Monthly Archives: December 2006

How far can I go without walk breaks?

Start time: 12/30/06, 8:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 12 miles
Average pace: 9:15min/mile

My running buddy Craig (whom I trained with in 2005, and who did AIDS Marathon again in 2006) has been working on his new five-year plan to qualify for Boston (which in his 50-54 age-group is a 3:35). He’s been improving by leaps and bounds and I popped him an e-mail to see if he was running this Saturday, since next week he’s got the Disney World Marathon-And-A-Half Goofy Challenge. His response?

Will try to make it at 0800. Supposed to run 12. Will be running without taking a walk break. Will average 9:30-10:00 for 6 then shoot for 9:00 for the last six if I can take it!

Well, I love me a challenge. (Sometimes.) When I run with Pacers for 4-to-5.5 miles it’s without walk breaks, so I figured this shouldn’t be too much harder. And if it was, well, I’d bring my iPod along and prepare to run back the other six miles by myself. So, we met up on Saturday and headed out into a beautifully cool, foggy day. The way out went great; we settled into a groove pretty quickly and knocked out the front six right on schedule (9:50, 9:25, 9:34, 9:52, 9:37, 9:27) with only the Hill of Doom in the fourth mile slowing us down at all.

On the back six, we buckled down and at first said we’d be talking a little less. Well, that didn’t last, we kept talking but aside from the other side of the Hill of Doom (which is pure evil because it’s steep and long on both sides!) we once again stayed pretty true to form (9:01, 8:45, 9:10, 8:48, 8:51, 8:44).

The best thing? Well, aside from it being a really good run and more than doubling the longest distance I’d ever run without any walk breaks, it was knowing that if I’d added in another 8:50min/mile pace for an additional 1.1 miles? That would’ve meant a half marathon finishing time of 2:00:53. My current half marathon PR is a 2:06:08. Barring disaster and keeping my eyes on the prize, this upcoming year I should hopefully get a sub-2 hour half. Fingers crossed!

(Oh, and 2006’s mileage total is 650.75 miles. Nothing like last year’s 732.9, but with a combination of a month off due to injury and no 26-mile long run, I think that’s more than respectable. Bring on 2007!)

One final Pacers run for 2006

Start time: 12/28/06, 7:00pm
Location: Old Town Alexandria
Distance: 5.5 miles
Average pace: 8:48min/mile

Well, the plan was to get one last run in with Chris, Darryl, Sonia, and company down at Pacers tonight. The reality? None of them showed up! It was a tiny turn-out, less than ten people, the smallest I’ve ever seen in Alexandria. I ran with Guy, who I’m pretty sure is a faster runner than I am for this sort of thing. The way out down Eisenhower Avenue we did good, a 23:32 time for the 2.75 mile course. On the way back I had a nasty stitch in my side that simply wouldn’t go away (ugh) and we slowed down a tiny bit with a 24:53 time. Still, an 8:48min/mile average, which isn’t too bad. Considering how much bad-for-Greg food that was eaten over the last week, I’ll take it!

Desperately Seeking Negative Split

Start time: 12/23/06, 8:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 5 miles & 5 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 4:1/3:1 & 7:1
Average pace: 11:13min/mile & 9:20min/mile

Human Pyramid!I headed out this morning for another round with my 2005 group; the plan was I’d run five miles out with Carla, Chanty, and Randy, before taking the second five miles back by myself at a faster pace. The way out was a nice warm-up, although Carla hadn’t been able to run for a couple of weeks and was definitely feeling it. She and Chanty decided to slow down for the last mile before we split off (a little early, in fact), which was fine by me. Randy offered to run back with me, so we started getting rolling but a little slowly; a 9:53, and then (yikes) a 10:38. The nice thing is that we automatically picked it up at that point without having to say anything, pushing up to a 9:22 and then deciding to take the next mile even faster: a 7:43. The last mile was a 9:04 (Randy was feeling the burn) which was still a good way to end the run.

And then, having gone crazy, Randy and our friend Katie (who had run with Julie) decided that since it was “red and black” day the three of us should pose for a picture. And that picture involved a human pyramid of sorts.

No, I don’t get it either. And yet this is why I must run with them! You never know why you’re going to otherwise miss out on a pyramid making session.

Oh yes, and lest I forget… no knee strap, no pain. I’ll keep one in my water belt for a couple of months just to be certain, but I think (knock on wood) that my knee strap days are finally over.

Yet another Pacers Alexandria Route

Start time: 12/21/06, 7:00pm
Location: Old Town Alexandria
Distance: 5.16 miles
Average pace: 9:03min/mile

I am starting to lose track of how many Old Town Alexandria routes I have, now. This one was pretty scenic, though; a lot of running down on Union Street, which is the last cross street in Old Town before the water, and where things like the Torpedo Factory are located. Lots of holiday lights up too; wish I’d had a camera. It was nice to run with Darryl and Sonia again; Darryl really pushes me a bit and I’m always feeling great by the end of the run and at a really good clip, too. Not out of breath or anything, but I feel like I had a good workout that gets me pretty jazzed up.

(No knee strap, no problems. Yay! No GPS either. Oops! It doesn’t help me much sitting on my desk. I think I mapped the route out correctly, and the distance matches up with what I was told: “Five and change.”)


Start time: 12/19/06, 7:00pm
Location: Clarendon and the Custis Trail
Distance: 4.25 miles
Average pace: 9:52min/mile

Ok, apparently my lack of regularly running Clarendon means when I do so once a month, it’s about 20-25 seconds off pace. Clearly I need more hill work. Or something. Ugh. (No knee strap again, no problems. Yay!)

Taking it nice and easy

Start time: 12/16/06, 8:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 10 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 4:1
Average pace: 10:50min/mile

This Saturday I ran with some of my old running group from 2005: Ali, Chanty, and Randy. They were planning on running a 10-miler at their 11min/mile pace, and with coming off of a cold this sounded perfect to me; get the distance in but also not kill myself by jumping right back to my old speed like I did on Tuesday. It worked like a charm; it was super-comfortable to run at the reduced pace with them, and at the end I felt like I was getting back into the swing of things. We’ll see how Tuesday’s run in Clarendon pans out, mind you.

(Craig was knocking out a long run before the Disney Marathon at a 9:30 pace and it was awfully tempting to try and run part of it with him, but I knew better. Maybe next week when he’s got a shorter distance and I’m back up to speed, though.)

“Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

Start time: 12/11/06, 2:00pm
Location: North Arlington (Clarendon, Courthouse, Rosslyn)
Distance: 3.4 miles
Average pace: 8:47min/mile

Today’s run is best defined by absence rather than presence. Sans GPS, sans iPod/headphones, sans knee strap, sans knee pain, sans endurance.

The plan (since I had taken a day off, and the weather was so nice) was to just head on out and run and not worry about speed. I also figured I would give running without the knee strap for the first time in years a whirl; it’s been long enough since the mortifying dancing injury that it should be fine. The good news is that the knee did feel fine, which is a relief. On the other hand, I was certainly huffing and puffing by the time I was done. I ended up calling it “good enough” by the time I hit Courthouse Road; it was just about half an hour and that’s what I was looking for more than distance anyway. (I’d mapped out a 4-mile route in case all went well.) Taking a week off after a bad cold stinks, and trying to run after the cold is finally gone stinks too, but it was good to get out there… even if afterwise I actually ended up sitting down on a hillside and caught my breath when I was done. Lung capacity, why hast thou forsaken me?

(Subject line courtesy… oh, look it up yourself. But this final line to a very famous speech was running through my head as I hoofed it up and down the streets of Arlington.)

Back in the saddle

Start time: 12/03/06, 8:00am
Location: Downtown Washington DC
Distance: 8 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1
Average pace: 9:38min/mile

This was the last 8-miler for the Honolulu Marathon participants, so I went by the run site and hoofed it out and back with Katie. (Stephanie was supposed to be there as well but ended up unable to make it down from an engagement in Gettysburg.) It was nice to get out there and just hit the pavement with Katie, chatting about this and that. After the crappy second half of the Firenze Marathon, this felt great.

A week later…

Start time: 11/26/05, 9:00am
Location: Firenze Marathon
Distance: 26.2 miles
Finishing time: 4:46:48
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1 through mile 20, then… not so much
Average pace: 10:57min/mile

I unfortunately don’t have lots of mile splits like last year, thanks to the GPS having a minor fit somewhere along the way (apparently I ran a 25.5 mile marathon), which probably was in no small part thanks to narrow windy alleys and streets winding through parts of Florence. I do, however, have some splits available.

Distance Segment Time Segment Pace Overall Time Overall Pace
5K 30:39 9:53 30:39 9:53
10K 30:27 9:49 1:01:06 9:51
15K 30:57 9:59 1:32:03 9:53
13.1mi 37:28 9:52 2:09:31 9:53
25K 25:40 10:42 2:35:11 10:00
30K 35:22 11:25 3:10:33 10:13
35K 39:25 12:43 3:49:58 10:35
40K 39:38 12:47 4:29:36 10:51
26.2mi 17:12 12:44 4:46:48 10:57

Between 15K and 13.1mi is a 3.8 mile segment.
Between 13.1mi and 25K is a 2.4 mile segment
Between 40K and 26.2mi is a 1.35 mile segment

It should be a surprise to no one at all that it was around the 25K mark that Susan and I fell behind Tod and Dana. It is always interesting to see where some places where I felt I was still decreasing in speed was in fact consistent) if slow, essentially everything past the 30K mark (or 18.64 miles). Ah well, it’s always good to know where everything went wrong, as well as where one was pretty darn on the ball. There’s a lot I need to work on for next year. But hey, still a PR. So that’s definitely something. But it is frustrating to look at, say, my 20-miler from earlier this year and know that I did the entire thing at a solid 10min/mile pace that I could’ve done even faster towards the end of if necessary!