"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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

He was night running, just running at night...with the 15-year-old daughter of the dean...

We finally had a crowd for the store run Saturday morning- the Fox, Terrible Terry, Big City, Luff Daddy, Rod, the Powerbar dude, Wilson the Lecturer and Wardian. The latter two turned back after a few miles, but the rest went out and back 30 minutes each way, then a few went on for more. I was tired, and fine with stopping short of nine miles. A nice run.

That afternoon, I did a loop in Bethesda from Nora's- up Old Georgetown to Greentree, out to Burning Tree and back on Bradley, just about 6:50 pace. Very pleasant.

Sunday morning, I had my first half-marathon-themed workout planned -- a long "p-word" run.
My plan was this- three miles slow, maybe 7:30 pace, three at 6:30, three at 6:00, three at 5:45 and then three Greenwich miles at 5:20. The loop would take me on rolling hills through McLean outside of the beltway and back.

The first three miles went by in 20:40- just under 7:00 pace, and much faster than I had expected or even felt. As I headed off on Chain Bridge Road to start my first segment, I felt like I was taking it easy, so I was shocked to see myself hit the first mile in 5:45. I slowed it down a little bit on Dolley Madison, but when I got onto Old Dominion things just got a little fast again. I came through the second three miles at 18:15- 6:05s. When I turned onto Spring Hill, I realized just how uphill it was and how wrong the elevation profile was on mapmyrun.com, and I started pushing. I hit the end of the third segment at 17:45- only five seconds fast per mile, but fast nonetheless, and I would eventually have to pay the fiddler for my transgressions.

The fourth segment ended up being right on- 17:15- but in the middle, I dealt with cluttered sidewalks, jumping over barriers, dodging a car that ran a stop sign with the driver not looking and subsequently performing pantomime outrage-fueled gesticulations at the driver for having been so careless. The uphill back to Dolley Madison was a little tough, but somehow the timing worked out that I didn't need to stop at the major intersections, a simple gift but significant. My right sock sagged a lot and I developed a blister on top of my right achilles tendon.

For the most part, I didn't feel like I was working that hard. I certainly didn't feel like I was running as fast as I was, and maybe that's how it got hazardous. When I got the the Greenwich Mile, I was pretty tired, and when I jogged over to the start and wrung out the sweat from my shirt, I noticed that my bellybutton was saturated in blood, for some reason I never determined. I started a quarter mile into my usual Greenwich loop, which gave me a significant downhill in the first quarter this time, which I passed in 70 seconds. I'm not sure where I found the speed for that, but once again I ruined the workout by going to hard, too early. The next 400 was uphill, and i came through the half in 2:32, three quarters in 3:55, and a mile in 5:28. I felt no need or push to go on.

In the evening, I did an easy six on the Seaton loop around 6:45 pace.

Monday I did a relatively easy 13 miles on the New Virginia Manor loop, with darkness spreading six miles in. It's a great loop to run at night- barely any traffic, good roads, and time to focus on the feeling that comes with a good distance run. No watch.

Tuesday morning was eight plus on a Westmoreland loop. I thought about cutting it short at 6.5, but kept going. It rained lightly, but it wasn't a hassle. No watch.

That evening, I biked over to McLean High School and did my warmup loops, finishing at 8. A thick fog rose from the field and covered the track, obscuring the three or so joggers doing laps. No lights, aside from a single bulb above the door along the 300m mark. Every now and then a car would head toward the track on Westbury, illuminating the fog on the back stretch and blinding me. I didn't mind because I could barely see if there were no lights at all. After a while, I was the only one out there, so with that came the security of knowing I wasn't going to run into anybody. I forgot how big the track was for a while and just ran. 3:05, 3:04, 3:04, 3:04, 3:04, 3:06, 3:04, a false start, then 3:03. They weren't impressive times, but I ran pretty consistently. When I dropped the last 200 of the sixth, I came back and ran a little fast for the last two, almost hitting 3:02 for the last on the virtue of the last 200. To run it that consistently on my own, too, was encouraging.

Wednesday morning was just 8.5 miles on a Woodley loop- it had been a while since I hadn't included the Presidents' loop portion. 6:49 pace.

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