Thursday, July 29, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The conference wrapped up Tuesday afternoon and I headed back to my room for a nap. I woke up and took a six-mile spin around the river trail again, careful to mind the bums throughout the park, out and back to the main street downtown. It was pretty hot and dry. When I came back to the hotel, our new president’s inaugural ball was in progress, and when my coworker told me about the food selection- delicious roast beef and a variety of vegetables, I hurried upstairs to get dressed for it.
I had a delicious White Russian that hit me pretty hard, thanks to my dehydration. That, plus my post-exercise euphoria and boosted energy thanks to my nap made me positively giddy, AND THEN I discovered the ice cream bar. I loaded some melty vanilla with tiny m&ms, strawberry sauce and chocolate and went toward town.
I woke up early the next morning with a route written on my arm to get me 14 miles and up onto one of the surrounding foothills to the south. I ran clockwise around the Reno-Tahoe Airport until I got to Mira Loma Road and followed it to the neighborhood surrounding the Hidden Valley Country Club. I followed the road there south and looked for the intersection with Alexander Lake Road, which would take me into Huffaker Hills, where I could get my view of the city from a hilltop. I moved away from the neighborhood and onto a remote looking road, and figured I was right on track. Then, the houses started popping up again. I saw two familiar-looking walkers, and then a sign for Mira Lorma. I knew that road ran south, so I thought perhaps I had gone too far, but as it turns out I had run around the circumference of the golf course and was back where I started. It was too late to keep exploring—an ice bath was probably out of the question and I would need to rush back to be ready for my flight.
I followed the rest of my route clockwise around the airport, and at times seemed to be going way out of my way, but it was a certain way back to the hotel. I ended up running 1:43, but had to wait until I got home to find out how far it was. It turned out to be a little over 16 miles, so I averaged 6:28.
This is how the road was supposed to look...
I also had a chance to look at a more detailed map when I was on my computer. It turns out Alexander Lake was connected to Short Lane and Hidden Highlands Drive. I passed Hidden Highlands, but to the right, it looked as though it ended.
After another day of traveling (I made my flight), I got back to humid, stuffy Virginia, with its trees and shade that does no good in stopping the moisture. I did an easy four miles at 7:28 pace and hit the sack.
Thursday morning I ran 6.75 at 7:58 pace around the Park ++ loop. It was rough, running in the brunt of the humidity. All told, I ran 83 miles in the five days I was in Reno, and that wasn’t bad. Now it’s time to test my legs at the Crystal City 5k Saturday night, help pace Pokey in his half marathon, hopefully add enough distance Sunday morning to make 20 miles, and see if I can keep this volume up when I don’t have dry air making it seem so easy to run.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I turned around and went back, but it turned out to have said "Ronald McDonald House, right on Gould." Bummer. I ended up running 7:07 pace, 2:24:30 for 20.3 miles. I felt fine the rest of the day.
Tuesday morning I headed to the north and went five miles out and five miles back, with a few hills thrown in there. I ran 7:00 pace on the way out and 6:00 on the way back.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
A g-d rattlesnake. It scared the living crud out of me, hissing and rattling and stuff. I leaped high in the air and did a karate kick, just in case he could jump too. He did not, and we both rushed off in opposite directions. I picked up my pace to get to the bridge and back to the trail, and believe me, I was vigilant in looking out for him the second time around. Terrified, in fact.
I figured I had gone at least six miles out, though it turned out to be a quarter mile longer, and after eight and nine miles I was feeling pretty good. The best part was that I wasn't drenched in sweat. I was dehydrating, certainly, but it was a pleasant dehydration that didn't bog me down with its byproducts. I slowed down for the last mile or so and ended up averaging 6:37 for 12.5 miles, feeling a lot better than I had in weeks.
The next morning I woke up at 6 to run a 40-minute tempo around a reservoir and get 10 total in before a day of work, but during my warmup I could tell I hadn't rehydrated from the flights and the run less than 12 hours before. I tried the tempo anyway and made it about eight miuntes before I packed it in and just explored Reno or a while. It's a little skanky, and Sparks, where I ran on Saturday, was mostly buildings for lease.
Ending note: It's been a bizarre week for Pittsburgh's West End, which I have come to love over the last 18 months. I haven't been able to ruminate completely on the murder of Lauren Deis because the details are just so revolting and I haven't really been able to settle my mind around it, but there was some good news. Reprinted from the Tribune-Review's Laurels and Lances:
Laurel: To saving the Old Stone Tavern. Pittsburgh's second-oldest building -- at Greentree Road and Woodville Avenue in the West End -- appears to be on the road to restoration. Thanks to a historic designation, the two-story brick structure dating to the 1780s can't be torn down. It once served as a toll house and might have played a role in the Whiskey Rebellion. Kudos to all those behind the effort to preserve yet another piece of our marvelous history.
Friday, July 16, 2010
It’s time I faced the reality that sometimes the elements are too much for me. I thought I was adjusting to the heat and humidity, if not nicely, then at least effectively. I managed a 90 mile week despite temperatures breaking 95 four straight days and was faring pretty well. I learned to handle mornings as cooler-but-humid fiascos and evenings and hot-but-drier times to muscle through runs. Sunday, though, I was pretty tired. I was dragging throughout my trip to the Newseum (not worth $20, as far as I am concerned) and just managed to do my afternoon run. I slept 10 hours on Sunday night and woke up too late to do a morning run, and when I got home and set out for 10 miles, I didn’t feel like doing it after a quarter mile. It turned around and walked home.
Tuesday I ran 10.5, 7.5 of it with Pokey, around the mall and across the river to the Mt. Vernon Trail. I felt better then. I slept in again on Wednesday and by that point decided I would cut my mileage to 70 this week, rather than 80. I went up to B-CC for a GRC workout, my first track workout in more than two months. Dickson, Wiggy and Karl and I stuck together for some thousands on the track. I had planned to start out at 3:10 and widdle my way down by a second on each successive repeat for a total of eight, but after the first I reconsidered. I hit 3:07 even, taking it pretty easy. I tried to take the next one easier, but hit 3:06. I hit 3:05 for the next two, hanging back as the other guys went at it. Everyone asked if I wanted to lead the next one, and I eventually gave it a shot. 3:05 again. I felt pretty successful, hitting the majority of my 1ks in 3:05. By that point I was completely soaked and pretty happy with my workout, but the guys goaded me into trying another one. So I gave it a shot. 100 meters in, I felt a raging cramp in my right side, so I stopped and cooled down with Murph on the grass, barefoot. It was nice, but the grass was saturated with water. After that, I didn’t much have the strength to run anymore, so I capped that day at 7.5 miles. I was really happy with the workout that I did, though. My first time running fast in a while. I feel like as much as I expanded my endurance so far this year, my speed hasn’t budged at all.
Thursday I was about to leave for my run to work, when the fire alarm went off in my building. Wanting to live, I left immediately, but before I changed into my running clothes. Unfortunate, because by the time I was allowed back in the building, it was 8:45 and the temperature was well over 80, with the humidity raging. I headed off and took some sport beans about 3.75 in and followed that up with some water on the Custis Trail. I wasn’t exactly cruising, but I was moving somewhat. When I got to the Mt. Vernon Trail I was pretty worn, and by the time I crossed the TR Bridge and passed through the Kennedy Center parking lot onto the Rock Creek trail, I was fading quickly. When I got to the volleyball courts, I stopped completely, and could go no farther. I walked the last three miles to my office, shirtless, sweaty, meandering along the sidewalk through throngs of tourists. I hope I gave them something to think about…
Throughout the run I had Warren Zevon's "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me" in my head.
I spent the rest of the day in a daze, then came home and did a very easy 3.5 (8:00 pace) around the Fisherman’s loop.
Friday morning I got up in an attempt to run a road workout on the Greenwich mile. I got to the start an changed into my shoes and set out on what I planned to be 1xmile, 1x2mile, 2xmile. I hit the first half in 2:33, but I dropped my effort substantially in the third quarter. I picked it up for the last quarter, but managed only 5:22, and I aborted the workout. I’ll run this evening with Melissa, hopefully not sweating on her, and get a few miles in before I head to Reno for a conference. I am sad to miss the Rockville 8k Saturday evening, but I’m going to have quite a training opportunity for three whole days and parts of two others-
Saturday- 63-102 Blazing sunshine
Sunday 62-98 Sunny, breezy and hot
Monday 59-95 Sunny and breezy
Tuesday 58-92 A day full of sunshine
Wednesday 57-93 Plenty of sun
The humidity tops out at 20%.
I wonder if anyone who compiles this information for Websites thinks about how the weather summaries look when viewed in a series like that, if it affects their choice of descriptors...
It’s been a good week to ease up on my training, because I am going to do some damage to my legs early in the morning and in the evening the next five days…
My former coworker’s daughter seems to like running in the heat more than I do. But, as I am reminded every day, it's not the heat, it's the humidity.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
I was planning a 20-mile run—10 miles through Vienna to a point on the W&OD Trail, then an eight mile tempo on the trail heading east, which would deposit me close to home so I could cool down two miles. It was raining lightly and about 75 degrees, maybe it went up three or four degrees from when I would have started but the difference was negligible. I averaged 7:30s on my way to the trail (a paved trail, but one with half-mile markers) and felt pent up. When I got to the first half-mile mark I stopped and wrung out my saturated socks, I felt I might as well at least start off not feeling like I have sponges inside my shoes.
Things went well for a while- I hit 5:45 for the first mile, 5:40 for the second, and 2:47 for the first half of the third mile. Then I got really tired. I started to slow down to 6:00 pace for a while. Then 6:30, almost like clockwork. I figured the point was then to get home- if I felt like going the extra two miles when I got there, great. As I approached the bridge over the beltway, 2.5 miles from home, I felt fine. When I crossed the bridge, I did not. I kept going for a while until I reached Idylwood Park. I sat down on a bench, but only felt marginally better. I lied down, felt better still. Then I put my feet up on the back of the bench and closed my eyes, and felt alright. After a few minutes, I opened my eyes and saw furiously moving pine branches swaying in the breeze set against the gray sky. It looked like an avant garde expression of resilience in the face of adversity. It told me I should get up and go home so that a. I don’t die out there and b. I am back in time for Emily Ward’s visit. I got up and started to walk, but I barely got anywhere before I realized it was a losing effort. I saw a woman I had passed while I was nearing the end of my run and thought I might see if I could hitchhike home, because walking seemed like a bad idea. I presented my case, and she was skeptical of a stranger, as I well understood. I started to walk away and she called for me and asked if I had been the person lying on the bench. I said that was me. She then told me to get in the car and there’s no way I’d be strong enough to overpower her. With a chuckle, I got in and upon arriving home, didn’t want to move for a while. I managed 15.5 miles of running, but I fell far shorter than that in my mind.
I suppose I should start practicing with sport beans… I’ll be sure to pick some up before I go to Reno and attempt my long run where I will be relatively unfamiliar with my surroundings. I can’t have this happen again anyway…Three months until Chicago.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Started running with Murphy, Marren, Sloane and some guy named Jonathon. We took the towpath from the store to the Chain Bridge, then up the trail and on to Glebe, then followed that to the Custis Trail into Rosslyn. The Ms and I went to TR Island, Jake withdrew and Murphy and I ran around for a while. I briefly bumped into Susan Tremblay. Murphy then headed back and I ran another half hour to hit 18 miles in two hours. I knew that was the last time I’d have great weather for a run for a while.
Slept a little late and tried out the Fairview Park loop. I started to get a little thirsty toward the end. Then I tossed in an Idylwood Filler to total 14 for the day and 90 for the previous week (transposing the long run).
I took another shot at the New Virginia Manor loop that failed so miserably last week. It went better this time, and despite climbing temperatures between 10-11 am I averaged 6:50s for 8.25. In the afternoon I did an easy Timber to total a little more than 14.5.
I was back to work and started off with a seven mile Park loop, pretty humid, in the morning. The evening was an easy Idylwood Filler.
I stayed late at work and started my medium run at 9:15 p.m. I did a Double Pimmit but forgot the loop through the townhouses, so I only had 12.6, but I averaged low 7s.
Another Park seven in the morning and a 7.25 mile loop I am calling a Willamsburg in the evening.It's been hot for a while now, breaking 102 a few times, 95 four days in a row. I am getting used to it, though. I've been running with water bottles to try to get used to drinking for the marathon. I'm not crazy about it, though.
Slept in and didn’t run in the morning. Came home and planned to do a Westmoreland, but peeled off on Idylwood and ran around Virginia and the Pinecastle loops for 7.5.
Finished off another 90 mile week with 6.5 easy miles with Emily Ward at Walney Park in Centreville. Great soft trails there, a 3+ mile loop I did twice. Emily stopped after 5, I got a little more. Lots of couples having formal photos taken. It was cool, a little humid, but pleasant.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Closing in on the end of my first 90 mile week, I was eager to see what I could do in a 5k race- shorter than any run I have done in almost a month. Elyse suggested a race in Alexandria, which was then moved to the George Mason campus.
I finished 13th, in 17:32. I had worse races that year, but after I acknowledged that I was struggling with anxiety problems and lowered my athletic expectations. Had I recognized my anxiety issues that summer, I would have taken a full semester away from college and skipped the Miami fiasco, or gone right to Richmond instead.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I still slept in on Thursday and only got a 4.25 morning run, but reversing the Fisherman's loop made me realize just how hilly Fisher Road is. I complemented that with a 5.75 afternoon run around Capitol Hill.
I will take it very easy for my morning run Friday before the road race at George Mason.
The reprieve from the heat and humidity came at just the right time to refresh my enthusiasm for running high (to me) mileage. I'm on pace to hit 90 this week, and though it isn't the best course of action before a 5k, the fact that it won't be sweltering makes it a good chance for a hard effort.
It's going to get hot and humid again early next week, and I am not sure if I will opt to move my long run to Saturday to dodge it, or at least hit it on the early side. I would like to double on Saturday, because I would like to stay home that evening and relax.