"It's a little self indulgent..." - My mom
"After I read a sentence, I get mad at myself for caring what you're doing." -Karl Dusen

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chills and sweats

We had a stretch of three cold days that shook my resolve and, to some extent, my dedication. Friday was pretty rough, but running in the morning in January means getting a bit chilly now and then. Saturday morning I woke up to 16 degrees and a metro delay between me and Georgetown, so I opted to skip the store run, sleep in, and head out on my own in the afternoon. It was 25 by the time I left, around 3:30, so I headed off on a loop I hadn't done much since the summer. At some point, however, I lost my way, and ended up off my course, about two miles in, which isn't that great because the first mile is a straight line. I was feeling pretty chilly, and decided to go home, so I got a little more than four miles for 70 that week.

Sunday, I again waited for an early afternoon long run, and went off on an altered Presidents' loop (lengthened to make it 15 miles). The loop added little bits all over to a loop I knew pretty well, but not enough to know the mileage markers. I didn't feel like the run was going well, and by 60 minutes I was really cold, despite a temperature near 32, so I headed back. When I mapped my splits, though, I found that at 9.25 (which I thought to be less than 9 miles in) I was averaging 6:28s, so I was better off than I thought. I ended up doing a little less than 12. After the prior week's successful long run, this was disappointing, though I was clearly doing well when I looked back. I realized as much as I like long (15+) runs, perhaps will like them (and run them) more consistently if I do them less frequently. This was a huge issue in the summer, when the humidity usually got me and wore me out psychologically. I kept doing them, and usually started pretty well before crashing after 13. Plus, I'm mainly running 5ks this spring, I doubt I will need weekly long runs.

Plus, what is a seven-day cycle to the human body, anyway? I mean, it's just an organizational ploy and weekends are just considered long run days because there's more free time. This country was founded, it was founded by people who were into aliens, man. George Washington, man, George Washington was in a cult, and that cult was into aliens, man. Did you ever look at a dollar bill? There's a lot of spooky stuff going on on that dollar bill, man...

That brings me to my next subject- for someone who's not into drinking beer, smoking grass or living (or being) in Texas, I really love Dazed and Confused. It is, perhaps, the greatest cultural one-hit wonder I have come across. Career high performances from Jason Landon, Sasha Jensen, Matthew McConaughey, Joey Lauren Adams and Ben Affleck. Parker Posey might have been the only actor to sustain a career I appreciated after this film. Adam Goldberg certainly
didn't, an opinion that my college girlfriend's emotional disaster of a friend could not handle when I voiced it while watching a movie I am too embarrassed
to admit seeing. Back to running...
Late weekend nights in high school usually led to my friend Lindsay's mom's house, which was usually the place to go to party, where someone was invariably watching this movie.

The next day, it was warmer and I tried out a new loop in Pimmit Hills. I missed a turn and ended up taking stabs at the streets trying to find Wilson, and after about a mile of experimentation I found it, and was rewarded with wide, long streets in an office park, largely empty of cars. I loved it. It's prime moderate run real estate. In the end, I added and extra mile to the run for 11, which I did in 6:45 pace, but I revised the loop for the future.

I moved my workout ahead to Tuesday to avoid what the forecast said would be freezing rain on Wednesday night. With George Mason's track both painfully close to my home and ridiculously scheduled, I gave Washington-Lee a shot. I put on some racing flats and started on 4x mile, but it did not go well. Despite checking my splits regularly, I ran very unevenly, 5:13 for the first mile, 5:16 for the second, and feeling my shoes not do the job for me. After a 2:40 first half, I cut the third. The traction was gone on my shoes. They felt like I was wearing slippers, and my stride was suffering from the unreliability. I realized I had owned the shoes since April 2007, and raced in them more frequently than not for three years, only occasionally breaking the races up with other pairs. Despite those shoes carrying me under 15 and on the best race of my life a few weeks later, it was time for them to go. I tossed them in the trash and headed for a long cool down and HMDs.

Impending snow sent people home early on Wednesday, and while I was inside changing and stretching in my apartment, it had snowed three inches. I headed out to run to Vienna, but it became apparent within two miles that I would not make it there. The snow was driving violently, and cars were driving slowly, if at all. It made the roads my playground, but I could barely keep my left eye open. I tried to consider the stinging snow to be a challenge to keep my head up and into the pain, but I soon acquiesced and looked ahead where I could. After a half hour, I figured I could keep it up as long as I needed. By the time my wanderings ended, I was soaking wet, half from melted snow, half from my profuse sweat. I averaged 7:20s through the driving snow, which wasn't too bad.

Thursday night I thought about doing a fartlek on a Presidents' loop, but I was wary of changing my pace too much on the inconsistently-icy ground. I was fine running on it, I think my form is efficient enough that it's easy to run consistently on slippery surfaces because my feet don't break my movement before pushing off. I was a little under 7:00 pace through seven miles, then I slowed down toward the end to average 7:05 for 10.

I planned to run to work on Friday morning, but slept in, and didn't really want to run that much after work, so I figured now would be a good day off.

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