Monthly Archives: June 2008

Out and About

Start Time: 6/15/08, 8:00am
Location: Arlington, Washington DC
Distance: 7.5 miles
Average Pace: 10:08min/mile
Total Miles For June: 34 miles

Laura and I met up with Emma, Donna, Susannah, and someonewhosenameIcan’tremember for a planned 8-miler (or so) on Sunday. It was a group of varying speeds, so we decided we’d just take it easy. We had a walk break request, so on each mile we took a minute walk break and then trucked on. It was nice—we started at Iwo Jima, ran past Memorial Bridge down the 14th Street Bridge, then around a slice of the Tidal Basin and by the Lincoln Memorial before heading up into Georgetown, onto part of the Capital Crescent Trail, then over Key Bridge and through Rosslyn. Donna, Susannah, and the other person (sorry!) slowed down after a bit, but Laura, Emma, and I trucked through to the end. It all went really well…

…well, until we hit Rosslyn and Laura tripped on the curb and wiped out pretty spectacularly. From the sound of the thud, Emma and I were convinced she’d broken something, but thankfully it was just a scrape. Still, that was the end of the run for that day! Otherwise, though, it was a nice run with good company.

Kill Your Partner

Start Time: 6/14/08, 7:00am
Location: Washington-Lee High School
Distance: 1 mile & ~3.5 miles
Total Miles For June: 26.5 miles

Oops! I almost forgot to put last weekend’s entries in here…

For our last spring session (the summer ones begin on June 28th), Fred introduced us to the horror that is “Kill Your Partner”. We were put into groups of 2-4 runners based on ability, then were sent out on the track with one person taking the lead at a fast clip and the others trying to keep up. This would go on from anywhere between 30 seconds and 3 minutes, at which point Fred would blow his whistle and we’d slow to a jog for the same amount of time that we’d just run. Then the whistle would sound again, and the next person would take the lead, once again for that undetermined amount of time that only Fred would know, and so on.

My group started with me, Paul, Emma, and Courtney. Now, I know that Emma and Paul are both faster than me, and Courtney’s got some real strength behind her, so I was feeling a little uneasy about this run. I was person #4, and with Paul being #3 I remember thinking that for my turn it would be all I could do to not just die. As it is, after my round, Courtney dropped back to the next group, saying we were going too fast. Suddenly I felt very, very alone in my relative slowness to them… I kept up with Emma and Paul for almost the entire exercise; on the second-to-last round, though, I started dropping back, about 100 meters behind them. As it was, on the last round the same thing happened to Emma as Paul zoomed off into the sunset. Yeah, he’s fast. We did it for 30 minutes, and I certainly felt like I got a good, if really hard, workout. Not knowing how long the bursts are going to last? That’s hard for me. Something to work on.

Make or Break, Level II: The Air-Conditioned Edition

Start Time: 6/10/08, 6:45am
Location: Thomas Jefferson Community Center
Distance: 2 miles & 6 miles
Average Pace: 10:08min/mile & 7:57min/mile
Total Miles For June: 22 miles

Slight break in my running since last Tuesday, alas. On Thursday I ended up helping friends unpack their moving van instead, and I decided that was a good enough leg workout (the new place was on the third floor). Friday through Sunday, not only was I out of town but more importantly one of my calf muscles felt really tight; probably from all those stairs while moving heavy stuff. Since the temperature outside was boiling on the weekend, a lack of running didn’t bother me. Monday was rowing and elliiptical, and so today was back to the grind.

With the potential for triple-digit temperatures, coupled with my still vivid memories of what it’s like to run on a particularly bad air quality day (it was admittedly code purple instead of today’s red, but it felt like I’d been gargling with glass for the next three days) and I opted to run on the indoor track at the gym. It’s not ideal, but it meant I got it done. I started the first set a little fast out of the gate, but quickly adjusted. The second set seemed to go by a bit easier, in part because there was someone else on the track that I was passing every quarter mile or so that had made encouraging comments. So often I do better with an audience. (That, and going about 13 seconds per mile slower.)

Certainly a better job overall on maintaining than last week, though!

Warm-Up: 10:24
Set #1: 7:40, 7:58, 7:53 (7:50)
Set #2: 8:05, 8:01, 8:05 (8:03)
Cool-Down: 9:52

Make or Break, Level II

Start Time: 6/3/08, 7:00am
Location: Arlington Boulevard Trail
Distance: 2 miles & 6 miles
Average Pace: 10:17min/mile & 8:18min/mile
Total Miles For June: 14 miles

Today’s schedule offered some variety in terms of “Make or Break” runs. Up until now it’s just been 2x2miles, but in addition to opening up another “Level I” workout (3x2miles), other options were from the Level II workouts (2x3miles and 3x3miles). I decided it was time to belly up to the plate and try one of the tougher-looking ones, so 2x3miles was the winner. Because I was going to run on the Arlington Boulevard Trail, I decided the best option was to make both sets the same route. So mile 1 would be running west and uphill, mile 2 is east and downhill, and then mile 3 is half of each. (I’d turn around halfway and head back early.)

Round 1 wasn’t too bad — I knew the first mile would be the toughest (especially that final quarter mile climb) and I was a little bit tired at the end, but ultimately a victory (8:30, 7:50, 8:07). I stretched a little bit, decided it was enough recovery time, and headed back out. OOF. I didn’t feel like I had lost too much ground at first, but that sure caught up with me by the end. (8:41, 8:08, 8:30) Clearly I will need to work on this a bit!

Then again, when I did this workout last week (only just at 2x2mi) my average was 8:14min/mile, and this was 8:18… so, not too bad, I guess.

Giving Mt. Vernon another try

Start Time: 6/1/08, 10:30am
Location: Mount Vernon Trail
Distance: 2 miles & 4 miles
Pace: 10:03min/mile & 8:29min/mile
Total Miles For June: 6 miles

It’s been a long time since I’ve run on the Mount Vernon Trail; I gave it a try once and really hated it. Too many bicycles that whipped by without any warning, really narrow sections of the trail, and generally speaking a big headache. But it’d been almost three years, and I figured I should give it another shot, if only for variety’s sake. My plan was to drive over to Roosevelt Island early, while there’s still parking, and head out from there. Unfortunately I was so tired this morning I slept in a couple of extra hours, and I knew it was going to be a humid day. But, it was only 10:30, so despite the lack of shade, I decided to give it a try instead of diverting back over to Rock Creek.

All things said, it wasn’t bad. It’s still got a lot of cyclists who think it’s ok to not warn people they’re about to pass (trust me, I had no headphones on, I would’ve heard a bell or a “passing!” from them), but there were enough that understood how things are done that it wasn’t too bad. (I was a little horrified that I only saw one cyclist actually get off their bike and walk it through the two sections where the signs say as much, because of the path being incredibly narrow at that point. It’s an accident waiting to happen.) It was supposed to be another 5-7 mile run (including the warm up and cool down miles at either end) and I made it as far as the airport (3 miles in) before deciding I was going to turn around while I still could. (There are some parts around there where there’s no shoulder.)

The way I was definitely huffing and puffing a bit, and (so far as I can tell) with no uphill grade as an excuse. Ah well, that’s why I’m doing these, to get better at this. Not to bad, all in all. Perhaps the most important thing was that knowing it would be warm, I threw out my pride and wore a racerback tank top that I’d gotten from Pacers. I felt very silly afterwars when I stopped at Giant to get a drink, but otherwise? Not so bad. So maybe I’ll keep from baking this summer. We’ll see.

Finding Pace

Start Time: 5/31/08, 7:00am
Location: Washington-Lee High School
Distance: 1 mile & 4x1200m
Pace: 9:30min/mile & 7:02min/mile
Total Miles For May: 55 miles

(Oops! I actually wrote half of this entry yesterday. Then the power went out briefly due to a thunderstorm and I just this morning remembered I didn’t finish it. I’m normally even later with this sort of thing but darn it, I was on time for a change.)

The idea for our latest workout was to run three laps around the track, and to stay on pace throughout the entire run. So at each lap you can gage how you’re doing, and try and get back on track. That’s when Emma and I learned two important things. First, if I run behind Emma, I find myself speeding up a tiny bit to stay on track with her even though she is going faster than I. And second, if Emma runs in front of me, she starts speeding up a bit to try and stay in the lead. Finally on the last one, she stayed about five paces behind me (and “concentrated on [my] shoes”) and lo and behold, perfect pacing. Go figure. (5:15, 5:20, 5:14, 5:16)