Monthly Archives: August 2008


Start Time: 8/30/08, 6:40am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 20 miles
Average Pace: 10:05min/mile
Total Miles For August: 93 miles

Crappy, crappy run. The first half was not bad, but I ran out of gas—big time—in the second half. Had Fred or Kathy (at the 16.5 mile water stop) said, “Do you want a ride back?” I would have taken it. Regretted it later, sure, but oh yeah. Totally taken it.

Considering I was feeling tired, lithless, and generally sick from Wednesday night through Friday night, well, I suppose this really shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Doubly so because what was to have been our water stop at mile 13.5, the Vienna Community Center, was closed due to the holiday. Had I stopped there on the way out (making it mile 12.5) I would have been ok because there was a water fountain right before the turn-around. But of course, I hadn’t checked it, and in retrospect I should’ve turned around and hoofed the extra half mile back to the water fountain. So it was just me and my water bottle between miles 9.5 and 16.5.

Honestly, I’m just glad I finished; that was a major victory in its own right.

Oh, and PowerBars? Have an expiration date. I had one I had kept for an emergency, and sure enough this morning I remembered that I’d forgotten on Friday to pick up some more gels. So the emergency PowerBar came with me, and when I took a bite… it was horrible. It tasted like ashes, honestly. I’m not a big fan of PowerBars to begin with, but this was one of the few flavors I could tolerate. Bleah. Needless to say it went into the trash. Lessons learned!

Nice “easy” run?

Start Time: 8/26/08, 7:40pm
Location: Clarendon Neighborhood
Distance: 3.1 miles
Average Pace: 8:28min/mile
Total Miles For August: 73 miles

The plan was to run an easy three miles around the neighborhood, in the form of a loop that’s just a little bit over 1 1/2 miles. It’s gorgeous outside tonight, and I just felt myself gliding easily down the road. Well, it wasn’t until I finished (the GPS agreed with the mapped route, saying two loops was 3.1 miles) that I discovered that I was going a wee bit faster than I expected. My total time was 26:20… my record for a 5K is 25:40. That’s all of 40 seconds different.

Good lord. Well, that was a nice surprise. A very nice surprise. It was my own little Twilight 5K, complete with beautiful red/purplish skies for the last mile. Great, great stuff. Didn’t feel tired or worn out, either.

9:00, 8:23, 8:13, 0:43 (.1 miles)

Excuses, Excuses

Start Time: 8/24/08, 8:50am
Location: Mount Vernon Trail
Distance: 6 miles
Average Pace: 8:49min/mile
Total Miles For August: 70 miles

A duplicate of Friday’s progressive run on the Mount Vernon Trail, except this time I was really struggling. Allergies from dog-sitting? Not enough sleep from said dog whining outside the door at midnight, 5am, and 7am? A hot sunny morning? (The temperature was actually lower than my Friday run’s was, but it felt hotter. Hmmm.) Or just a bad run? Oh well. I survived, I finished it, I more or less hit the times. Move on and stop coming up with excuses.

Splits: 9:24, 9:10, 9:01, 8:42, 8:36, 8:12

Progressively Early

Start Time: 8/22/08, 6:30pm
Location: Mount Vernon Trail
Distance: 6 miles
Average Pace: 8:49min/mile
Total Miles For August: 64 miles

Now, technically I was supposed to run this on Saturday (and then on Sunday another progressive run, or alternately a make-or-break run). So it was about 5 1/2 hours early. But I’m dogsitting starting Saturday afternoon until Tuesday, and I know the dog in question likes to get up early. Really early. So I figured Saturday morning might be my last chance to sleep in for a while!

Like before, the splits were supposed to be 9:30, 9:15, 9:00, 8:45, 8:30, 8:15. I wasn’t as dead-on the mark as last time, but since only one mile was too slow (and by all of four seconds) I am not complaining. My right ankle was a little stiff heading out, but by the time I got back it was all good. Oh, and why does no one actually walk their bike through the stretch of trail underneath Memorial Bridge? You know, that super-skinny section of the trail, with the huge signs on either side saying, “Dismount and walk your bike”? Today was a new one—a cyclist heading north slowed down, saw me halfway through the bridge, and then kept on riding. Trust me when I say there is not room for two people there. Ugh. What a jerk.

Splits: 9:29, 9:15, 9:04, 8:36 (oops), 8:27, 8:05 (eager to finish)

28 minutes of huh

Start Time: 8/21/08, 6:30am
Location: Thomas Jefferson Community Center Outside Track
Distance: 2 miles & ~3 miles
Total Miles For August: 58 miles

Ok, this is a little mortifying. I went to the outside track this morning and after my warm-up mile, ran the “28 minutes of hell” workout… and I lost track of how many laps I ran. I am pretty sure it was 6 laps (3 miles), but… um… you never know, right? It might have only been 5 laps. But I’m counting it as 6 laps. Hee hee hee.

18 and Out

Start Time: 8/16/08, 6:30am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 18 miles
Average Pace: 9:33min/mile
Total Miles For August: 53 miles

18! Always a good distance to hit, because to quote the old chestnut, “If you can run 18 miles, you can run a marathon.” It was a really small crowd, and most people were only running 13 miles—just me and Laura for the full 18. We were all of a mile and a half out when naturally, nature made a call. I told Laura to go on ahead, and then I hustled to catch her (which explains the jump in miles 2 and 3). The two of us kept going together, but at mile 5 Laura’s knee suddenly hurt very badly and suddenly. We paused for a few seconds, but it seemed to be fine. (Fortunately, at mile 5 we were also right by home base again.) Then, at mile 6.5 it happened again, so she turned around and walked the mile and a half back to start, while I headed on alone.

I picked up the pace a bit at that point (being by myself and all), and it felt really good. I ran out to the Vienna Community Center, filled up my water bottle, popped a salt packet (the sun had come out in full brightness) and then started heading back. Instead of helping, though, the salt packet just made my stomach feel horrible the whole way back. Ugh. To top it off, a combination of very mild dehydration* and not getting much sleep over the the past week caught up with me after I’d finished up mile 16, and the last two were a real struggle to finish. For both of them I ended up taking a walk break along the way to really regroup and get moving again, which helped a lot. Still, not bad otherwise. And I like to think that had I been running with anyone else for those last two miles, I’d have pushed a little harder. But I knew no one else from my group was out there, that portion of the trail was oddly empty, and I just didn’t care.

* — Even after drinking two bottles of water upon finishing, two freezie pops, and a little bit of my vanilla soy protein drink when I got home, the scale said that in-between leaving the house and then getting back I’d dropped 3.5 lbs. Yikes. That is a bit too much in terms of water loss. I think the cool start to the morning made me a little complacent about proper hydration, coupled with not enough Friday preparation.

9:50, 8:46, 8:58, 9:52, 10:06, 10:02, 9:25, 9:12, 8:56, 9:10, 9:18, 9:15, 9:07, 9:28, 9:17, 9:30, 10:44, 10:57

Win Some, Lose Some

Start Time: 8/13/08, 6:45am
Location: Wilson Boulevard
Distance: 3 miles
Total Miles For August: 35 miles

Today’s schedule (since I have no spinning class this week) said to run 8 hill repeats, plus a mile warm up and a mile cool down. So, feeling brave, I headed off to the massive hill on Wilson Boulevard near the retirement center. Oooooof. I’ve ran up that hill once before (towards the end of what I think was a 10- or 12-miler, it’s all a little hazy now) and it kicked my butt so bad I had to walk a portion of it. And it’s only an eighth of a mile long! Well, let me just say that I’m glad I had a good run yesterday, because this? Not a good run. After four repeats I called it quits; I thought about running a fifth repeat and actually felt sick to my stomach. Bleah.

Next week my goal will be to up the repeats to six, I think.

Progressive Goodness

Start Time: 8/12/08, 6:10pm
Location: Mount Vernon Trail
Distance: 6 miles
Average Pace: 8:48min/mile
Total Miles For August: 32 miles

My last attempt at a progressive run was seriously off-pace, never really hitting the times I was supposed to, always too fast or too slow. The idea is to start the first mile at a 9:30min/mile, then drop 15 seconds off each mile. I was originally going to run this on the W&OD trail, but on the way home the Mount Vernon Trail just looked so nice… so I took a detour and ran there. (Which turned out to be nice because during my warm-up walk down through the creaky bridge, I ran into canis_lupus_va on his way home from a bike ride, and we stopped and chatted for about ten minutes.)

The first mile was a little fast, but from that point on the GPS swears I hit all of my planned splits within 3 seconds. Hurrah! Much, much better. Having the GPS certainly helped out a lot; I needed them because the mile markers are nowhere near the Roosevelt Island parking lot and are only on the full mile, but it helped keep me on pace a lot more. Very, very nice. (But can I do a 8-mile version now? *gulp*)

Splits: 9:07, 9:13, 9:01, 8:42, 8:30, 8:13

Group Make or Break

Start Time: 8/9/08, 7:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 8 miles & 2 miles
Average Pace: 7:59min/mile & 10:05min/mile
Total Miles For August: 26 miles

Eeeek. Saturday brought a group make-or-break run, where you run about a minute per mile faster in four 2-mile stretches, with a recovery between each one. I was a little worried only because I’d really cramped my legs up good earlier in the week (I don’t know what I was thinking, wearing my running shoes four days in a row), but things seemed to be juuust about back to normal.

So, we ran a warm-up mile, and then started heading down the W&OD Trail. The first set was waaaay too fast for me, which could have spelled real doom considering that not only were there three more sets to go, but sets 2 and 4 are uphill (while 1 and 3 are downhill). Happily, I did get to adjust a bit and on the whole it wasn’t too bad. Not quite where I wanted to be (set #3 was the best), but not bad. Especially for the overall average, which was perfect, really.

As an added bonus, though, it was “familiar faces on the trail” day; Deborah and Archie were both out running, and Ryan was walking a friend’s dogs. Yay for that!

warm-up: 10:17
splits: (7:26 & 7:38), (8:15 & 8:14), (7:49 & 7:58), (8:06 & 8:30)
cool-down: 9:54

16 feels so long ago

Start Time: 8/2/08, 7:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 16 miles
Average Pace: 9:31min/mile
Total Miles For August: 16 miles

Oops. Totally forgot to log last Saturday’s 16-miler! It was a hot (but not scorching) day, and I set out with Laura and Other Laura (hereby referred to as Laura O., even though I have no idea what her last name really is). The first three miles went good; warmed up, got moving, a-ok with that. Early on in mile 4, Laura made a detour to the bathroom, so rather than just stop (which I hate to do) Laura O. and I slowed down a bit with the idea being that at a slower pace, she’d catch us before we knew it. Sure enough, halfway through mile 5, Laura caught back up with us…

…except we didn’t really pick our pace up again. After mile 9, though, I was itching to start moving a little faster and I ended up pulling away from Laura (who was just not having a good run), and Laura O. stuck with me. It went pretty well, as you can tell by the splits, although we did have one small disaster: while stopping to refill our water on the way back, we saw another runner pass out not even 20 feet away. Eek! Fortunately Laura O. is a nurse, and the passed-out-runner had a friend with her. So we stopped for a little bit, got her some water and some gel, waited until she was doing good, and then headed back out. I felt a little stiff as a result for those last 3.5 miles, but it was absolutely the right thing to do.

9:44, 9:01, 8:54, 10:32, 10:07, 9:55, 10:16, 10:02, 10:04, 9:22, 9:18, 9:08, 9:16, 8:46, 8:53, 9:04