"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

Sunday, May 22, 2011


A few weeks ago, when I found out I didn't have to go to central Washington for a conference, I decided to do the DC Capital Striders' 8k. It was on the C&O, using much of the same course as the GRC Father's Day race, so it seemed a logical place to look for runners to come back a few weeks later, this time with cupcakes at the finish line. Then I got either miserably sick or suffered from miserable allergies, dropped out of a workout, didn't run for two more days, and slept until 2 in the afternoon on Saturday. I told my new friend Jen, whom I was supposed to meet at the race, that there was a 95% chance I wouldn't run, but I brought my racing flats anyway, just in case.

I got there, found out the store had gotten me comped, and figured there was little risk, except my health, so the 5% ended up happening.

You can see how uneasy I look

It looked like there was one guy who could give me trouble, a younger fellow with brown hair in an orange singlet. Rick, the DCCS dude, assured me I would win, but I didn't tell him just how much of a struggle it was to stay vertical. I sprang off the line, determined to get a jump on the kid. Within a few steps, I had it, and I kept going. My best hope was to put so much distance on him so that when we hit the turnaround and I saw him, I could feign intensity and scare him off a second time.

I came through the mile, shocked that I had run 4:53, the second fastest mile I had run in a race since the time I had gone out in 4:47 at GMU. I figured by that point I had a safe enough cushion from the kid and I backed off of my nutty pace. I hit the second mile in 5:22 and faced a dilemma with the coming water stop. My throat was on fire, I was sweating like crazy, I really needed a
drink, but if I took one, my pursuer might interpret my thirst as vulnerability and challenge me again. If I didn't take it, though, I could very well pass out. I didn't get out of bed to lose, so I declined the water. I got to the turnaround at 12:57 and went back on my way. It was a while before I saw the kid, and I estimated I had a 40-second lead at that point. I hit three miles in 15:45 and figured I had 11 minutes of reasonably hard running ahead of me. I was running against the crowd at this point, and nobody intimated that I had anyone close behind me. When the pack thinned, I saw a volunteer at mile 4 (21:37) and asked her how close "he" was, but I got no answer. Whore. I told myself I wouldn't look back until the little dip in the course with about a half mile left. I did, and I couldn't see anybody. At that point I took it easy and stumbled on in, right at 27:00. I found some water and sucked it down, then went back to cheer for Mollie and Jen. I wound up with a 24-second margin of victory.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Finally done with the track

I got home late after the Maryland meet, and I just wasn't up to running in the morning, so after work I did an easy 12 on the McLean trail I am continuing to explore. It started to storm toward the end of my third trip to the park in a week, and the rapidly-growing vegetation made the path a little difficult, but it was generally a nice run.

Saturday morning I planned to do a p-word, but when I started, the combination of the heat, humidity and my fatigue ganged up on me and I stopped less than a mile into it. I did an easy three around my neighborhood. Later that day, while at the Canaan Valley resort, I got another eight in while everyone else went on a hike. The trails I hit for the first half were alright, but a little rockier than I would have preferred.

The next morning, Klim, Bain and Murph and I went out for some more, finding some grass trails that could only have been mowed for a cross country course, in my estimation.

Monday afternoon I went out to McLean for a workout. I planned on 8x1000, and got right to work- 3:01, 3:01, 3:01. Intestinal distress interrupted the rest.

On Tuesday I got back to what I enjoy- running along Williamsburg and Military roads. I dealt with a gigantic pack of bicyclists for the first eight miles of my 13. I averaged 5:51s for the first half, and really had fun running.

Wednesday we did 400s at practice, I went 67, 69, 68, 68, 66, 66, 64, then, to preserve the rhyme scheme, could do no more.

Thursday I can't really remember for the life of me where I ran, but I am pretty sure I doubled and run Westmoreland in the afternoon.

Friday I just did an easy six up and back on the Metropolitan Branch Trail.

Saturday morning I did three miles around the Greenwich Mile as a pre-race, then rode in a van up to Swarthmore for my last track meet of the season. My early season goal was to be in sub-15 shape by then, and have run at least sub-15:20, but I had not gotten to that point. In fact, I had only run 15:42, 15:48, 16:00 and 15:43. Pair that lack of confidence with how awful I felt, and sub 16 alone was going to be a challenge. It was raining when we got there and the meet was already behind schedule. The men's 5k had nearly 80 entrants, so we were divided among three heats. That actually ended out working well, because I could watch Michelle run the women's 5 before and warm up while cheering for Karl, Wiggy and Sloane. Dangerous Dave was in the second heat, and I missed a few of his laps. Murph and I lined up for the third heat around 10 pm, and I was seeded behind some old dude dressed in some ridiculous green getup and a doo rag. Good god...

When the gun went off, I settled in quickly in lane one and saw pretty much the entire field ahead of me, even though we came through 200 in 37. I wanted to take the race in chunks of 800, so I sat behind a pack for a while. We came through the first lap in 76, then 78. That wasn't going to fly with Chaz...I moved ahead and came through the next lap in 72, then 74 for an even 5:00. Rather than make those discrete and arbitrary moves, I decided to just keep running the same pace and pass people whenever I pleased. I caught up with Murph around the two mile, which I hit in 10:00, and kept going, my eyes on a LaSalle guy. Before I knew it, the race was over, I had run 15:36 and nobody had passed me. It was a pretty boring race, and I never really felt I was racing, per se. After a protracted cooldown, we headed back and I stayed over at the Wigloo. I ran a pretty easy but humid 10.5 miles with Sloane and Wiggy in the morning, then did another 6.5 in the evening.

Monday I did 12 miles in the mud and rain-saturated trails around Pimmit Run Creek, slipping once, bruising my knee and whacking the heck out of my right shoulder.

Tuesday I averaged 6:28 pace for 12+ miles around Fairview Park.

Wednesday I did the warmup for the workout, didn't feel like running fast, jogged around for a while and stopped. I haven't run since. I've had a nagging cold and I guess I will just take some loose running time before I start planning for running the half this fall.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Perfect 10! Other than that, disappointment

Last Wednesday's workout was extremely muggy and after two 1200s, I was working way too hard to keep the effort up.

Thursday I ran 3.25 in the morning, then 11 in the afternoon around Catholic.

After a sleep study Thursday night, I got to my office early and went out to TRI anc back through Foggy Bottom for 11, then ran with Melissa around the Mall in the afternoon for five more.

I slept in Saturday and did a morning Westmoreland loop, then a Pinecastle four in the afternoon.

Sunday morning did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. The race was a madhouse, and we got there too late to put my plan into action. I hoped to run 10 miles moderately then run the 5k at whatever pace Jake desired. Online registration was closed, so I had to stand in line stretched over a block.

The gun went off and I saw the fox dashing ahead, a little too fast for his own good. I caught up to him and I gently corrected his pace and we got into a consistent rhythm. He sped up when we turned onto 3rd street and he ignored my protests. We came through the mile in 5:04 and I reminded him again that we needed to slow it down a touch. He started to mellow shortly thereafter and I took control, wanting him to just chill and do what he must to hit his time. I led through a second mile in 5:10, more what we needed. The fox started slowing a bit, so I bid him follow as I picked it up significantly near the Capitol, because we came through 2.5 miles in 12:29, a little bit under 5:00 pace. A few seconds later, I let him go on his own and jogged down the sidewalk to meet him. He ran 15:57, so he managed alright on his own.

My dad called and got me out of bed Sunday night to watch the important national security news which ended up being nothing, but since I was awake, I stayed up and watched Llano run 28:43 at Stanford. I went o bed at 2 a.m.

Monday I wandered around by McLean High School, which I think may have my favorite track in the area. I ran a short trail near the school where I came across some teens rolling and subsequently smoking doobies. I meandered through Kent Gardens Park for a while and came home for 11.5 miles.

Tuesday I expanded my Pimmit Stream trail running through Kent Gardens to Pimmit Run Stream Valley Park, getting in 10.5.

Wednesday I just ran around American for a while then did 2x400 and 4x200.

The meet was quite small, and somehow wound up 20 minute behind schedule before we knew it. According to the schedule, I had 40 minutes from the 1,500 to the 5k, so I would be able to watch Wiggy and Hanson run the 1,500 and have about 35 minutes to warm up for my race. Then, to catch up, they merged the 1500 heats and cut the men's 4x4 and suddenly, I had 15 minutes to warm up and change into my shoes. I barely got to the line in time. I started off in the middle of the pack, and ran exactly the way I wanted to- 73 mid. The field broke quickly, a Maryland kid Danielle said was eying 15 flat shot off quickly. I stuck behind a dude and planned to stay there until 6 laps. We were great through 800- another 73 mid. Then we slowed a bit- 76, 76 for 4:59. I tolerated the guy for a 77 and 76 before I shot ahead with a 72 mid and a 74 mid to come through two miles in exactly 10:00.00. That was pretty much the high point. I went 74, 77 high to come through 2.5 in 12:32- slower than on the roads on Sunday, and I came home in 77, 76 high, 37 to finish in 15:43.61, less than a second slower than my Richmond time.

I'm disappointed. I would like to feel, and Sunday's pacing exercise reinforced, that I should be able to go out and run even 5s most days. I ran very conservatively so I would have a strong third mile. I might have blown myself up with that 72, but it wasn't that bad. Without anyone to keep me aware of my pace changing, I kept running a little slower than I thought. I had no turnover at the end- I ran two seconds faster for my last 200 the other two track races I ran. I definitely have fallen out of practice with my weekly turnover workouts, I'm not sure if doing any now will help, with just one track race left.

My hope is that if nothing else, being out there conditioned me for exercising patience. I didn't get much else out of it.