"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

Saturday, March 12, 2011

From soaking wet to way too dry

I dislike the W&OD Trail in certain circumstances, and tolerate it most of the time. It's a nice amenity to have, but too often it attracts too many walkers, joggers and bicyclists to be of much use to me. I integrate it into some of my loops, but I'll often use alternatives when they present themselves. I'd prefer a dirt path, or limestone, like the Panhandle Trail. It does however, offer a safe alternative to running on Shreve Road, which has a limited shoulder, and a pedestrian bridge over Route 7.
The only time I really relish running on the W&OD is when it is raining. Then, I eat it up. I toss on my Run for Roch hat to keep the rain out of my eyes and go for it. I used to run out to Park Avenue in Vienna and back because it was exactly five miles, but I broke out of that orthodoxy last Monday when I did a little loop around the community center. This week, with my plans to do singles again, I found myself needing 14 miles, and found an out-and-back a little farther than seven, turning at Clarks Crossing would give me 14.15.

I headed out into strong rain and ran 43:00, then turned around and ran 42:38 for the way back, despite taking it significantly easier in the last mile as I climbed Grove Ave. When I realized how quickly I had done it, I took my heart rate, and got only 129. That seems low.

Friday after work, I went out for a ratchet run. My goal was to go really easy for the first three miles, run normally for three miles, run a moderate pace for three, then a hard three, and an easy on back to the office. The wind was pretty rough on Capitol Street and the Mall, but I ended up averaging 6:30s. I was hoping for at least 7:00+. Once I hit Ohio Drive I had two full miles along the Marine Corps course to use the measurements in the pavement, and I ended up running 5:48s for them. It was bizarrely calm on Hains Point, given the wind in the first two miles, I expected By George-ferocity gusts. I ran about 5:40 or so to my "track" at "Henry Park," then let loose for the last three serious miles. The wind was even worse than before, and like the mythological wetsand, struggling only made it worse. I had a 10 second difference between my 400 into the wind and the 400 with it at my back- 85-75. I came through the mile in 5:20, which is about what I wanted, but my third time facing the wind, my stubbornness waned. I gave up. Adding some mileage around Capitol Hill, I saw the windmills near the gardens spinning like mad, and I realized I picked perhaps the worst time to work out. I finished up and went home and collapsed.

I switched my long run to Saturday so I will have time to run around Baltimore at my leisure before the guys run the 5k there. I went for my old classic Chesterbrook 18 miler. I started a little too fast- 6:04, and managed to calm down with a 6:30 second mile. I felt a little off, though. I averaged 6:23 through 9 miles and the magic was not happening up Glebe today. I was woozy, and regretted being so far from home. I struggled through most of the rest of the run, but was so thirsty. I also thought about unfortunate Jimmy, who is sidelined with Vertigo. Then I kept hearing the South Park caricature of Bono:

Bono at Union Jack's

Man,I was thirsty. I ended up walking a little, then cutting off a mile. My shirt was soaked and there was salt all over my blue shorts. Even though I will count the mileage for next week, in the last 14 days I have run 184 miles in 14 runs. Only three of which were in daylight. I am ready to double for a while. My schedule will be much more malleable next week, so doubling will happen. Plus, more light.

In other news, Llano ran the bejeezus out of the US 15k championships- finishing 23rd at 4:50 pace, just two places back in a stronger field than the 12k xc champs last month, where he ran 4:59 pace. Jonny Wilson also ran well- 41st place in47:14, just ahead of Outlaw, 48th in 47:55.

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