Monthly Archives: February 2009

Cold but good

Start time: 2/28/09,12:00pm
Location: Arlington & W&OD Trail
Distance: 8 miles
Average pace: 8:43min/mile
Total Miles For February: 72 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 117 miles

I hope February really is the coldest month of the year, because while today’s run isn’t bad, I am soooo ready for spring to arrive. I think Thursday’s 60 degree temperatures spoiled me! Still, a nice run; headed down 10th Street until I got to Wilson Boulevard, took it to the Bluemont Park trail, and ran along that until I hit the W&OD Trail for a little over a mile. Then, turned around and headed back. Some big hills in miles 2 and 7, but I think I did a pretty great job. Especially when you look at my crappy 8-miler from last month. Much, much better.

8:40, 8:40, 8:29, 9:05, 8:45, 9:05, 8:28, 8:32

Great weather

Start time: 2/26/09,5:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Average pace: 8:22min/mile
Total Miles For February: 64 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 109 miles

After skipping Tuesday’s run due to feeling sick/tired/rundown/overheated, it was nice to not only get running on Thursday, but to do so outside and in shorts. Miles 2-3 were a bit of a climb, but of course miles 1 and 4 were slightly downhill to compensate. It just felt nice to get out there, a pity the temperature is supposed to drop again this weekend…

(8:23, 8:28, 8:34, 8:04)

Arlington to Vienna (and back)

Start time: 2/21/09,12:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 16 miles
Average pace: 9:38min/mile
Total Miles For February: 60 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 105 miles

Ok, for this 16-miler I decided to just stick with the W&OD Trail, running from marker 3.5 in Arlington up to marker 11.5 in Vienna, since I knew that there would be water fountains on the trail at several places (near markers 6.0, 7.0, and 11.5) so I wouldn’t have a repeat of the disaster from two weeks ago. As for the run itself, well…


No calf cramps like last time, yay! I hydrated a bit better this time through, and I also took an extra potassium supplement in the morning. Maybe it was that, maybe it was because most of the second half is at a slight downhill grade (although there are still some uphill portions), but for whatever the reason, no real issues on that front.

I finished the run without needing to stop, save for refilling my water bottle. Also good and makes me feel a lot more confident on that front.

All the ice is finally melted off the trail, and while it was cold out, it wasn’t as frigid as earlier in the week. All this cold weather dodging and such has made me (at this point) vow to not train for any more spring marathons, mind you.

And a faster pace than my 14-miler, which was admittedly the cramp-o-matic run, but still.


My slowest 16-miler in three years. It was at least faster than the pace for 2005 (12:00) and 2006 (10:00), but not as good as 2007 (8:59!) or 2008 (9:31). I worry that 2007 is when I peaked in terms of running, to be honest.

Crappy last two miles, although since they were new mileage that’s not any particularly large red flag. I’d have been happier with some stronger times for them, but still, not as good as I’d hoped. I’d been hoping to not dip into the 10+ realm on this run.

I really don’t like this winter running, because getting up early and hitting the run then is an exercise in frozenness. Brrrrr. So instead I wait until a little later in the day, but it means by the time I’m done the majority of my Saturday is over.

Maybe I need to rethink my training strategy? It’s hard to say what’s wrong at this point. Just getting older? Not enough speed work? Lack of someone to train with? Honestly, the last one has definitely been on my mind. I saw that Pacers had a 16-miler scheduled for this morning and I’d thought about it, but it was at 8am (and I knew I would need more sleep, plus it was still going to be below freezing at that point in the morning)… and it’s actually really important for me to train for a marathon on my own this time. I’ve never done that before; it was AIDS Marathon in ’01-’06, and then Empowered & Fit in ’07 (plus ’08, despite the actual running of a marathon at the end of the program; stupid bronchitis). So I really need to train for one by myself to know that I can do it. I hope that sounds logical to someone besides me. Afterwards, maybe I’ll train for my fall marathon with E&F, or Pacers, or perhaps still on my own? I’m not sure. But I feel like I can’t buckle yet. This might ultimately be a mistake, but there’s only one way to really find out.

(9:25, 9:28, 9:12, 9:22, 9:46, 9:25, 9:19, 9:08, 9:29, 9:26, 9:44, 9:58, 9:53, 9:48, 10:17, 10:24)

Knocking them down

Start time: 2/19/09, 5:00pm
Location: Thomas Jefferson Community Center
Distance: 4 miles
Average pace: 8:22min/mile
Total Miles For February: 44 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 89 miles

Hey, that’s more like it. A quick four-mile run at the gym after work, and I felt, well, pretty darn good. Definitely hit those splits quite well; this was me really feeling like my old self. Hurrah!

(8:40, 8:14, 8:19, 8:15)

Hotel Treadmill, yay, part 2

Start time: 2/15/09, 9:00am
Location: LAX Marriott
Distance: 4 miles
Average pace: 8:28min/mile
Total Miles For February: 40 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 85 miles

With Monday being my travel day home, and sensing the jet lag to come on Tuesday, I decided to pick up Tuesday’s progressive run a little early. (Wednesday is spinning class day.) It went pretty well; I started the treadmill at an 8:42 pace for the first mile, then kept pushing it up (8:34, 8:20, 8:13) for each mile afterwards. A nice short but good run.

Hotel Treadmill, yay

Start time: 2/14/09, 9:00am
Location: LAX Marriott
Distance: 7 miles
Average pace: 9:09min/mile
Total Miles For February: 36 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 81 miles

Yay for a small mileage Saturday! I ended up not running on Thursday due to being at Disneyland all day (and walking all over it), but it all worked out well… or rather, as well as it can despite being on a treadmill while it was cold and drizzly outside. Only minor inconvenience I had was when the treadmill hit 60 minutes and kept trying to go into “cool down mode.” I was so close to the end I just kept pushing the speed back up, which worked as well as it could. I’d felt a little bleah on Thursday and Friday, but this really kicked me back into high gear.


Start time: 2/10/09, 5:00pm
Location: Mount Vernon Trail
Distance: 3 miles
Average pace: 8:48min/mile
Total Miles For February: 29 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 74 miles

Just a quick three-miler; I thought it was going to be in the 60s and sunny when I went running, but it was actually the mid-50s and cloudy. Oops. Also, the Potomac smelled so much like a swamp on my run I thought I was going to gag. I was happy to pick up the pace a tiny bit on the second and third miles, though; I felt like I could keep going but it was more important for me to play it safe after Sunday’s cramping issues.

(9:03, 8:41, 8:40)

All over the place

Start time: 2/7/09, 12:00pm
Location: Washington DC and Arlington
Distance: 14 miles
Average pace: 9:48min/mile
Total Miles For February: 26 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 71 miles

Well, the good news first: I had a great first 11.5 miles! That said, the last 2.5 miles? Ugh.

I am hoping the problem was related to dehydration; I made a big mistake when I plotted out my route (down Route 50 to Iwo Jima, run south past Memorial Bridge to 14th St Bridge, cross and run around the Tidal Basin to the Washington Monument, down one side of the Mall and up the other, then along Constitution to Lincoln Memorial, up the Potomac to Georgetown, and finally across Key Bridge and along the Custis Trail to get home) in that I had not even thought of the fact that most water fountains would be turned off because it’s the winter. So when I went to refill my water bottle around mile 8.5 (and I probably hadn’t drank enough to that point as it was), no dice. Oops. Also, it turns out that Thompson’s Boat House is closed for the winter as well.

Fortunately, one restaurant had an outside bar set up (because it was a glorious 55 degrees!) and the bartender refilled my water there, but the damage was already done. I had some calf cramps over the last 2.5 miles, and the slow downs are rather noticeable. On the bright side, up until that point the only dips in pace were when I had to dodge hordes of tourists, so yay for that! I’m also resolving to be better about stretching every day, I know I’ve been a little lax in that. It’s been almost two years since I’ve had these cramps show up, so hopefully better hydration and better stretching will keep them away again.

It was fun to just run all over the area, rather than just up and down the W&OD like I have on so many other runs. A little change of scenery is always nice.

(8:00, 9:13, 8:55, 9:33, 9:33, 9:55, 9:24, 9:50, 9:19, 9:29, 10:07, 11:09, 11:26, 11:24)

Ice and Fire

Start time: 2/1/09, 1:15pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 12 miles / 3×4 miles
Average pace: 9:39min/mile
Total Miles For February: 12 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 57 miles

There is something rather disconcerting about running in 60 degree weather while dodging sheets of ice on the trail. And yet, that’s what happened today. We had a bizarrely warm temperature (it’s supposed to snow tomorrow night!), and there sure were a lot of people taking advantage of it—including myself. The plan was to run 12 miles; start at marker 3.5, run just down to marker 3, then turn around and all the way up to marker 9 before coming home. (Marker 9.5 is on the far side of Gallows Road and it seemed rather silly to have to wait for several minutes to cross such a major road when I could just pick up half a mile in the opposite direction and ignore the road entirely.)

As it is, when I first left the house, I ended up turning around a minute later because I clearly did not need to be running in pants. I swapped out to shorts, and ignored my jacket, hat, and gloves that I’d put in a bag “just in case.” There was still a strong breeze going on (and at that point my car said it was 57 degrees out) so I kept on my UnderArmour ColdGear long-sleeve shirt, with a t-shirt over it. Originally I was going to just run 12 miles straight, but 4 miles in I stopped for a minute to gulp down some gel, then headed back out. At mile 8, I also stopped, this for a couple of minutes, so I could take off the long-sleeve shirt and tie it around my waist. (Don’t worry, I kept the t-shirt on.) So really, it ended up being three 4-mile sets, I guess, even though the stops were never terribly long.

More importantly, though, sections of the trail were absolutely covered in ice. Anywhere there was a hill and some shade was fair game, really. (Or at one point along the infamous “hill of doom” where two people couldn’t be bothered to shovel their sidewalks. Thanks, jerks! And on a pretty steep hill, no less.) So it’s hard to say how my run really went; there was a lot of slowing down and speeding up going on as I ran. I certainly didn’t feel as strong after this run as I did last weekend’s, alas. (I’m glad after next weekend’s 14-miler my schedule involves some shorter distance weekends.) Overall, not great, but under the circumstances I’m glad that I never wiped out, and kept moving pretty well. I’d really wanted a stronger time in that last 4-mile stretch, but considering two of those miles had seriously bad iced-over sections that made me slow down, I am not complaining one bit.

And hey, it sure was gorgeous out. 60 degrees by the time I finished, and I sure was glad I stopped to take off that long-sleeve shirt. It felt marvelous out.

38:33 (9:36, 9:23, 9:46, 9:47)
39:02 (9:34, 10:04, 9:53, 9:29)
38:17 (9:06, 9:50, 10:01, 9:18)

More Mile Repeats

Start time: 1/29/09, 6:00pm
Location: Thomas Jefferson Community Center
Distance: 2 miles & 3×1 mile
Average pace: 9:41min/mile & 7:48min/mile
Total Miles For January: 45 miles

On Thursday I went back for some more mile repeats—same deal as Tuesday, but this time it went much much better. I think it helped that I didn’t go too fast on the first one, so I was able to stay more consistent through all three. If I can do this again as well I’ll probably add in an extra mile. (Maybe.)

In general this was also a pretty good exercise week; rowing and stationary bike Monday, mile repeats Tuesday, mild yoga Wednesday, mile repeats Thursday, and spinning class Friday. (I picked up the Friday spinning class partially because of Wednesday’s class being cancelled, and partially because I pushed this weekend’s run to Sunday.)

warm-up/cooldown: 10:04, 9:19
mile repeats: 7:51, 7:48, 7:47