"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

Thursday, February 3, 2011

100% chance of slush, 200% chance of wind

Last week's snow has overstayed its welcome, though to be honest it had done so the second the Office of Personnel Management declined to issue a delayed start on Friday.

I headed out to George Mason on Saturday morning to watch the Spider track team in action.
I went out to start my run around the neighborhoods near GMU with York and Kyle, then I kept going and did 10x1 on the slush-covered streets once they headed back to the fieldhouse. My long pants were soaked and heavy by the end, and I never really felt comfortable running fast.
I got to see Steve, Lori and a bunch of the younger Spiders. I learned the difference between Kyle Reagan and Adam Owens, saw a bunch of guys PR or come close to it, and watched Amy VanAlstine run what would have been a school record in the 3k if she wasn't redshirting this season. She and Nicol Traynor looked about as smooth as I've seen anyone race indoors.
I thought York looked flat in the mile, but I didn't even have a watch on it when I came into the fieldhouse in the middle of the race, so I had no idea he was about to PR by 10 seconds.
Steve put together a great set of photos from workouts recently, including from two of my favorite places to work out in Richmond- Belle Isle and Bandy Field. I was spoiled to have a park like Bandy nearby.
Workout on Belle Isle

I tried a new long run loop Sunday afternoon -- Brook -- with great success. It was in the low 40s, warm enough to wear shorts, which felt great, even with the slush. The close-fitting long-sleeved shirt was a little too warm, but I lived with it. Three miles in 18 flat, 10 miles in 6:11 pace, rolling hills throughout. I slowed a bit in the next five miles because of increased traffic on Old Dominion and the brewing storm in my intestines, which convinced me to walk in from 15.2 miles, averaging 6:22. Not too bad! The loop took me farther out on Great Falls, enough that I got to the point where people were building garishly big houses with no mature trees around them. As sickening as that was, I liked feeling like I was getting away, even though I wasn't far from Route 7 to the southwest. I love crossing over the beltway for some reason.

Monday I was about to head home to run when Outlaw requested I join him for an easy 10 in Alexandria. That ended up being a huge boost for my motivation, because I really wasn't feeling up to running by myself. We ran about 6:55 pace.

Tuesday the boss told us to stay home, in preparation for impending freezing rain, so I used my extra 80 minutes that I wasn't spending commuting to double. I ran Park Plus at 7:00 pace in the morning, worked, then an Idylwood Filler for 4.8 miles at 6:50 pace in the afternoon.

Wednesday promised temperatures in the high 40s and sunshine, and we got it, until the work day ended and I headed over to Lafeyette Park for the alternate workout, despite YF's attempt to change the workout venue right before everyone was due to meet. Dickson, Anonymous Cotterell and Outlaw and I ran "miles" on Pennsylvania Avenue between the park and the White House, measured with a GPS watch, the accuracy and precision of which I did not entirely trust. It was getting colder by the second and the winds were picking up, and it was certainly not easy. I ran the first two in 5:19 and 5:24, before Dickson said he was finding them to be a bit long and more like 10 seconds fast. Great, because I was working my ass off trying to run what I thought was 5:20 pace or faster. I lasted a quarter mile of the third one before my legs and lungs shut down. I know I should have taken it easier when the wind started savagely whipping the second we started, and from the very start I should have just run for time rather than distance. Part of the beauty of being away from a track was that I wasn't a captive to the constant feedback from the watch, and I forgot that. 2x10 minutes would have been perfect, just run at about 90% and it would be great, but no, I pushed foolheartedly into the wind, bound to be disappointed by whatever time I ran for these "miles." Did I think it was just going to beat myself into shape?
I left feeling a bit dejected.

Thing were complicated further by a group of Egyptian protesters. If only Mubarak had come to power a week later, they, and the obligatory police cars, would not have been in our way.
That all said, it was a good place to work out, as would be the ellipse on the other side of the White House.

It was a little darker... and windier...

I slept in the next morning and didn't run to work. Instead I took a break in the afternoon and ran the ever-extending Catholic loop. This time it was 10.86 miles and I ran 6:14 pace.

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