"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, April 29, 2011

There's nothing quite like depth in the 5k

Top A-10 times through April 25

5,000-Meter Run
Name Yr. Team Time
1 Benford, Andrew SR UR 13:55.88
2 Llano, Matt SR UR 14:00.01
3 Spisak, Jim SO DUQ 14:08.64
4 Quinn, Tim SR UR 14:08.96
5 Kauffmann, Tommy SR XU 14:13.02
6 McDonnell, Kevin JR SJU 14:19.64
7 Stolar, Mike JR DUQ 14:24.53
8 Hausherr, David SO LAS 14:29.83
9 Lee, Ryan FR UR 14:33.61
10 Anderson, Erik SR DUQ 14:34.1

Monday, April 25, 2011

One-day rebound

The Tuesday afternoon following the Boston trip, I did an easy 12 miles out and back to Vienna on the W&OD, averaging 6:50s.

Wednesday night's track workout did not go well. It was warm and I didn't come prepared with enough to drink. I was exhausted from the weekend's lack of sleep and I was getting a little sick, and running did not help this time. I did the first two miles fine- 5:14 and 5:08. After a few steps of the 5:05, I stopped running. I tried a few other times to start up again, but my will to go on really wasn't there. I jogged a few cooldown laps with Beth and Dart.

I stayed in Bethesda Wednesday night in hopes of getting a good night's sleep and dispensing with the hour-long trip home, but I ended up being unable to fall asleep until after 1. I got up at 6 to go meet Jake, Luffy and Karl to run, but felt fine. The weather was superb. We did a little more than 7 and I continued to feel fine, then got totally manic at work before crashing at 3. I ran five more miles when I got home, but was pretty wiped out, despite continuing awesome weather.

I planned to run around Crystal City during the evening 5k and watch the race, but the cold rain made me reconsider, in hope of keeping myself healthy for my workout the next morning.

That night in Princeton, Luffy ran 14:15 and Tim Quinn hit 14:08. I know I say it a lot, but I remember when guys on the Richmond team were impressed with Hannay ran 15:07. Now we have three guys under 14:09 (Benford- 13:55, Llano-14:00 and Quinn). The best part has been Tim's consistent improvement. To paraphrase my high school coach, you can train Benford and Llano by having them drink beer and lift weights...Quinn's improvement, along with the rest of the Spiders' depth, is testament to Steve's coaching acumen.

I was a little bummed nobody was interested in running the four mile special Saturday morning, but no matter, I would achieve on my own! I did a good warmup, put on my old Nike Milers from 2004, which only come out for the cross country alumni race, and had at it. Great pacing in the first mile- 75.04, 2:30 on the nose, 3:45.17, 5:00.09. My recovery 400 was not good, though- 94 seconds, and I rushed to get it that fast. I did a few 400s and 800s, but never really felt up to continuing to run. I couldn't put together a decent workout. Surely my choice of hobbies needed some reexamination... I sat around with my friend's bird I'm minding, pissed off.

I went home and lied around for a while. After drifting in and out of a nap for 45 minutes, I checked to see if Alex would be up for keeping me company on his bike while I did a 10/10/10 p-word. None such luck, he was going out to dinner. I'd be on my own again.

It was 70 degrees and humid when I got going. I felt light and energetic, better than I expected. I got going too fast- 2:40 at the half mile mark, so I made a conscious effort to slow down- it worked moderately- 5:30 at the mile. Ugh, fast again, I always take this workout out too fast. Then I had to wait on the median on Route 7 to cross, the first time traffic interrupted one of these. I stayed loose into the Pinecastle neighborhood, but still came through 45 seconds soon, so I jogged around until I hit 10 minutes. I kept things more under control in the second 10 minutes- 2:52 at the half (right on), but 5:38 at the mile. I switched the second 10 minutes to follow Virginia and do and out-and-back on Hurst and Center, which is a lot flatter than going down Nottingham and coming back up the trail by Idylwood Park right before starting the third 10 minute interval. I started my last interval hoping to run close to five minute pace, though the last two times I have done this workout I have faded in the fourth quarter of the first mile and averaged 5:15 and 5:17. The entire stretch is on the W&OD Trail, which has markers every half mile, though they don't line up exactly with where I start, but I have a few landmarks that are easy enough to see when I am trying to keep my eyes up. I hit Virginia Lane at 75 for a little more than a quarter, which is a little fast, but downhill, though narrow. The next half mile rolls, and I managed to keep a consistent rhythm, coming through that measured half in 2:30 and getting a passing compliment from a biker. This is where these workouts usually falter, and I felt like the heat was going to give me trouble, but when I hit the second marker I was at 4:59. With less than four minutes to go, I found no reason not to just keep going. The trail crosses a few small streets, but there was only traffic at one, and I got through the intersection faster as a result. Time was counting up to 30 minutes, and I just wanted to get close to the telephone pole near the Great Falls intersection that marked a little more than two miles from my starting point. I made it.

In the end, I had what was probably my best workout of the season, not 12 hours after what I thought was the end of my competitive season, because I couldn't imagine trying to race after having run like I did in the morning. I have run under 10 minutes for two miles twice this year- 9:55 and 9:56, both in track races, in spikes, pulled along by other runners, after a dead start. This time, after running decently hard for 20 minutes, with nothing really pulling me along, I ran pretty much the same pace. I also felt great doing it. When I have raced lately, I haven't felt the same drive I had from 2004-2009, when I would just go out and lead road races and still be pushing at the end with nobody to chase, including races where I didn't have anyone contend with me at all. There are a lot of workouts when I wonder where that drive has gone, then I have workouts like these, where I know I've found it. In the end, that is going to be necessary for me to run a good time at Maryland next Thursday. I'm not going to have a huge pack to stick in and run with, even if I have someone else, a good portion of my race will require the same drive that this workout took.

Sunday morning, I ran with Jake, JARRIN and Tex on the trails behind JARRIN Manor. It was warm, humid, muddy and hilly and I was pretty tired. I did about seven miles and called it a day. I decided against running in the afternoon.

Monday morning, I got up to do 400s at the George Marshall track. It was muggy and I was tired, but I got up there and started off with 70,69,70,69, with a large goose watching me from the long jump runway. When I started number five, though, that same ambivalence and malaise hit me, and I was done. I did some 200s, but I felt empty and once again lacking the drive to keep going. Suffice to say, 400s are hard on your own.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Breezy in Boston

I went to Boston to watch my mom run the city's marathon for the first time, so I decided to take in a 5k road race. Buoyed by a recharging 75 minute run Thursday in Falls Church with no set route and a pretty successful p-word run on Friday (10/10/10 at 6:00 (with a 5:45 first mile)/ 5:45/ 5:10), a long easy run with Melissa around the Mall Friday night and a short pre-race Saturday morning in a downpour, I was ready to go. My wallet was lighter after shelling out the $45.

I left my apartment at 9:50 to catch the metro to Greenbelt, where I took a bus to BWI, at which point I flew to Boston, where I took another bus to the subway. Almost six hours later, I shoved my way through a mob of people at the expo to get my bib, then I took a trip to Roxbury to have dinner with Pharaoh Hound Moira Davenport. I then went to Cambridge to crash at Dan Mazzocco's.

Dan was excited to show me the t-shirt I traded to him back in 2000 during high school. Our teams, Baldwin and Mt. Lebanon, were bitter rivals at the time, and it didn't help that my team was fairly insulated from others. Part of this came from the size of the team, and others in the area were smaller. Mt. Lebanon was also the strongest program in the south hills, and had been for years. Baldwin came together with a WPIAL-winning team very quickly and we had a full-scale struggle on our hands my senior year, in which we defended our unbeaten dual meet record but lost the championship to the Highlanders.
Plus, the close proximity of Brentwood, Baldwin, Bethel Park and South Park and their relatively smaller teams were conditions for those teams to have a much closer relationship. We mainly related to each other antagonistically, which I saw manifested in the Charlie VanGombos-Larry Quinn rivalry. Charlie took things pretty seriously, and Larry was a bit of a clown and, we thought, and ass. At the Tri-State Track Coaches' Association meet in the spring, I started talking with Bobby Toth and Dan on a whim, and found them to be agreeable fellas. Ryan Sheehan was also sociable, and the three of us traded our team's t-shirts. Scary Larry and Jeff "Hoag" Conroy were tougher to get to know, but now, I am more in touch with Quinn(who was running on Monday) than Charlie.
I ended up throwing one of the Baldwin shirts into a campfire and giving a photo of the engulfed shirt to Shawn Cavanaugh, who put it on his wall during his 2000 season racing Mazzocco for Pennsylvania cross country dominance.
The shirt is now threadbare, having been worn and washed for 11 years, but it still looks good. That classic gold on blue just seems right to me.

I got up at 6 and went to the race. It was raining and very windy. I felt alright during my warmup, but hardly sharp. I definitely felt like I had tried to pack too much into the previous afternoon. I started exactly the way I wanted to, coming through the first, uphill, mile in 5:05. The clock at the mark was five seconds fast, so I was worried, until I checked my watch. Then I slowed down in the second mile, which was stupid, because it was downhill. I just haven't been good at running downhills for several years. I came through the second mile in 5:10, and I realized the wind had been in our faces the entire race. I kept my eye on a Saucony rep named Dan I had met earlier, but I couldn't close the gap. I couldn't seem to will myself to run faster.

In the third mile, a Kenyan woman pulled up to me and I felt I could run faster with her, and we made up ground. She was exactly what I needed and it seemed like I was back on track. When we turned back onto Boylston, the wind no longer plagued us, and I was ready to just kick in like crazy. When I did, however, I started to see black spots on the bottoms of my eyes. I eased off until the disappeared, then I pushed again until they came back. I passed a group of five guys, but a few caught me again. I tried to stick with an NB Boston dude named Jeff, but he got away from me, as did the Kenyan woman, in the the last .1. Despite the clock edging up to the top of the 15s, I didn't push enough, and just kind of skipped across the line at 16:00, right behind three guys who re-passed me. I felt fine when the race was over, but couldn't understand why I couldn't push harder in mile two. I totally failed to take advantage of a downhill once again, and it boggled my mind that I ran slower for the second mile.

Less than an hour later, the wind was gone, the sky was clear, and I was wondering if the conditions I felt during the race were just my imagination. They weren't, but it didn't make me feel better. I didn't compete.

I had hoped to break into the top 10, but given that the top 10 guys all ran faster than 14:26, that hope was fleeting. The 5ks I have run in the last two weeks have each been the fastest and deepest fields of my life, and I have failed to capitalized on them.

I ran another three miles that afternoon in Sommerville, then my mom and cousin Lisa and I joined Watson, Hannay and the Sikoras for the BAA pasta dinner.

Watson, Hannay and Sherry, pictured here

Meanwhile, the Spiders ripped up the track at Mt. SAC on Thursday and Friday, with Benford running 13:55, Llano just barely missing breaking 14 with 14:00.01, Ryan Lee running an amazing 14:34 in his first collegiate 5k, York running 30:11, Amy and Nicol running 16:09 and 16:10 with Jill hitting 16:39. Really outstanding.

I stayed with Bain that night, and as he left for the race, he mentioned that Pilar's water had broken and JARRIN had left for DC after arriving less than eight hours before.
"At least he'll have some excitement today," I mumbled before falling back asleep.

A few hours later, I dropped off my bags at Shara's in Brookline near mile 24 and ran about eight miles of the course backwards. The wind, combined with the steep uphill for the first two miles, made me feel beaten down, but I still averaged 6:15s. I kept that up for almost eight miles, then turned around at the 16 mile mark and headed back, averaging easy 5:45s until the course closed to everyone at mile 21 when the wheelchair competitors came through. I got 15.5 in, total. After a delicious breakfast with Shara, I watched as the athletes I was there to see came through.
First up was Levi Grandt's sister Clara, running 2:29:54. Next was my Richmond teammate Seann Mulcahy, flying by on his way to a 2:33:24. Bain's 2:37:30 was next, Watson's 2:46:59, then Scott Koonce's in 2:53:09. Brian Quinn came through in 2:55:20, and I missed Hanny, who came through on his way to just over three hours. I was heading up the hill to a better spot when I saw Larry, slowing down and heading for the curb.

"Call Liz," he said. "Tell her I'm alright, but I hurt my calf."
Unfortunately, my phone had died, so calling his wife would take some doing. I ran into the Seven Eleven to get some change so I could use a pay phone, all the while repeating her number to myself to commit it to memory. Someone offered to let me use his cell phone, but when I dialed the number, I got some dude. Somewhere along the line I messed it up.
Mark Courtney came by, then Will and Elyse. I waited around for a while, and suddenly Joe came along with Lisa in tow.

Yep, that says "Joe's 26th Boston." I was getting weary from looking through the crowd for hours, and kept looking for the green top my mom was supposed to be wearing. All of a sudden I heard, "Charlie! Over here!" and there was my mom. Not wearing green.

I jogged a bit with her, but didn't want to leave my backpack with the relative strangers, with whom I had been sitting, with for too long.

After a crowded and slow trolley ride back downtown, I met mom and we traveled to the airport together. She ran 4:22:53, slower than her 4:16:16 debut in Pittsburgh two years before, but faster than last year' 4:30, also in Pittsburgh, despite training the least for this one. Most importantly, she had a really good time. She met another Pennsylvanian on the trip out to the start, and really had nothing bad to say about the race.

I've done this spectating trip for three years now and think I have had enough for a while. The race is too hard to watch, perchance I miss someone, and tourist is everywhere. The 5k is too expensive and I never put myself in a position to run well, with all that I do to make the trip worthwhile. I promised Pokey I would run Boston with him when he qualifies, but I hope that's a few years off. In spite of my reservations, however, I had a good time.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I love two things about myself, and both are my European haircut

Given the 10 miles I had run about 12 hours prior, when I woke up at 7 am Sunday, I decided to wait a little for my long run, canning my original plan to run down the Mt. Vernon trail to Alexandria to watch the end of the silly Pacers race. If I raced on the George Washington Parkway, I would rather it be farther north, near Langley. Around 10 or 10:30, I finally got going and decided to check out and extend the Brook loop in eastern McLean. I had last run it in early February, with snow everywhere, so it felt in a way like I was running it for the first time.

It was much easier this time because where there once was snow, I now saw paved paths, taking me off of the road, save for a half mile around the fourth. It made the run a lot more comfortable, not having to squeeze onto whatever shoulder had remained in the snow. I consciously held back, but still averaged 6:29 through my first nine. It was more prudent than my 6:10s the last time I ran it. After crossing the beltway, I started to head up and down some hills, especially once I hit the neighborhoods bordering Pimmit Run Stream Valley Park.

When I got out, they got worse. My fatigue, hunger and the hills on Birch beat the crud out of me, but that was nothing compared to Lorraine, which I had only run once, and I barely recalled it. At 15.5 miles, I hit a 20% grade that lasted about a tenth of a mile. I came down the long, gradual decline not particularly fast, but let letting my body go and my legs carry me, because I was just beaten. The last two miles were unremarkable. Despite the hills and feeling pretty cruddy, I averaged 6:40 on the nose for the last nine.

Monday gave me a preview of the mild summer days ahead, with a muggy 82 degrees when I got home from work. I planned on 3x8 minutes hard, but was ready to adjust it the second I got going. After a quicker-than-necessary warmup, I started my first set on Shreve Road, a rolling paved trail. I was able to cross Lee Highway without too much trouble and make it to Fairview Park Drive, for a 5:15 pace. I took a four minute jog that took me to the bridge over Route 50 and started my second surge, but the wind was ridiculous and dissuaded me without much argument. I decided to wait until the Fairview Park trail, but once I got there I was pretty tuckered out. I ran to the quarter-mile path around the pond and did four repetitions- 78, 74, 72 and 70, trying to keep myself relaxed. I jogged home and was happy to have that over.

Tuesday I just ran six out and back on the W&OD past Vienna, but the rain I expected didn't transpire. I tried to keep it easy, but I hit 6 miles in under 40 minutes. Luckily I had the wind at my back, so it slowed me down on the return trip.

Wednesday I felt bloated when I hit the track at BCC with Murphy, Nugget, Brian, Dangerous Dave and some dude named Victor. We ran 800s, 2:30, 2:32, 2:28, 2:26, 2:25, 2:23, 2:21, then I ran a 70 with Dave for his first lap and a 68 on my own after a little break. I didn't feel light at all, but I didn't have to push too much to hit most of the times. I felt pretty lethargic.

I'm going to improvise a 75 minute run this afternoon and then do another 10/10/10 tomorrow morning, though I will find some additional checkpoints to make sure I don't go too fast too early again. If I do the workout right, it will be a good way to get ready for a race 48 hours later.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

At least I outkicked the GW guy

I knew Nightingale was going to take the race out fast, so I thought I was sitting far enough back.

Clearly, it was not far enough back.

When I heard my first lap split was 69, I nearly had an aneurysm. What in God's name was I doing? I thought I was in the second group, the one running at a more moderate pace. After two more 71s, it became clear that was not the case, and George Mason had the deepest 5k field in the last decade or two. These guys aren't going to slow down, I realized, so I needed to back off. It was then I probably ruined the race I had found myself in.

Upon hearing how fast I was going, I had two productive choices- keep it up and burn myself out and see where it takes me, or immediately slow down and get back on my planned 4:55 pace. I did neither. From there it just got ugly. Through the mile in 4:47, the 2k in 7:20, but I was going the wrong way. Conor and Adam passed me then. Adam said something I couldn't make out and I mumbled in response. Then they were gone. I ran the second half on my own, struggling and getting slower. The only thing that buoyed my race was kicking down a George Washington kid. Their former coach, Jim Something, was a dick to me in 1999, so I have been taking it out on GW dudes ever since. Otherwise, I ran a gutless race for 15:48. I also beat two VMI guys, but they barely count.

That said, it was my 14th college-level track race, and by far the fastest 5k in which I have ever been embroiled. It was nice, though, to have Murph, L. Diddy, Stubbs, Lori, Jenn, Nicol, Erin, Skipper Little Benford and an assortment of other Spiders cheering for me. I just wish I had run smarter. Either way, faster or slower. There was no smart middle ground.
The 4:47 was my fastest mile in two years. I know I'm reasonably fast. The only training tweaks I can think of is not wearing a watch for my distance runs and finding some way to keep the slower portions of my "p-word" runs under control.
Next Sunday's B.A.A. 5k will be the first race I run this year that I had run last year, so I will get a good assessment of how much I have progressed.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A bit of rest

I made the gut-wrenching decision to forgo the Cherry Blossom race this year in favor of a few additional days of training to tackle the 5k. Sticking with Cherry Blossom would have added 10 miles and another race to create a five-week block of races, which, while fun, would not have been great for my training in the long run. The GMU invite for CB was an entirely rational decision and will be better for me in the end.

But it didn't feel that way when our 15 men and three women ran by in their GRC singlets. Every one of the guys had a fantastic race. Even in the rare instance when their time was not faster than before, running those times under those circumstances was an achievement. To not have run among my teammates in a race that we dominated was torture.

Instead I planned on an early morning fartlek that pretty much didn't happen. I slept a little more than three hours to wake up at 5 and head to the city with Nate and Luke. Those two slept in the car while I tried to do 3x(8 min hard, 2 easy, 2 hard, 4 easy) on Hains Point and the Mall, but it was a disaster from the start. I was using my heart rate monitor, and it suggested I was north of 180 during my warmup. Given my lack of sleep, that might have had shred of truth to it. After my 15 minute warmup, I had at it, but 44 seconds in, I knew I was asking too much of myself. I cruised along for another 45 seconds then decided to take it easy from then on.

In the afternoon I ran around Wiggy's hood of Twinbrook, down the Trolley Trail to North Bethesda with Danielle. After running with her for a while, I turned back and headed to Karl's and did some drills.

I had to have some dental work done to fix the unfortunate effects of the mouthpiece I briefly wore to try to ameliorate my sleep apnea. I had never worn a retainer before, and had not developed the half-conscious awareness of warming the retainer with water before removing it. Unable to sleep one night, I tore it out, severely damaging a molar, which eventually had to be removed. So, Monday was the day, and when I slept until 7:30, a likely outcome after being out of the house for 15 hours on Sunday, I ended up skipping my run and taking a day off.

Tuesday night I went out and ran a Thomas, focusing on staying relaxed. That, evidently, meant going pretty fast, because I averaged around 6:00 for my first four miles until I slowed down, realized how fast I was going.

Wednesday was ripe for a good workout- I was feeling good, the weather was great, the workout got shorter (6,5,4,3,2,1) and I was confident I could hit the A group's target times: 75s,74s,73s,72s,71s and a 68. Some of the later ones were ambitious, but I felt I could handle them.

I felt sluggish on the warmup, but managed to do a 2:30 800 at the end to get my legs ready to go. I followed the dudes through the 2400 in 7:25, so a little fast, but I felt totally comfortable, though my intestines were giving me some trouble. About 500m into the 2k, I started to feel them again, and realized it would be untenable. I cut off at 800 in 2:28-perfectly on pace- and headed up to the bathroom. When I got back, the group was doing a recovery lap and I was relaxed and ready to go for the mile. I was at 3:40 through 1200, but had a rough fourth lap and finished in 4:56, four seconds slow. The other guys, having run about 4:50, were already well ahead of me on the recovery, which they were doing much faster than I was used to. I caught them, and we started the 3:36-goal 1200, but I was out of it by the 200m. I was still beaten from the recovery that didn't take place. I ran with everyone for the last 400m, which I did in 70.
I did another 400 in 71 by myself, then prepared to run the 68-target 400 with everyone else. I told myself to stay loose, no matter what, and if running that fast would mean I would lose my loose form, I would stop. I made it 200m in 33 low before I tightened up. Good enough for a workout that was already over.

It was disheartening to see that even if I had been able to match their interval times, the amount of recovery I needed still separated me from the A group. I wonder if I will ever get there. What are reasonable goals, anyway? Then I lost my wallet, which made me feel even worse.

Thursday afternoon I did a 30 minute "p word" run, planning for 10 minutes at 6:00, 10 at 5:45 and 10 between 5:00 and 5:15. I got very lucky with the traffic at each crossing and never had to wait to cross. I was a little fast, though. I hit 5:30 for the first mile (way too fast!) and by the 1.6 mile mark, where I was supposed to hit 10 minutes, I was only at 9:00, meaning I had run 5:37 pace to get there. I ran in a big circle for a minute to start the next 10 minutes on the right mark. I ran more evenly there, hitting the half mile in 2:52 (though it was uphill) and the mile in 5:38. I ended up averaging 5:42 for the next 10. The last went pretty well, though I surely would have run faster had I controlled myself more early on. I ran 1.9 miles, averaging 5:15 pace. I was happy with it as a whole, though I really needed to correctly estimate my first mile pace. That kept me from dipping under 5:05-5:10 at the end.

I'll then have an easy day Friday before running the GMU Invite's 5k Saturday evening. I hope that I can run a better race on top of fixing what went wrong in my pre-race routine at Richmond.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Unbridled enthusiasm

I was tired throughout the day Friday and thought about cutting my recovery run completely, then I remembered the next three days' plans and figured I needed some buffer, so I went out for a Fineview Park loop and ended up feeling great, running 12.5 at 6:35 pace without feeling any effort.

The "p word" run Saturday didn't go well, mainly because it went too well early on. I ran 5.5 miles out on the CCT and headed back to Georgetown. My plan was to run 10 minutes moderate (5:40 pace), 10 medium (5:25-5:30) and 10 hard (5:10-5:15). Unfortunately, my enthusiasm for the workout bled right through and soaked me, because I missed the half mile marker and by the time I saw the second half marker,I had run a 5:10 mile. I slowed down, or so I thought, and came through the next half in 2:45, still fast. The first measurable mile of the second 10 minutes was 5:20, so again, too fast. By the time I got to the third 10 minutes I had only 90 seconds left in the tank. My calves were still tight from Wednesday and I had no spring in my step. That said, 30 minutes of pretty hard running, on top of the two five-mile medium runs, was a lot. After an easy 3.25 Fisherman's loop, I had my fifth straight 90 mile week.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chilly again

After a few false starts (the By George 5k and Van Metre Five Mile), I feel like I had an honest effort at the Spider Relays, even though I wasn't thrilled with the result. And, unlike the other two races, I want to get back at it to fix what I did wrong and train in a way commensurate with my goals.

Also, I decided to stop being scared. Friday night, as Molz and I were leaving the track, long after everyone had cleared out, we heard an engine and breaks squealing down Boatwright Drive. A car came speeding down the middle of the road, out of control, rolled over the curb, missing trees and fire hydrants by narrow margins and pulling into the Robins Center parking lot. If we had been a few yards ahead and in the middle of the street, we'd be dead. If anyone else was on the road, they'd be dead. If that driver had been a few feet to the left, he'd be dead. It was without a doubt the most frightening thing I have ever witnessed, but quite simply, I'm not afraid of something trivial like the pain of running fast anymore.
Monday, I got back to the point where running fast felt normal. I had a longish workout planned- five moderate miles, two easy, then hills on Highland. No real warmup, just speed up after a moderate first mile. I started off around 5:55 and got faster from there. On the Pimmit Hills loop, I hit two miles in 11:00, three in 16:25, four in 21:50 and five in 27:07. I lucked out in that I had the traffic light at Idylwood on my side, but I was delighted I ran just 12 seconds slower than my racing time for five miles, despite a slow first mile. I did 4x400m hills and 6x200m hill sprints and kept myself well under control, compared to two weeks prior. I never ran out of gas, and in addition to building some more speed, I think it will get me ready quite well for the first mile in Boston.

Tuesday I did a Marymount at 6:30 pace for 12.75 miles with rolling hills. The bike trail I picked up was nice and soft for a while, paved later, and steep toward the end, but it got me up to Glebe and Old Dominion, so I guess it had to be steep.

Wednesday night could have gone better. It was raining and in the low 40s, perhaps the high 30s, when I trudged from the metro to American's track. The darned B-CC students needed to use their track and we were displaced for the second week, though I missed last week's practice. I was soaked by the time I arrived and nobody was there. I did a nice warmup loop I put together and changed into my flats. Dickson was there and ready for our 5xmile, but Matt Logan was nowhere to be seen. We went ahead without him and opened with a 5:15, a second fast, then a 5:10, two seconds fast. We both noticed needing a lap or two to warm up, and the lap jog in between was seizing our legs more than we would have liked. I did a few drills during the second recovery to keep myself loose, and took us through in 5:08 high. Despite running much faster in other workouts, my legs didn't have the spring in my calves, thanks to the cold rain. Even when the drizzle cleared up, the first lane was mostly under water. With no drainage system, the track was a mess, and my feet were soaked. We ran the fourth mile a second slow, 5:05, and I can't remember where we faltered. I made a quick bathroom trip before the fifth, then foolishly hurried back to the line, giving me about 150m of recovery. I took us through 400m in 74, but I stopped, knowing my calves couldn't take much more. My lungs were fine, and I was aching to keep going, but it didn't seem like a good idea. I ran another 74 to lead Dickson through his last lap, and then I changed into dry clothes and stretched like crazy.

Thursday afternoon I headed out to Hains Point for a 5-6 mile moderate run using the MCM mile markers. After dealing with a little traffic on Ohio Drive in mile 12, I clocked a 5:33 and was pretty happy, then 5:34, and 5:35 at the turnaround, before going 5:27, 5:29. Unfortunately, in the last mile, my right shoelace started to get pretty loose, and I worried I would lose the shoe, so I stopped after five. I felt very comfortable running around 5:30s. It was chilly, but not rainy, so I felt better than the night before. I was pretty depleted by the time I got back to my office, and that lead to me really enjoying the Gatorade I had waiting for me.