"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

Friday, February 25, 2011

Favorite Pittsburgh Runs #2

Standard - this used to be the Beechwood loop until I realized that less than half of it was on Beechwood Boulevard.
Beechwood was the foundation upon which most of my eastern-centric running was based. This basic route evolved from my winter long runs in 2007, when snow or frozen ground made running on trails unwise. I tweaked it a bit. It used to start at the oval, wrap through Schenley, and looping down forbes to Morewood then Fifth/Penn all the way to Braddock and back on forbes before starting Beechwood. In retrospect, that was a lame loop- there was no need for all of that distance on Fifth.
Beechwood's appeal is that for most of its length, two bike lanes give you an off-sidewalk option. Miles two, three and four are pretty long uphills, so much that even when starting in the middle, Alex complained nonstop about having to climb. Mile four is a delightful downhill.
When Beechwood meets Browns Hill Road, the bike lanes dry up and you have to find a good opportunity to cross the street. The traffic rarely moves fast, but drivers are impatient here.
Crossing the Greenfield Bridge shortly before the sixth mile mark is usually ridiculously windy, but offers a nice view to the west down the parkway.
After that, you climb Greenfield Road to Schenley Park, up past the oval and tennis courts and down against lightly-trafficked one-way, winding road. After heading east on Panther Hollow Road and taking a left at the Bartlett Playground, you follow the Race for the Cure course at about its 1.75 mile mark. After a climb around Serpentine Drive, you head down through the gentle curves of the the Bob O'Connor golf course, and back up to Forbes and
Northumberland. When you hit Shady, it's a long downhill that you won't have to climb again. You can really enjoy it. Perhaps my favorite part, despite running through parks and all kinds of dramatic hills, is the short downhill on Emerson, close to the end of the run.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dying too young...

A great workout died in its adolescence.
The 4x1.5 mile workout scheduled for Wednesday was going to be a great mix of speed and duration, giving me four chances to push through the fairly arbitrary mile mark of a hard run.
Jerry's plan for the B group was 79, 78, 77, 76, and I was ready for that, enduring what is now a thankfully slow track pace of 79-second quarters and slowly but confidently speeding up.
The first one went EASILY- 7:50 with a 5:14 mile en route.
I followed Dickson for the second and we started hitting 76s consistently, going through the mile in 5:05 (my fastest mile in I don't know how long) and continuing to 7:40. Those last two laps, however, I felt growing discomfort in my abdomen, and I was worried my hold on my digestive track was as tenuous as a North African despot's control of his county. Which county? Take your pick, really...
After crossing the finish line, I sped up to B-CC's lobby to use the bathroom, and managed to return just shy of the four minute recovery period. Maybe I could avoid disrupting the workout after all. I rejoined the group as they sped off, but 200 meters in I knew my hubris has gotten the best of me-- while my training partners were jogging relaxedly, I had been rushing back and forth, stressing out about finishing the workout, basically NOT recovering. I jogged back to the line, waited for the group to come through at 800 meters and joined them for the next 800 to stay loose and warm- 2:31. The civil unrest continued and it became necessary to exile more dissidents.
I joined Dickson and Dangerous Dave for the last of their 'peats, and was handling it pretty well, coming through 1200 in 3:50, but I knew my time on my legs was numbered. I decided to go for it and try to run a fast mile, but I wasted a lot of breath trying to explain to them what I was doing.I took off with 300m to go, but tied up with 100 left. I managed a 75 for the last 400 to finish with another 5:05. I jogged a bit then joined Brian for a 76/77 last quarter.
I wound up with 4.75 miles of quality speed work, but it was far from what I wanted to do or what I was capable of doing. Just as I knew I was in for a bad workout during my warmup last Tuesday, I was ready to handle it, probably run below 7:40 for the last two, but my digestive problems poisoned my chances.

Thursday I ran a Catholic 11 at lunch, averaging 6:25. I pushed pretty hard up Harewood Road, but for the most part was relaxed and focused on my form. I'm tired and need a good night's sleep.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's chilly again

Sunday morning I had perhaps my best run in Rock Creek Park on a morning when I had a lot of excuses to not run more than a few steps. I was hungry and I felt like I had been punched in the face, and my arms were really sore. I tried to point something out and my right bicep crampled. I really only like the first mile or so from the line, then it gets boring for me, but I managed well enough. I had to wear long clothes, which was a bummer, because I really enjoyed the warmth for the last week. I did a little more than 10 miles with Predator, Murph, Wiggy and Big City. I headed home, took a nice three hour nap, to equal the time I spent sleeping the night before, and went out for another seven miles on the Park Plus loop, with a chilly misting of rain.
I slept a hell of a long time the next morning, because I had the day off. I ran a four-mile warmup to George Marshall, put on some flats and started on what I planned to be 16x400: 71,71,73,71, 71,71,72,71, 71,71. I started taking longer recovery jogs after number six, because I was struggling toward the end. After a while, the drizzle and breeze chilled me so much over the 2.5 minutes or so that my breathing was less of a problem than my mechanics. On a warmer day, things might have worked out better, but I got some work in, and I was on the faster side of 71 seconds for most of them. I got four more miles in that afternoon from Pokey's dad's house in Rockville, which passed nondescriptly.
Tuesday after work I had a great distance run- 11 miles of an extended Presidents', which I ran at 6:21 pace consistently, according to spot checks at 4, 4.35, 6.95 9.8 and 11 miles. It felt great.
Also of note, these are delicious.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

To hell with George

I fell far short of two goals- running under 16:30 and getting an assessment of my racing fitness at the By George 5k.
The metro was about five minutes late, so I was already looking at less than the 25 minutes I budgeted between arriving in Foggy Bottom and the race starting. I started my warmup/run to the start confident that everything would work out. I wasn't feeling fresh while running, but I was careful not to run too fast to get there. I did notice a breeze...
The route ended up being 2.5 miles, and I got there with two minutes to spare. I tore my trainers off and tied my flats as fast as I could, wiggled into my singlet and sprinted to the start. Murphy was waiting with my bib, thankfully already adorned with safety pins, and I threw it on, took a few high-knee steps and got back to the line just in time for the start.
Some dude bolted to the front and I tried to keep my cool, not wanting to turn my frantic surge for the starting line to become a reckless sub-five minute first mile. Given how my pace had only slowed slightly in the second miles of my recent exciting conclusion runs, my capacity for high-quality running in the latter staged of the race seemed to be boosted. I did feel like I was going pretty slowly, but that might have been the odd sense of relaxation I was feeling, despite my panic minutes before. I figured I was running around 5:20 pace, so I was shocked to come through in 5:07. Maybe I will run well after all! The guy ahead of me wasn't insurmountably far ahead.
Those thoughts lasted for about 20 seconds, until the wind from the west slammed into me, pushing me to the left. Whatever wind I felt running down Virginia Ave, it was nothing compared to this. Rounding Hains Point, I felt like I was running in a driving snow. The bare tree branches squirmed wildly, but the guy in front was not pulling away. The course was out and back, so there was physically no way for the windy portion to be more than .55 miles, but it broke the hell out of me. I hit the turnaround in 8:20- 3:13 after the mile- 5:50 pace. I hoped turning would help, but it did little. I was firmly ensconced in second place, and would try to salvage something from the race, but my drive was broken. I tried to pick it up, remembering how I could still hit my splits on the windy stretch of the track, but that was nothing like this... I just waited for it to be over...
I tried to run with Karl, Wiggy and Outlaw, but my legs were Jello(tm) and I dropped after 1:40. I ran to try to block the wind for Murphy, Hughes and Angry Kate, with varying degrees of success.
Afterward, I did a cooldown with the guys to visit the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, then had a delicious egg sandwich at the East Potomac Park Golf Course shack.

I did 3.5 miles in the afternoon to round out 80 miles for the week. I still have no idea what I can do for 5k right now, though. I am toying with a time trial Monday or Friday.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Time to race again

Over the last two months, I've run 564 miles, done a dozen workouts, though several were slower than last year's marathon pace. I've ended up hammering some long runs, and when I total it all, still I'm left with a very abstract concept of my fitness. The By George 5k is not going to be a masterpiece, but at the very least I will have an assessment of what I can do for a 3.1 miles of running. From there I will be able to calibrate the rest of my training and my expectations of what I will be able to do this year. It is also the earliest I have raced in my post-collegiate running, given my revulsion to indoor track.

The course is a nice change on the typical Hains Point configuration. It's a counter-clockwise loop of the golf course. No out-and-back, and I hardly ever run that direction, so it will be a fresh route.

Wednesday was beautiful, so I took a long lunch break to run to Rock Creek Park, admittedly not my favorite place to run in DC. I'm not sure exactly why, but I just don't like it much. The trails, though numerous, are nothing special, and I never seem to run well when I am there. I much prefer Frick, Schenley or Pocohontas. I ended up following a trail that took me into Glover Park and ended up extending the route a little, to 14 miles.

Thursday night I headed back to George Marshall for 12x400. The youth soccer players and their parents were much more cooperative than the lacrosse hellions of the prior week. The 400s went well: 70,71,72,71,71,71,72,71,71,70,70, 70.

Friday I did an easy five miles around Capitol Hill.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Favorite Pittsburgh Runs #3

Similar to Sewickley Heights- forested, hilly, and pleasant. There's little through traffic, so it's generally pretty safe.
I used to run a six mile loop from my dad's house, which took me around Squaw Run East on the northwest side of the Shadyside Academy campus and the Field Club. That route, however, passed a treacherous stretch near my family's church that worries me a little, with sudden turns, so I combined it with part of a loop I have run with my friend Jess. Turkeys are sometimes an issue...
There's little more to say about the loop than it is pleasant, challenging and you can extend it with several loops around Squaw Valley Park, which is delightfully flat and has a nice crushed limestone surface. The turns are a little tight for workouts, but the loop is 1034 meters long.

There's a short trail through the woods to the east, but it doesn't go much of anywhere. You can also find the Trillium and Salamander trails off of Squaw Run Road.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

They're not all easy

The last 12 days or so spoiled me, because I ran great workouts every time out and ran a little faster each time I pushed it. I even thought to myself Friday, when I was starting to feel a bit of a cold starting and I finished two miles in 10:18 "this can't continue forever." Even on Sunday, my long run didn't suffer as much as I thought my cold would cause. Today, it caught up with me.
I was a little behind the game from the beginning. I was planning to meet Wiggy at Wakefield High School for 6x2k. It was an ambitious workout for where I am right now, but I figured I would let Wiggy chase me down while I ran a little slower ahead of him. I checked the Metro website for the bus schedule, and things seemed to work out well. I made it to the bus stop with seven minutes to spare, but it didn't come until 14 minutes after I was expecting it. When I got on board, I found a pamphlet schedule and it was vastly different than what I saw online. I realized I was going to be late and told Wiggy to go on without me. I made it there and found him having just arrived, and waiting for Daves Burnham and Wertz and Outlaw. We did three miles around the track to warm up, and I was already feeling light headed. I knew that early that 6x2k was definitely going to be ambitious, and I would have to scale back my effort.
I let the other guys go ahead when we started, but not enough, because despite my plans to run 80s and work down from there, I came through 400m in 76. I eased up a little more, but went 5:09 for the mile and finished in 6:28, feeling very relaxed. It was cold, though, and the recovery jog did more to hurt me than any running fast. I didn't join the others for their recovery, so I started alone, which helped for a while, but I still came through 800 in 2:35 before slowing to 5:12 at the mile but finishing in 6:29. Another chilly recovery, and I started in 75 and finished the 800 with a 78 before admitting I wasn't going to do much more worthwhile work on the track. I ran a long cooldown and did some drills, but not many. I was cold.
That said, the last time I did 2x2k, I ran 7:07, 7:01, so there is progress, just not as much as I would have liked.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The wind, OH, the WIND!

My slight illness continued Saturday, so I just turned off my alarm and slept until I woke up on my own. Oops, now it's 12:30.
It's long run week, and I ended up pushing pretty hard last time, so I tried to keep things slow, perhaps around 6:40, but that just didn't happen. Despite trying noticeably to slow down on the uphills, I came through seven miles at close to six minute pace, and didn't slow much. As I came to 57 minutes, I decided to keep it up until I hit Irvin, the loop's eponymous road marking the 10 mile point. I made it in 1:01:39- just under 6:10 per mile. It was kind of silly to keep that up, because I clearly wasn't as healthy as I could have been. I jogged a mile and went back to regular running for five more miles and finished averaging 6:35 pace. It was overcast in the low-to-mid 50s, and some of the nicest weather I had seen in a while.
Monday was even warmer, 67 by the time I ran around 2, but incredibly windy. I extended the Catholic loop once again, to 11 miles, and averaged 6:44, but was blown around the entire time. On the way back, coming down H street past Union Station, the wind was so brutal it pushed me off of the sidewalk. I was kind of stunned for the next hour after I finished.

Favorite Pittsburgh Runs #4

Stupid 20- When I was approaching the Marine Corps Marathon (note, not training for it, because that would have betrayed my amateurish attempt at the distance) I dug my heels when people asked about my long run, saying I wanted to run the marathon simply based on my 5k training. Hans Rottman consistently and emphatically advised against this, saying I needed at least one 20-mile run to work on maintaining my form as I tired, lest I injure myself. I placated him, putting together this route. I erred before my run by not eating enough- my date the night before and I opted to skip dinner to get good seats at a play, and I went to sleep without any real sustenance, but that seemed not to matter, as I averaged 6:33s for the 20 miles. It was a nice rebound from the average race I had the day before in Hazlewood.

Looking back, I really enjoyed the stretch of this loop coming down Washington Boulevard toward Butler Street. I was listening to a Morning Edition story about Alanzo Mourning while I ran on the trail parallel to Washington. The weather was perfect, with a slight chill, and barely any traffic -- a feature that usually makes Sunday morning my favorite time to run. Butler Street can be busy, but not that particular morning, in fact, I'm hard pressed to remember many cars at all. The first stretch through Squirrel Hill was pleasant, too. The first few miles kind of blended together, but the climbing the hill passing CMU toward the end will take a lot to forget. As much as I disliked betraying my plan for the marathon, I enjoyed this particular run.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"P word" runs = "exciting conclusion" runs

Thursday night I tried out the new Lewinsville loop, getting a little lost, but ending up running the same distance by cutting off an extra loop. It was 11 miles at 6:45 pace.

Friday after work, I ran an 6.5 miles around the Mall and Hains Point at 6:15 pace, then hit two miles hard on the Mall, taking quarter-mile splits but not looking, so I would focus more on maintaining a hard effort regardless of the splits and keeping it from becoming a time trial. I was hurting the first half mile, but got into a groove after that. I finished in 10:18- 5:07/5:11. About the same dropoff from mile one to two as last week(I used Henry Park again, so the second "half" was a little longer to make up for the slightly short loop), but that doesn't worry me too much. It's a 15-second improvement from last week, which, again, I a trying to avoid putting too much credence in, but I have to feel great. I ran 15 seconds per mile faster for 1.5 more miles before starting, and it was a good bit colder than the week before.

That's three workouts this week that went exceedingly well. I improved markedly in each, and am pretty confident a week before my first test- the By George 5k. It won't be a hard race, it's certainly getting the least focus, but it will be telling to see where I am and will help me calibrate my workout paces. I am shooting for breaking 16:30, then after a 10 minute recovery, I'll run a hard mile back on the course, jog around while I wait for the 10k guys to come back, and finish a hard mile with them. I'll do a medium interval workout on Tuesday, miles or 1ks, then do more turnover on Thursday.

Saturday I was feeling a little sick, so I slept in, skipped the store run again and did 5.5 in some substantial wind, and wrapped up the week at 75 miles. Given three hard workouts and my cough, it didn't seem prudent to push the mileage this week to 80. It seems better to do that as I increase long run distance, anyway.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Favorite Pittsburgh Runs #5

Center Ave- Alex introduced me to this gem in 2008, the morning after the Run for Roch, as if I hadn't run enough hills the day before.
We ran from his house in Highland Park, through the zoo and across the Highland Park Bridge to Aspinwall, with a quick left onto Center. Then the fun began.
Center Avenue is amazingly steep, and is the first of the Dirty Dozen hills that Pittsburgh bikers tackle each Thanksgiving weekend. After s slight respite on some flat (or at least, less steep ground), your turn onto Guyasuta -- not as steep, but still challenging. Getting to the top gives me the best lug turnover, and the downhill on Pasadena is scenic and easy on the legs. With the extended Squaw Run Park trail serving as an unpaved sidewalk, the stretch along Fox Chapel Road is much safer now. The only truly unpleasant part is passing the Waterworks, because drivers generally aren't on the lookout for runners on the shoulder.
I eventually added enough to cobble it into a 15-mile long run, with a warmup hill on Mossfield. I did it the day after Martha's Run.
In 2009, I sadly did not join in the Christmas day fun because I ate before Alex was scheduled to go, but I still waited halfway up the hill for him, with some Gatorade. His approach up Center is documented in the above photo.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Favorite Pittsburgh Runs #6

Sewickley Heights
The home of Gary Young and his house guest Derek Bond, who ran the 1995 Sewickley 5k in 15:00.
North of Sewickley, the hills slow down your pace, but not your intensity. It's the local training ground for Hounds Jeremy and Jocelyn Cornman and the routine biking route for Matt Ciccone. It's no wonder Quaker Valley's cross country and track teams have done so well with a place like that to train. It's a bit of a hike from the city, but once you get there it's well worth it. None of the roads are particularly great shortcuts, so vehicle traffic is delightfully light. You can run down the middle of the road most of the time, if you are so bold. It does give the feeling of a long road race.
I first ran it in 2009 after driving back from New York for my friend Dave's bachelor party, which was fueled mainly by 4+ pounds of meat I ate two nights before at a Brazilian steakhouse. I was in Sewickley for Jocelyn's birthday party and had to get a run in before I ate anything and found this route suited me nicely.
The incline gets a little more serious after passing Hallaway Road, and by time you reach Beech Ridge Road on Campmeeting Road, it's getting tough. The downhill that comes with Backbone Road, however, is a smooth reward for all the climbing.
Cutting through Walkers Park is an option on the way back down hill.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

95% of a great workout

I went in search of some social runners Tuesday after work to make sure I didn't go too crazy between my quarters on Monday and an impending 1200 workout on Wednesday. I took up several invitations to join the Potomac Runners for an evening run from the Capitol. Without knowing how far they would be running, I opted to get in a definite 3.5 with short loop through Capitol Hill. I waited in the wind by the reflecting pool for people to show up, and we headed off, a lot faster than I expected, on loop across the Potomac River. None of the people I knew were there, and for the most part, nobody talked. Though Becky warned me they would be too slow, it seemed like being relaxed and social was the last thing on their mind. Granted, the brutal winds had something to do with it, but we charged ahead. I ended up getting about 10.75.

Monday's quarters already started working for me, if not improving my turnover at least shifting my perspective on what is fast. Last time the workout was 6x1200, I ran 4:04, 3:58, 3:56, 4:00, 4:10, 76 and 72 for 400s. This time, I ran faster for my slowest than I did for my fastest from the earlier set. Running two seconds fast for each of the first quarters, I ran 3:55, 3:55, 3:49, 3:48 and 3:45. About 550 meters into the sixth, I started to feel the tension in my hips, necessary to maintain my control over my turnover, start to fade, and I stopped at 800 at 2:32. I waited for Murphy to come through on his last 1200 to try to block the wind for his ultimate lap, which I ran in 75. I stopped my last one because I preferred to have finished the workout well, but a few minutes later I was sure I could have pulled off another 75 to finish in 3:47.

I am happy with how it went, because until the last 250, I felt totally in control and confident in what I was doing. I just wish I had been confident enough to take a chance on that last lap and see what I had, even if it hurt. I am not sleeping well for some reason or another, and even though it has now been two months since the doctors cut the hell out of my throat, I still feel it recovering, so I guess I just have to sleep more. Little by little, though, I'm getting back to what I expect to run, given the focus I have given the pursuit.

I'll head home today and run an easy Lewinsville then come back in the morning and run another "long kick" ("p" word) workout on the mall before work tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The "P" word

Nothing pisses me off quite as much as the fact that the George Mason High School track, less than a half mile from my front door, is not open to the public. Before, it didn't confront me none, because compared to 13.1 and 26.2 miles, 400 meters seemed trivially short. Now that I have at least two track meets on the horizon, and I generally want to be faster, it's time I used a track.
I have that great Greenwich mile a half mile from my apartment the other direction, but it's on the road and these days I like to have more frequent feedback on splits.

Without the use of GMHS's track, I can use Bethesda-Chevy Chase (Wednesdays only for God's sake), Washington-Lee (convenient to the metro and well-lit, though crowded and I never seem to run well or consistently there), or George Marshall High School in McLean, about 1.8 miles away from home. It looks like it will be George Marshall for a lot of these workouts...

Friday I did a workout that I am loathe to call by its common name, thanks to a creepy ATP-less coach in Pittsburgh who loved to use it. Steve suggested I try them again, and I am trying to figure out some alternative terminology to describe it. "Finishing hard" seems appropriate, but describes most of my distance runs, these "p-word" runs involve a significantly harder effort at the end. Anyway, I started out with a five-mile loop from my office around the Lincoln Memorial and back to the mall near the Capitol, where I did the second thing I didn't care much for- running on the mall. It's usually too crowded with walkers to try to accomplish a workout, but the area between 4th and 7th streets, dubbed Henry Park, is just a little bit short of a half mile. I got there and launched into two hard miles, which I hit in 5:15 and 5:18, the second mile being exactly on pace with the first but necessitating maneuvering around two NPS police cars. The gravel path was pretty sloppy after a few days of melting snow and ice, so my footing wasn't great, but I was really happy with the work I did. 10:33 doesn't seem like much in comparison, but it was better than running equivalents of 5:09 and 5:14 on solid ground two days before with about four minutes rest.
Saturday I slept in through the freezing drizzle and eventually went out for an easy 9+ miles, out and back on the W&OD toward Vienna. It was mindless.

Sunday I tried my first long distance double, to give me a mental and physical break from long runs every weekend. I started out with a five mile run in the morning, an extended Idylwood Filler, for 6:15 pace. After a nap, I tried to alter my Scott's Run loop, and did 11.5 miles at 6:40 pace. I enjoy that loop a lot.

Monday I headed to the one nearby open track for some 400s, after a five mile warmup. George Marshall's lit track was home to youth lacrosse practice, with parents littering the track. All of those with whom I spoke complied gladly when I asked then to clear the first lane. I started out fast- 72 low, and tried to remind myself to keep it under control. two 74s later, I felt like I had a handle on it. I did another 72 and four 73s then made a quick bathroom break, but noticed little kids starting to meander into lane one. By the time I was 3/4 around a 72, four adults decided to stand in both lane one and two, frustrating me to to no end. Near the finish line, another couple just stood there, but on the outside of lane one, so I squeezed in front of them, hoping they'd get the picture. I just wanted to hold it for one more 400, and I managed to, despite another detour around the idiots in lanes one and two. I finished up with two 35 second 200s, thanked the people who moved for me and stayed out of my way, and headed back. I did the 400s in trainers with 200 m rest, and it was pretty hard. As I have written a lot, it has been a long time, about two years, since I have focused on my turnover, and it's going to take a while to make this second nature to me. Knowing that I have to run my fastest 400 12.5 times to even match my PR is sobering, but I just have to keep my focus on regaining this basic speed and comfort. The nice long warmup spared my calves any stress, though my 200 m jog might have been too little, at least toward the end of the workout. I also ran it in trainers, which I think was the right move- I didn't want to carry flats or even spikes five miles to the track and two miles home.
Hard work...

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.