Monthly Archives: September 2009

Run to the car

Start time: 9/30/09, 6:10pm
Location: M Street, C&O Canal Towpath, Key Bridge, Lee Highway
Distance: 4.8 miles
Average pace: 8:27min/mile
Total Miles For September: 48 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 617 miles

My original plan was to run on Tuesday, stopping at the W&OD Trail after work. Except my car died on the way home from work, and by the time I finally got home I was in no mood at all to go for a run. (Also, it was much darker than when I’d planned on running.) On the bright side, Charlie let me borrow his car, and while at meetings today I got a message from the dealer that the car was fixed and the faulty part of the engine was under warranty. Hurrah!

So, after I got home from work, I changed into running gear, then drove Charlie’s car to his neighborhood and dropped it off, as well as leaving the keys in his place. Then, I headed home on foot; down M Street until I got to Rock Creek, at which point I switched over to the C&O Canal (so to avoid the masses of people in Georgetown), followed by over the Key Bridge and then up Lee Highway to the dealership. With minutes still to spare, I picked up the car and all was good. I’d hoped to run a full five miles, but my old GPS spent the first three quarters of a mile unable to get a signal (grrrrr) so it wasn’t until I got home that I had any idea how far I’d actually run. Ah well, this is why I round to the nearest half mile when I record things.

And on the bright side, considering the last two miles were at a 9:24 (almost straight up on the Custis Trail/Lee Highway stretch that I loathe with a white-hot passion) and a 9:00 (more up up up), I’m pleased with my pace. Obviously I’d have liked something even zippier, but I was clearly moving at a good pace for the first 2.8 miles at least. I’ll take it.

Clarendon Day 5K

Start time: 9/26/09, 9:00am
Location: Wilson Boulevard
Distance: 3.1 miles
Average pace: 7:57min/mile
Total Miles For September: 43 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 612 miles

I swear, every time I go for a 5K, something happens beforehand. Sometimes it’s benign, like simply running a marathon eleven days earlier and getting injured in the process. Other times it’s a combination of getting bronchitis and a trip to the ER for gallbladder problems. So when I ended up with a calf strain two weeks earlier, well, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. But I felt good enough to give it a shot, even though I knew that I still wouldn’t do what I would have been capable of sans injury.

It was a nice, quick race. I started with Butch and Chris, but after about half a mile I remembered that it’s only a 5K and I was moving way too slow for a race that I wanted a PR in. (The GPS said around the 1/2 mile mark that my time was 4:30. A nice “going for a run with friends” pace, but not a racing-just-three-miles pace in the slightest. A 5K is just such a small distance that a too-slow first mile will never really get made up.) I picked it up at that point, and it paid off; a 24:27 finishing time, which finally replaced my old 25:40 from two years ago (the post-marathon-injury race). I like to think that had I not had a few weeks off I could’ve gotten even faster, but that just gives me a new goal for next time.

I still don’t think I’ve mastered running a 5K, but that’s something I’d like to work on next year once I’ve (at least temporarily) bid marathons adieu.

Catching up

Start time: 9/24/09, 6:00pm
Location: North Arlington
Distance: 4 miles
Average pace: 8:32min/mile
Total Miles For September: 40 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 609 miles

Oops, forgot to post a couple of these. Catch up time. I had to squeeze this run in between getting home and heading off to book club. Slowly starting to pick things back up a bit after my brief sabbatical.

Two weeks later

Start time: 9/22/09, 7:30am
Location: North Arlington
Distance: 4 miles
Average pace: 8:40min/mile
Total Miles For September: 36 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 605 miles

Well, the doctor said it was a strain, and gave me something to put into my right shoe to hopefully keep it from happening again. (Fingers crossed.) I was also told to take two weeks off, so 14 days later… back out I went. I had gone swimming a few times as well as gone to spinning class, so I wasn’t sitting on my butt the entire time, but still, it was not pretty out there. Ended up taking two walk breaks in the second half of the run; just really tired and winded. It’s amazing how quickly one’s endurance can fall back when you don’t run for even just a week or two. On the bright side, no calf problems.

I have a 5K on Saturday and we’ll see if I actually run it or not. My last 5K in November was right after being sick and it was a miserable experience; part of why I’d signed up for this one was to finally get an official 5K time of what I’m actually capable of, not ones hampered by sickness or having just run a marathon a week earlier. Whatever time I could’ve done two and a half weeks ago is certainly long gone. As long as I can lower expectations enough in advance, though, I’ll give it a stab.


Start time: 9/8/09, 6:00pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Average pace: 8:29min/mile
Total Miles For September: 32 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 601 miles

I was planning on running 6 miles after work today, but two miles out, my right calf started hurting. This after several months of it being fine. Dammit.

Much Better

Start time: 9/5/09, 6:00am
Location: Hains Point, Mt. Vernon Trail, C&O Canal, National Mall
Distance: 20 miles
Average pace: 10:24min/mile
Total Miles For September: 28 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 597 miles

It’s funny, this 20-miler was only 15 seconds per mile faster than my horrible 18-miler last week, but I feel really good about it.

It was a super-small group, just me, Dave, Steve, and John—and John was only running 12-13 miles. Steve’s been building his mileage back up after throwing out his back a few weeks ago, and I was impressed he was jumping back up as much as he was. After a week of great weather, it heated back up today, but not as bad as last week’s horrible weather, at least.

After bombing out on last week’s run, the plan was to take it a little easier, something that Steve wasn’t going to argue one bit. I’d say that we hovered in the 10-to-10:30 range for the first three quarters or so, although we did have two particularly slow miles in the 11-min range; one involving navigating from the top of Key Bridge down to the Canal towpath, and another one dodging some construction barriers when we escaped from the towpath.

What made me happy, though, was that about halfway through mile 17, I was feeling great and I started kicking it back out. So it was nice to see the last four splits being 10:14, 9:14, 9:08, 8:51. And I felt fantastic, like I could’ve run another five or six miles at that speed. (Which would have given me a PR was it a marathon. A funny thought.) Or in other words, if I do the “nice and easy” approach for the first half and then pick it up in the second half, I should do fine. That often-elusive negative split that most runners want, in other words. (I have actually had a couple of negative splits over the years, but not lots.)

It’s funny, I was just talking earlier in the run about how for my last two marathons I’m really not going to worry about finishing times; NYC and WDW are going to be about the experience. But if I play my cards right in NYC… well, it won’t be that long-hoped-for sub-4:00 marathon (I’ve given up on that) but I might just squeak out a new PR. That would be nice.

Back to normal?

Start time: 9/3/09, 7:30am
Location: Neighborhood
Distance: 5 miles
Average pace: 8:15min/mile
Total Miles For September: 8 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 577 miles

This has been a tough week. Originally I had planned for another day of running, plus some biking and swimming. Every time I turned around, though, something derailed me. (Mostly not feeling well.) This morning I’d gone back and forth on if I would run or swim, but I decided that for now the running is more important. I’m glad I did; I ran my 4-mile loop and then one additional mile, and I was pretty pleased with the end result. Just under a full minute faster than the last time I ran this particular route (in early August), which was a pleasant surprise. I’m sure the great 60-degree temperature this morning helped immensely.

Short run

Start time: 9/1/09, 7:30am
Location: Neighborhood
Distance: 3 miles
Average pace: 8:09min/mile
Total Miles For September: 3 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 572 miles

Originally the plan was to run five miles, but my stomach was still feeling a little unsettled, so I ran a 3-mile loop with an option to add in another two. Said option didn’t happen, needless to say. Although I am now starting to finally start feeling back to normal, after several days of anything but. A co-worker recently commented to me that I might have to just accept that my insides probably aren’t going to ever really work quite the same again, and I think she’s right unfortunately.

On the bright side, gorgeous cool September morning.