Monthly Archives: August 2006

Knowing when to stop

Start time: 08/29/06, 7:00pm
Location: Clarendon and the Custis Trail
Distance: 3.75 miles
Average pace: 9:40min/mile

This was just another one of those “I’m not feeling it” runs. Chris and I were both struggling a bit today, and it was hard to say why. Still coming off my 14-miler from two days ago? Thick humidity? Strange planetary alignments? The only thing for certain was that things weren’t going well. I finally decided to stop half a mile from the end and just walk home; my left thigh was starting to feel a little tight and sore. Now it’s probably not ITBS—no knee pain, no sharp pain, just soreness—but why risk it? I figured it was smarter to just throw in the towel a little early, even if it was only another 5 or so minutes straight uphill that I was sacrificing.

I need to go back through my journal again and figure out exactly when I got these shoes, though; I’m thinking it might be time for a new pair. It’s hard to say, though; I wish I’d been smart enough to have written down when I got the last pair. (I know it was after my trip to Florida at the start of March. And I think it might’ve been before the National (Half) Marathon. I’ll do some more research though and figure it out.) I was already planning on skipping Thursday because of having bloodwork for next week’s physical in the morning and book club in the evening, but I dunno… I might bypass my 7-mile recovery run as well. We’ll see. Right now a week off from running just sounds nice.

Oh, and then there’s the whole “new type of shoe” dilemma. The Beast has been working well for me, but I’ve had several people (including Zen Running Guru Rick Weber whose opinion I trust very much) suggest getting a lighter shoe, and to be fair I was recommended the Beast back when I was 60 pounds heavier. But do I want to mess with something that’s been working? Hmmmmmm. Things to think about.

Oh yeah: 71 miles for the month of August, the highest total so far for 2006, narrowly beating out March with its 69 miles thanks to having a half marathon in there. Woohoo!

The Game of Attrition

Start time: 08/27/06, 7:00am
Location: Downtown Washington DC
Distance: 14 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: 9:48min/mile

We started off the run today with a whopping five runners; myself, Stephanie, Emma, Chris S., and Rick. Or, as we joked at one point, “four staff members and a participant.” We lost Chris four mies in, but that was actually to be expected because he’d only planned on running eight miles. Up through this point we were all going pretty strong, despite it being a muggy, humid sort of morning once we’d left the waterfront area. We began to lose a bit of momentum after that, though. The weather was dragging us down, but it seemed like something more as well. Just one of those runs where partway through you realize that (unlike my 12-miler two weeks ago) you aren’t going to be able to just power through it like there’s no tomorrow.

About six and a half miles in (on the Capital Crescent Trail) Stephanie started to slow down a bit and offered to wait for the next group to come back. She’s coming off of a bad cold and all things considered was being a real trooper when she wasn’t really back up to her full capacity. Since Emma and I were going to mark the turn-around on the trail, we zipped up the last half mile, chalked all over the place, and let Rick and Stephanie catch us there. From there we headed back, but Stephanie soon decided (wisely) that she really just needed to drop back a bit. She and Rick decided to run together until a slower group caught us, so Emma and I continued onwards.

Except, of course, we were starting to fade as well. We pushed each other through as best we could, and I knew I was starting to warm up when I first welcomed a water volunteer pouring water on my head, and then ended up taking my shirt off for the last mile and a half. These are the End Times, people. Once we finished up, though, we got word that a runner needed locating on the Capital Crescent Trail, so after grabbing half a banana we threw Emma’s bike into my car and headed up to Thompson’s Boathouse so she could start biking in from there. Naturally, no sooner did we get there than the runner resurfaced… phew! That was a real relief.

So, a tough run for everyone involved. I don’t think anyone (except for maybe Rick, super-runner-extraordinaire) in our group had a “great” run by any stretch of the imagination. But we all finished, and we all made the right choices, and I’m quite pleased with that.

You’re soaking in it!

Start time: 08/24/06, 7:00pm
Location: Old Town Alexandria and the Mount Vernon Trail
Distance: 5.1 miles
Average pace: 8:42min/mile

No, that’s not a typo. It was back to the “old” course (which I’d only done once before) with the Pacers Alexandria group, and Sonia was leading the “9-to-9:30-group.” Well, it was her birthday and she was definitely proving that aging does not make you slower! I’m not complaining, I really enjoyed the workout despite the fact that it made me even sweatier than normal. On the way out we kept feeling hot winds blowing off the Potomac River and we kept thinking a storm was en route. By the end, I certainly looked like I’d been hit by a rainstorm, but no… it was just my body being disgusting as always. (The subject line being the answer to the rhetorical question I wanted to ask as to where the storm went.)

It was a great run, though. We got hit by one or two lights on the way back and I thought I was losing my momentum each time, but it was all good. (9:02, 8:38, 8:36, 8:45, 8:36, and (not even sure why I’m recording this) a 7:25avg for the .1 miles at the end. Too silly!) I feel really good for this Sunday’s 14-miler, hopefully I’ll have someone to run it with. Chris S said he’s going to probably come out and run 4 miles of it with me before turning around, so that’s better than nothing. I’m going to see if I can get Chris McC (provided he’s all healed up) to see how he feels about slumming at my pace and distance for Sunday. Since he’s been sidelined for a bit, I’m thinking it may have a bit of allure to it…

Oh yeah, and afterwards a bunch of us went to Tiffany Tavern down King Street and got a beer. Woohoo! Carb up!


Start time: 08/22/06, 7:00pm
Location: Clarendon and the Custis Trail
Distance: 4.25 miles
Average pace: 9:25min/mile

Once more into the breach… and by breach, I mean HILLMANIA. Why do I keep running this route on Tuesday? Must be the stellar company. (Ok, that and since my long run route is pretty much hill-free, it’s my only chance to get some good hill work in.) Today seemed tougher than normal; it was only around 90 degrees so I’m not sure what the big deal was, but I pushed through as best as I could. Another 9:25min/mile average when it was all said and done. Somehow those hills always make it feel like I was trying to run it a minute or two per mile faster… phew. Still, not bad progress since I first hit this course, especially when I look at my average times:

May 23rd: 9:57
June 13th: 10:17
July 11th: 10:36
July 25th: 9:24
Aug 8th: 9:27
Aug 22nd: 9:25

Now I just need to start shaving off some time…

A brisk 6-miler

Start time: 08/20/06, 7:00am
Location: Downtown Washington DC
Distance: 6 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: 9:18min/mile

It was another recovery run this weekend, which was fine by me; I’d had a long day yesterday between our MCM participants’s 20-miler and the margaritas-and-Snakes on a Plane expedition. No Stephanie again (I think she may have dropped out at this point, but am hoping not!) but Chris S. had mentioned on Thursday that he wanted a 6-miler this weekend so I talked him into showing up. It was a good run; a little warm and humid, but we kept to a good pace and knocked the miles out pretty quickly (9:30, 9:20, 9:15, 9:43, 9:05, 8:59). Then it was time for a banana, an orange slice… and going back home where I took a shower and climbed back into bed. Ahhhhhh.

No Food, No Stitch, No Fuel

Start time: 08/15/06, 7:30am
Location: Arlington Boulevard Trail
Distance: 3.75 miles
Average pace: 9:03min/mile

I won’t be able to run with the Pacers group today (Mom’s birthday!) so instead I decided to pick up a few miles this morning. It went pretty well, aside from having no “pre-run breakfast” food available, so I stupidly went without. I could feel the lack of fuel by the end, so I was glad I’d decided to go a short distance this morning. On the bright side, no stitch in the side at all, so clearly less food before running is now the secret, even though last year it was the other way around. Oh well, if it works, it works. And I picked up some oatmeal on the way into the office this morning as to be better prepared for this weekend.

There and back again.

Start time: 08/13/06, 7:00am
Location: Downtown Washington DC
Distance: 12 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: 9:30min/mile

What a beautiful, beautiful day to run. Nice cool temperatures (in August? In DC???) and the hint of a breeze. Ahhhhhhh. There was no Stephanie again today, but I ran with our AIDS Marathon site rep Emma, which was a lot of fun. We kept each other very much on pace, and a lot of our miles were actually in the 9-to-9:15 range. Once you add in three water stops and stopping to talk to poufsouffle (and her two adorable dogs!), our average was a 9:30 for the day, but we were actually moving at quite a clip. It was great to get to just talk with Emma and get to know her.

Even better, hitting the 12-mile part of the route meant that I finally got to bridge the gap in my knowledge of the course; I know it all the way up to Thompson’s Boathouse, and from Key Bridge on up the Capital Crescent Trail, but not in-between. Running along the Georgetown Waterfront was just beautiful, a real way to rouse one’s spirits. (Although running under the Whitehurst Freeway stinks a tiny bit only because it’s hard to get a GPS signal with all the concrete above us and all. At least it’s just a small stretch.) I’d had a long day on Saturday and then not gotten nearly enough sleep, so it felt great to not only really hit the course moving good, but our last four miles were 9:27, 9:47 (with a water stop), 9:12, and 9:10. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. Excellent.

EDITED TO ADD: I almost forgot… the last couple times I went running I ended up with a slight stitch in my side. When this cropped up back in 2005, I found that eating a little more oatmeal for breakfast (two packets instead of one) solved the problem. This morning, I only had one packet because I’d forgotten to add it to the grocery list and that was all that remained. And while running… no stitch! Hmmmm. Maybe now I need less food in the tummy instead of more? Or should I just stick with my original plan of starting back up crunches to strengthen those muscles? (Well, I should do that anyway.) Maybe it was the magical power of eating some Sports Beans (from Jelly Belly, they taste like crystalized Gatorade and are delicious) instead? Clearly this requires more research.

“Tut tut, it looks like rain.”

Start time: 08/10/06, 7:00pm
Location: Old Town Alexandria and the Mount Vernon Trail
Distance: 4.75 miles
Average pace: 9:02min/mile

As I was driving home from work, I kept thinking, “If it starts pouring, I’m not going to the run tonight.” When I got home and changed, it still looked like rain… but none was forthcoming. Finally I grabbed a hat and decided that if I didn’t bring a hat (to shield my glasses from the rain) it would pour, but if I brought one and wore it, we’d all be spared. Sure enough… no rain, just me with a sopping wet hat (and it’s even made out of those tech fabrics) and a reminder why I hate wearing hats while running. Sweat city.

The course for the Thursday run in Old Town changed since the last I was here, due to part of the route being closed off while the old Wilson Bridge is torn down. The new route was a little shorter, and runs by a lot of businesses in the area (and more traffic lights, boo) but still nice and flat unlike my Tuesday runs. It was a nice run, too; even with one or two brief pauses to cross the road we got a 9:02 min/mile pace for the 4.75 miles (9:14, 9:07, 8:57, 9:15, 6:22). I also finally gave the heartrate monitor a try and it seems that my average heart rate was 160bpm (and splits of 149, 160, 160, 165, and 165). I have no idea what this means but with some research hopefully that’ll all get sorted. Still, a very good run!

Return to weekday runs

Start time: 08/08/06, 7:00pm
Location: Clarendon and the Custis Trail
Distance: 4.25 miles
Average pace: 9:27min/mile

This run was a little more inconsistent in terms of splits than my last run through (9:02, 10:16, 9:35, 9:09, 2:10), but I do have to remind myself how much hillwork I have waiting for me in that second mile. Still, considering that the last .75 miles is straight uphill and that last .25 pace was an 8:28 average… well, I’m really quite happy. Chris was back, and Pacers Kate (not to be confused with AIDS Marathon Katie) was back from two weeks ago as well. We had a couple of others draft off of us the whole way through, and a little disconcertingly I actually ended up finishing ahead of Chris by a bit; I somehow got Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” stuck in my head (?!?!?!?!) but by god did it work for motoring up those hills. It felt a little odd to not be drafting off of him or Darrell (who wasn’t there) for the end part, but it also felt good to push up without having to mentally latch onto others.

(Oh yeah. I meant to finally give the heartrate monitor a try this run. Guess what I forgot? Oops. I think I’m going to put the monitor inside one of my shoes to try and remember it for Thursday.)