Monthly Archives: October 2008

The good/bad thing about cool weather running

Start Time: 10/30/08, 6:20pm
Location: Arlington (Courthouse, Clarendon, Ballston)
Distance: 4 miles
Average Pace: 8:15min/mile
Total Miles For October: 77 miles

I have a love/hate relationship with late fall and winter running. With the daylight hours being so much less, it’s sometimes (ok, a lot of the times) hard for me to get up the gumption to go running. I’m not a big fan of running in the dark, and often with that dark comes frigid temperatures. Brrrr. But, after using excuses for no weekday runs last week, and then bagging out on Tuesday, it was time to get up and moving again. (I actually caught myself thinking, “Well, I did my hour at the gym on Monday, and on Wednesday in addition to spinning class I picked up an extra 20 minutes of rowing…” Yeesh!) Fortunately the temperature went up a bit so it was 50 degrees out instead of, oh, 30.

The thing is, once I actually get out there and moving? I usually have a good time. It helps that without the heat slowing me down, I pick up the pace pretty easily without even realizing I’ve done so. Just a nice, short, brisk run in the cool temperatures—although I have got to remember to not run eastbound on the Arlington Boulevard Trail at night, because all the car headlights are shining right into my eyes. (Fortunately there’s a small distance of space between the trail and the road itself, but it’s still annoying… and also hard to see the cracks and little jumps in the pavement as a result. I turned my ankle at one point as a result, hopefully it will be ok.) Hopefully now that the proverbial ice is broken, I’ll be a little better about my weekday runs!

(That said, this is why I never sign up for a spring marathon. And perhaps no more November marathons?)

Jailbreak Run!

Start Time: 10/26/08, 8:30am
Location: Marine Corps Marathon… well, miles 2-15
Distance: 13 miles
Average Pace: 10:43min/mile
Total Miles For October: 73 miles

Sarah was running her first marathon today and I had a great idea on how to pick up some mileage; I’d jump into the race with her at mile 2 and then run a dozen or so miles with her. Perfect, right?

Well, actually… yes! We run different paces so for me it was an easy, calm run and I must say that I had a lovely time doing so. I had no problem hopping into the race, and I got to see a stretch of course that didn’t exist as part of the route when I ran the marathon my four times (2002-2005), up Canal Road and back down MacArthur Blvd.

It did feel very strange to have the Hains Point portion before the National Mall, but I can understand not wanting to have it right next to the desolation of the 14th Street Bridge any more. It’s a nice change, overall. (But the lack of the statue of the Awakening still saddens me.) It was great to run with Sarah and her brother Mark; she was still going strong when I bailed out at mile marker 15 and I can’t wait to hear how she did for the rest! It was definitely a good time, just enjoying the race and not worrying about a finishing time.

Rainy Saturday

Start Time: 10/25/08, 11:00am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 6 miles
Average Pace: 8:48min/mile
Total Miles For October: 60 miles

Well, the plan was to go out and run 12-15 miles on Saturday; not a super-brisk run, perhaps, but just something to get back into the groove. I missed my Tues/Thurs runs this past week due to a funeral on Tuesday morning, and just not being able to wake up on Thursday. (At least Monday was an hour of rowing and elliptical, and Wednesday was spinning class, so the legs did get some work.) When I woke up early on Saturday, though, it was raining. I fell back asleep for a couple extra hours, but when I woke up… the rain was gone! Should I chance it? I decided that I should slightly change my route; instead of starting at marker 3.5 and running directly out and back, I went to marker 5 and decided I’d run down to marker 2 and back, then up to marker 9 and back. That way if it started raining again, I’d not be too far away from my car.

Well, good call. I was four miles along in my run when it started raining… and when I say raining, I mean pouring. Torrential downpour. Boy, was I glad I only had two miles to get back to the car at that point instead of four.

(8:41, 8:43, 8:52, 9:05, 8:51, 8:37)

Last Week!

Start Time: 10/18/08, 8:00am
Location: W&OD Trail (Arlington)
Distance: 6 miles
Average Pace: 8:04min/mile
Total Miles For October: 49 miles

Start Time: 10/19/08, 5:45pm
Location: W&OD Trail (Vienna)
Distance: 5 miles
Average Pace: 8:17min/mile
Total Miles For October: 54 miles

Oops! Catching up a bit here. Saturday was the last Empowered & Fit session; it was a beautiful morning, nice crisp weather. On the schedule was a 6-to-8 mile progressive run, and I headed out with Donna, Paul, Other Laura, and a guy named Jason from Sundays. The run wasn’t quite doing a good job of slicing off 15 seconds every mile, but we certainly did speed up. I decided to just run 6 and call it a day, so I definitely picked it up on that last mile. Wow, though, what a difference cool weather makes!

On Sunday I ran in Vienna for a quick five-miler before heading over to my parents’ house for dinner; I was originally going to run 6 miles but I could tell that it was getting dark fast enough that I needed to stop while I was ahead, so to speak. More crisp, great weather for running.

(10/18: 9:40, 9:03, 8:48, 8:44, 8:38, 8:04)
(10/19: 8:29, 8:15, 8:09, 8:19, 8:14)


Start Time: 10/14/08, 4:30pm
Location: Mount Vernon Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Average Pace: 8:53min/mile
Total Miles For October: 43 miles

I decided on Tuesday that I was going to run “whatever I wanted” and just enjoy the run. Well, that would have been ok… if the sudden heat wave had not unleased swarms of gnats all up and down the Mount Vernon Trail. So, about two miles in, I ran through a cloud of gnats… and then spent the entire rest of the run doing the following:

1) Greg wipes face with hand
2) Greg looks at hand now covered in gnat corpses
3) Greg wipes hand off on shorts
4) Greg looks at hand, now clear

Repeat over and over again. I probably wiped 60 to 80 gnats off of my face. Disgusting. Originally I was going to run 6 miles, but under the circumstances I decided ending my run a bit early was the smartest thing to do.

(9:11, 8:55, 8:36 (fleeing the gnats!), 8:46, 8:58)

Day After

Start Time: 10/12/08, 7:45am
Location: Clarendon, Ballston, Bluemont Park
Distance: 6 miles
Average Pace: 9:01min/mile
Total Miles For October: 38 miles

This was thankfully a lot nicer; the day after my run I was supposed to run a 6-miler at a 9min/mile pace, and while my quads were not thrilled with me they held up a-ok. One funny thing was that I decided to try out having a clear breath-right strip on my nose to see if that would help out any. It did… but after three miles it fell off because of all the sweat. Bah!

(8:59, 9:11, 8:37, 9:09, 9:03, 9:07)

5 x 4mi

Start Time: 10/11/08, 7:30am
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 20 miles
Average Pace: 9:31min/mile
Total Miles For October: 32 miles

The workout prescribed for me on Saturday was to run 5 sets of 4 miles; the first two at a 10min/mile page, the next two at a 9min/mile pace, the last (if possible) at an 8min/mile pace. Between each set was a slight (4 minute) rest break to refuel and the like. So, I headed out… and on the whole, I have to say, I am not feeling like this sets-of-mile-repeats program is really preparing me well for my marathon. In the real thing I don’t get rest breaks every four minutes, but more importantly, on that fifth set… no fuel left in the tank at all. I felt like I was pushing hard to try and at least get a 9min/mile pace, when it was really all the way back down to a 10min/mile pace. And that was with having rest breaks. That shouldn’t have happened at all.

I’m just not impressed with how this is going, and I think there are other issues going as well (which I want to sit down and write about later) but on the whole I’m really not happy with how this year’s training is panning out for me. If I run a marathon next year I think there will need to be a lot of thinking about what I need to get a good experience for myself. Unfortunately, I’m not getting what I need for myself this year.

Set 1: 39:21 (10:00, 9:39, 9:51, 9:50)
Set 2: 39:49 (10:06, 10:05, 9:53, 9:43)
Set 3: 35:24 (8:26, 8:57, 9:13, 8:47)
Set 4: 36:33 (8:39, 9:14, 9:33, 9:06)
Set 5: 39:18 (9:41, 9:43, 9:53, 9:59)

Catching up

Start Time: 10/9/08, 8:30am
Location: Clarendon
Distance: 4 miles
Average Pace: 8:55min/mile
Total Miles For October: 12 miles

Oops! Way behind on my running log, here.

After my run on the 2nd, I was away for the weekend, then feeling sick on Monday. Deciding not to chance it (especially with a long run on that upcoming Saturday) I shifted my Monday gym trip to Tuesday, then did spinning as normal on Wednesday, making it a full week before I was out running again. Just an easy four-miler to get back into the saddle, nothing particular momentous.

Progressive Autumn

Start Time: 10/2/08, 4:30pm
Location: Mount Vernon Trail
Distance: 8 miles
Average Pace: 8:34min/mile
Total Miles For October: 8 miles

The plan was to get up early and run—except it is still dark for far too much of the early morning. Instead, I went to work about two hours early, then left a bit early so that I could run afterwards. The only downside to that was I always feel a little tired when I first start out, but all things considered it wasn’t a bad set-up at all; crisp air and cool fall temperatures. I decided to try and tackle the 8-mile progressive run (first mile at 9:30, then drop 15 seconds for each mile’s goal time). And while I didn’t hit the times for the last two miles, it was closer than my previous attempt, so overall I’m quite pleased. (Especially since my times for the first six were all a little fast!) Getting there, bit by bit. Although the next time I try this, I may actually go for looking goofy and put on a breath-right strip on the nose. Stupid allergies.

9:19, 9:06, 8:53, 8:36, 8:20, 8:11, 8:03, 8:00 (actual times)
9:30, 9:15, 9:00, 8:45, 8:30, 8:15, 8:00, 7:45 (goal times)