with the humidity it felt like 96 degrees. Eek. What was I thinking?

And yet, there I was. Chris was there as well, and the two of us headed out. The head of the run said that people could go up to 7 miles if they wanted, but we wisely stuck to the tried-and-true trail. The quote in the subject line was something said by Chris, but we pushed each other along. Considering how horrendously hilly (it’s out of control, to put it mildly) and hot it was, I felt like we did a good job. Add in that I’m still getting back up to speed, I consider my splits (9:18, 10:16, 11:39, 10:50, 2:30) not too bad at all. Only about 15 seconds off of last time.

Getting back up to speed

Start time: 07/09/06, 7:00am
Location: Downtown Washington DC
Distance: 7 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 11:00min/mile

Rick Carter: “Sounds like you’ve been doing everything right to get back from your injury.”
Me: “Yeah, but it’s still hard to accept slowing down for a bit.”
Rick: “So true!”

This morning actually went really well. Once I’d accepted on Friday morning that I couldn’t run in my 9:30 group (more on that shortly) and needed to slow down, my return to the training program was a breeze. I ran with the 11:00 group this morning; a little quiet but very nice. No alumni in the group, so I got questioned a bit on what it’s like to run a marathon (things like packet-pick-up, starting corrals, and sports gels). Really good people, and I wouldn’t mind running with them another week. I still haven’t figured out exactly what group I’m going to run in for the 8-miler…

…and therein lies the problem. When I ran the 4-miler, the fastest group was me and Stephanie as the 9:30 pace group. There were five or six people in the 10:00 group below us, and I was hoping that perhaps they’d merge with ours. Instead? I got there today and the fastest group I could definitively recognize as being one was the 10:30 group. No sign of Stephanie (who’d said she might be running on some Saturdays, but I wonder if me being out two weeks made her decide to shift there entirely) or anyone from the 10:00 group at all. Hmph. The 10:30 group had a whopping 3 people in it; while I’ve run in a small group (2002 in particular) I must admit that I’m happier with higher numbers.

Hopefully some of the 10:00 people will come back. Or perhaps once grok is back up to speed we could run together on Sundays? (I have no idea what his training pace will be, although I know he’s still a bit faster than I.) If not, I guess 10:30 will be it, which is a bit disappointing, but doable. Still, we’ll see. There’s a long training season ahead, who knows?