"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, February 29, 2012

Don't you know running's bad for you?

I followed up a solid long run with a Rose-Fern Monday night, in the dark, the way it's supposed to be run. This time I kept things a little cooler than my 6:00 pace a few weeks before. 6:30s was more like it. Each of these runs holds a little more significance, because I'll be moving into the city, likely near Cleveland Park, at the end of June. The road loops that have been my stomping grounds for more than two and a half years will now require a metro trip. The tipping point was the distance. As long as I work in the city, it makes less and less sense to live out in Virginia. Adding in my social life and resistance to owning a car, along with the increased commuting times on the weekends, and the only compelling argument for me staying in Virginia is the running- I think it is unlikely I will find the quality of road loops that I enjoy now, and certainly traffic will be an issue. More conceptually, I love being a Virginian. Since the first time I was in the commonwealth for something more than driving somewhere else, it's been a place I want to be. But those 90 minute return trips home in the evening, the inertia to get going anywhere, the waiting around near the end of the orange line on weekends, the shuttle bus service between East and West Falls Church, the fatigue and irritation I feel at the end of the trips, the 1:45 it took for me to get to Regina and Clay's two Saturdays in a row...it may be worth it. I could have looked for a job in Virginia, but I didn't move here to work in the suburbs. There will be a time in my life where it will make sense for me to live in Virginia again, but during this process, I'll enjoy each run where I go 15 minutes without seeing a car just a little bit more.

I was feeling a little tired Tuesday night, so I opted for eight easy, watchless miles on the Westmoreland loop. The mileage I was missing would be easy to make up Friday during my workout.

Wednesday's track workout was just fine, but very unsatisfying. We ran 5x mile, all fast- 5:10, 5;06, 5:00, 4:58, 4:51. The group was so large that running consistently in the pack was impossible. One fellow in particular kept weaving in and out of lane one, making the entire mile a series of lulls. I wanted to do a sixth, but by that point, the big dawgs wanted to push it and despite running 70 for the first lap, I was off the back. All I really wanted was to run 4:50, anyway.

Thursday night, I returned to the Catholic loop, which I had neglected for months. I added a bit up to Riggs and around Lower Senate Park. 6:30s.

Friday, I boarded a Megabus for Pittsburgh to surprise my friend Nate for his 30th birthday. That's why I was shocked when I looked up and saw the Pigeon Coop and Camden Yards. Baltimore has no business on a trip between Washington and Pittsburgh. I inquired to the driver as to why we were there, and she admitted she was lost. I directed her back to I-70 and cautiously returned to my seat, aware this six-hour trip, already bloated, was going to be much longer. After a stop in Morgantown, she told us that dispatch center wanted her to wait for another bus to take us, because the transmission was fading. Instead, she drove us to Pittsburgh at about 40 mph. From the passenger's side, I watched us cruise by some dirt roads parallel to I-79 and I imagined running on them early in the morning, like when I worked for the Herald-Progress, like I was going to do when I took those newspaper jobs in western Maryland. I started second guessing my choices to move into the city, but the reality at the time, that I was riding a bus during a four-day weekend trip, reminded me to get with the program.

After reaching Pittsburgh, I waited 45 minutes for a bus to Highland Park, near Nate's house and an opportunity to get in a nice long workout before the party. I stuffed my bag in the park, right near where drug dealers leave stuff, Nate later told me, and warmed up around the outer loop to the park's inner loop. The inner loop could be a great place for a five-mile race, if only the full thing was shorter. The road loop is 1.1 miles, but by cutting a bit off using an access road, it's an even mile. My plan was 2x4 miles- 5:30s then 5:20s. I would be doing it with only one reference point for time- the mile. I got going and nearly missed the access road. It was pretty dark, and I thought it was going on a little long. Then it turned to the right, which didn't make sense. I realized I had missed the second turn. I kept things going and got back on track and hit 6:01 for what turned out to be 1.13 miles- 5:19 pace. I got it right the second time- 5:28, but when I finished the second mile, the aggregate of time I spent sitting on buses- almost nine hours, caught up with me, and I stopped. I ran a few laps around the reservoir and headed back around the remote outer loop. As I came around a curve, I saw a car headed my way, pretty odd considering the road really only went around the inside of the park. The car got closer and I realized it belonged to Nate- the very person my friends and I were trying to surprise. I hid my face as much as I could in case he took a second look, then as soon as he passed me I ran into the woods to hide. For the rest of my cooldown, whenever I saw a car, I hid behind a tree. This had a chilling effect on a few walkers who thought I was up to no good, but honestly, all I wanted to do was keep someone from seeing me...

The party setup went well, and despite several hints that would have given it away, Nate was surprised. He later asked me if I had been running earlier -- he had indeed seen me -- and said he had been running just about the same route an hour before- right when I would have been in the middle of my workout had the bus trip not been delayed.

The next morning, I drove out to Hampton to visit Javed and Jess. They moved from Fox Chapel, so runs from their house no longer involve a ridiculous hill at the end. Jess and I set out for a 13 miles run with a few loops around a horse riding thing. Farm? Playground? We cruised along at 7:40 pace, and I didn't mind at all, it was just right. Unlike my run with Jess in March 2010, this hills didn't bother me at all. When we finished and I headed back to my mom's car to head home for a nap, but suddenly my tailbone got really tight and weak and I freaked out. I jumped to the worst conclusion I could think of, a stress fracture, and texted the Red Fox, telling him I thought I broke my crotch, like he had. I definitely assumed the worst.


I took the rest of the day easy, by the time I went to Matt and Hilary's 30th birthday party I was so tired I was out of it. I got to see Brandon G and Greg, and talked to another runner named Todd who had it worst than me- he slipped while running and broke one of his vertebrae.

Sunday morning I met up with Nate, Mo, Ciccone, Websterm Nate's cousin Jessie and Scott for a run in Highland Park. It was the first time I had run with Webster since we were on the Mt. Lebanon track team together in 2000. He's been a loyal runner in the last few months, and is evidently planning to do a leg at the Pittsburgh Marathon relay! We dropped a few people off after four, did another loop to get to six, then Scott and I took Mo back to her house and finished up eight miles. I met Scott in 2008 when I hit on one of his grad school classmates at the Spring Thaw, and he turned out to be a delightful fellow. He and his wife, Sarah, are moving to Seattle, which is a bummer for Pittsburgh. When we were finishing up the last few miles, though, the left side of my pelvis start hurting. It wasn't good. I was convinced then that I had a stress fracture.

I headed back Monday evening. Wednesday morning I managed to get an appointment with an orthopedist out in Reston. Before he even heard my complaints, he asked about my running routine. As soon as he heard me say 90 miles a week, he went off on an anti-mileage screed and told me I could run three-mile runs and be fine. After some checking, he told me it was very unlikely I had any stress fractures and that pain I was feeling was a muscle sprain. I can attribute that to treating myself like a pack mule and carrying too many groceries at once home before having people over for brunch in January. The pain near my thigh was a hip adductor issue. A total of two weeks off should do it, but I was free to cross train. The oddest thing throughout all of this was the striking resemblance the guy bore to Matt Centrowitz (right), which gave the idea of those anti-running sentiments even more cognitive dissonance.

So I went back to work with a huge relief -- I would likely only miss about two weeks of training, and two of those days had already passed. With a swimming pool featuring a diving well on my way to work and a stationary bike in my office's basement, I had the tools to stay in shape and a short enough timeframe that I could keep the intensity up. I couldn't imagine doing it all much longer than that. I'm fortunate that the injury was not caused by running, so I don't have to re-engineer my form or anything like that.

That evening, I rode the stationary bike in the basement. It was miserable. I made it an hour, plus the fits and starts for a warmup. In the hour, I "biked" 21 miles.

Thursday, I realized I left my lock at the office, so I put off the pool and biked again. This time 75 minutes. Made it 25.8 miles in an hour this time, with more resistance.

Friday morning I woke up at 5:30 to get to Washington-Lee by 6. I took the plunge and returned to the refuge of the damned and injured. I hadn't done any serious aquajogging since 2002, when dealing with a stress fracture suffered in my pre-Richmond running days. Back then I had Jon Lauder, Nick Lauerman, Ian and Paul to keep me company. Now I was on my own. In my first two minutes, I wondered if I'd be able to keep it up, but after a while it became tolerable. For a while, Kristi the Pacer was at it, too, but my late start meant I'd eventually be on my own when she left. I made it 80 minutes before the stitch in the lining of my running shorts-swim trunks facsimile became too much for my inner thigh. I spent the rest of the way with my wool trousers irritating my skin. Work took too long for me to hit the bike before attending a happy hour with Murph to promote the Father's Day 8k.

I'm the black guy
Saturday morning I slept in rather than read to the pool, so I returned to my office gym for more biking. It was a rough day, to say the least. I made it 15 minutes on the bike before my focus started to wilt. I tried the elliptical, which I hated, and stopped after 15. Back to the bike- 15. That was enough. A shower and a bus ride to watch the Majority Whips take on Scare Force One in the roller derby, the only activity I could hope to boost my heart rate.

Sunday morning I woke up, took the metro out to Vienna, then biked out to Oak Marr, the only pool nearby that opened in the morning. I got there right at 10, and headed over to the diving well, where some people were swimming. I popped in and start to do my thing, when the guard told me it was closed for diving class. I headed over the lanes where people seemed to be doing rehab work, but the water was only four feet deep. Back to the swimming lanes, where some dude yelled at me. I tried to negotiate use of the half the diving well not being used, but liability concerns prevented that. So, with nowhere to do my cross training, I biked over to GMU to watch Aubrey, our one GRC athlete, run the 3k. Only it started at 2 and I was there at 11, so I watched some races about which I cared little, then took splits for Aubrey and then supervised a post-race workout outdoors. The GMU track looks pretty nice under the blue sky with bare trees to the south, and soft fields to the west. I wished I could run.

Monday morning I joined Cris and a few other ladies in the pool, and I truly appreciated their company as I churned my legs for two hours. I noticed how quickly the sun was filling the sky and I wondered if I was becoming a morning person. I biked for 80 minutes in the afternoon, having less trouble breaking through to a sustainable effort this time.

Tuesday morning I was alone in the pool for most of the two hours I was in there. I warmed  up and cooled down for 15 minutes each and did 45x one minute on, one minute off. It was almost easy. In the afternoon, I warmed up for the bike with 30 minutes, 11.1 miles, while reading, then I ditched my kindle for some music and biked 24.8 miles in an hour.

Wednesday morning, I slept in and prepared for the push for the next three and a half days off my feet to keep me in shape for what remains of my spring season. Fun Lizard and I will head up to the Van Metre five mile, then I'll train up until the Cherry Blossom race, where I will hopefully run fast enough to get a comp to the Pittsburgh Half. If not, then I guess I'll have to find another half before it gets too hot. I guess we'll see on Sunday if cross training works.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hey there, race...

I set out Friday afternoon to meet Witty at Galaudet when I saw this guy running toward me wearing a familiar navy blue long-sleeved shirt. It was nondescript, until I looked back and saw a big spider design on the back. It was one of the Richmond track shirts we got in 2002. I rushed back down 2nd Street NE to figure out who it was. I caught up and said "Scott? Colin?" Nope. I introduced myself, thinking I had met this fellow before and forgotten him. Maybe he was a freshman who didn't make it. As it turned out, it was a friend of a runner, whose name I won't mention in case it would somehow get him in trouble with Steve, so I'm just going to say it was Rhue.

I got to the track and wasn't feeling particularly great. Witty rolled up on a fancy bike and we got going with our 400s. We did a few in the mid 70s, then went down to 72 for a set, then low 70s and high 60s for four laps. I bowed out after 12, wanting to go out on top, and he kept going, so I paced him through a few 200s, going as fast as 30.

The weekend was incredibly stressful, in significant part due to the metro people replaced by a shuttle bus between Courthouse and Foggy Bottom, a huge delay. Ciccone was visiting from Pittsburgh, and he expressed an interest in running with me, so I put off my run on Saturday until the afternoon as to join him. The problem with arranging a schedule around visitors who don't prioritize running is that, for lack of a better explanation, they don't prioritize running. Eventually he said we should scrap the run, so I went out to get 12 on my own. It was dry but cool when I left, so I wore shorts and a long-sleeved shirt. I headed up Great Falls to Dolley Madison, and about three miles in, the cold rain started. It picked up as I rattled of 6:20 miles down Old Dominion until I hit Marymount and turned onto Yorktown. By the time I got back to my place, I was worried that the chill I suffered might damage my reproductive health. I warmed up by eating french toast sticks and cowering in a pile of towels. Aside from the chilly run, I was trying to figure out how to time a long run the next day to maximize the number of people to come out to Burke Lake.

I stayed at Regina and Clay's Saturday night in Bloomingdale on a surprisingly comfortable couch, with a plan to grab shoes and extra running clothes from my office before going to Alexandria to get a ride from the O'Haras. Matt brought up training questions before I left, though, and I wanted to answer them. Upon leaving, I hoped to get a bagel from McDonald's on the way. I then passed a blind woman who asked me to walk her to a bus stop five blocks away. I obliged her, but worried how long it would take. Upon seeing the bus leave before we got there, she then bid me walk her another six blocks, then find a cab for her. All of which I was pleased to do, but I was also hungry, thirsty and short on time. I bought a train to Gallery Place, and walked as fast as my loafers would take me to my office, grabbed my clothes and started running back. All of a sudden, Tender and Matias popped out of the metro station, it seemed. I was confused. I saw I had seven minutes until the yellow line came, so I ran back out and over to City Sports to get some body glide and sport beans to give me some sustenance. I got back in time for the train and made it to Alexandria with a minute to spare. We went to the lake and met up with Dolla Billzzz, Tex and Witty. Billzzz was content to run a little easier than the other three, and after we hit the dam on the first lap, I headed back and finished the 14+ miles with him. The weather was perfect- a little chilly, but clear, the light wind hassling us none. I then had some fried chicken at Safeway.

Monday night, I ran out from the Vienna metro to meet Karl and Mike, who interpreted our plans to mean Tuesday. After waiting for him, we started off for Sunrise Valley, and Karl noticed we got to our normal cruising pace faster than normal. I had been exhausted on the ride over and somehow kept my shit together for 13.25 miles, with an extra loop around the Vienna Metro afterward.

Tuesday night I extended a Thomas loop out to Upland for 13.25 again, averaging 6:27s. I somehow ran 5:40 for my fourth mile, which puzzled me, but I didn't stop my watch at any point.

Wednesday had some potential for disaster. I felt miserable during the warmup and was rushed a lot of the time. I also didn't really get into the groove during the first few 800s, which we hit in 2:31, 2:30, 2:27 and 2:27. I led the fifth, in 2:25, and sat back a little for 2:25, 2:22 and 2:22. I did feel a little tight around my tailbone, I'm not sure what the deal there was. With a long cooldown, I had 12.25. That night, I felt a little off in my lower body. During the workout, my tailbone felt stressed, which was really bizarre. I had a cramp in my right calf while stretching out in bed, and when I woke up, felt some odd tightness in my lower back.

I met up with Dave Burnham Thursday afternoon,. He was running home from work,. but he accompanied me to West Potomac Park and halfway to Hains Point before he turned back. Using the 2011 Marine Corps mile markers, I cruised some 6:15s, the eased up for my run back. Some chaunce tried to race me along the mall, it actually made me feel uneasy. I didn't feel any of those lower body muscular-skeletal issues.

Friday I woke up with no desire to run, and realized there were worse things in the world than taking a day off when you could physically and mentally really need one.By the time half of my work day was over, I knew it was the right move. I wondered how I'd even get the energy to get up and walk to the metro. Surprisingly, when I got home and went to bed, I had a difficult time falling asleep.

Saturday morning, I woke up at 6:30 to the sound of water pouring through the downspout near my window. I knew it was cold, and it was going to take a lot to get me out there. I went back to sleep until 7 to let that clear up, and when I stuck my head outside the porch, I saw it wasn't raining too much, but it was cold. I thought about bagging the Have a Heart for Hoffman-Boston Elementary School 5k, but then I thought about the last time I hung Dave out to dry (or soak) because I was afraid of adverse weather, the workout before Halloween, and I didn't want to do that to him again. I headed to the metro station to catch the shuttle bus to East Falls Church and walked two miles to the starting line. I warmed up with Dave, who, like me, had no real race plan. I wasn't feeling great, but considering the inertia that comes with mornings like that, I wasn't shocked. When the race started, we bolted out fast enough that within a few seconds, I couldn't hear anyone on our tails. I started to feel off when we dipped under Wilson Boulevard, but I kept going. My form didn't feel right, and I had no idea how fast we were going. We passed the mile in 4:57, and while I was surprised that we were going that fast, I also wasn't, because I was definitely working. I eased up a little bit, but at the same time, both my calves and shins started to tighten dramatically and I didn't have a good feel for them. Dave got farther and farther away and I gave up hope of catching back up with him -- we'd be on our own. I hit the turnaround at 8:06 and realized just how much I had slowed. The one nice thing about an out-and-back course is being able to see the other people in the race, so I got to bid good luck to our women's team (who finished 1-7) and others, including John Kendra and Mike Naff. I also got into a better groove with my form right before the turn, which made the second half more pleasant, even though I was running slower.I hit the second mile with a 5:29 split, and I can credit most of that to the downhill portion after the turn. I was paying for that first mile. I stopped even trying to catch back up with Dave and just kind of ran comfortably in. A few people shout to me that I should go get Dave, but I politely declined. I hit three miles in 5:17, much better, considering my effort, and finished up at 16:17 for second.
We sported a seven-woman team in the race, which attracted a serious crowd from non-racing GRC athletes. Breezy and Murph came by during their long run, Michelle took these wonderful photos, and a soccer mom who I later determined to be Dart showed up, too, along with Jerry, Avril's fiancee, Dave O'Hara and Rich Saunders. That kind of support, for a little 5k, was fantastic, and it demonstrated a major ancillary benefit to the GRC Racing Team. I had planned to do 2xmile on the W&OD after the race, but about two minutes into the first one, I just wanted to quit. One my way back, I bumped into the women's team and joined them for their cooldown, which helped me a lot. I ended up getting in 12 miles total. I considered doubling to get 85, but after a nap and seeing the trees bending to the wind's will, I was fine with 78. I needed a little break from the mileage.

On the surface, it was a better rust-buster than last year's By George 5k- 39 seconds better, though that race involved 1.5 miles into a heinous headwind, though a flatter course. This time, though, I'm not recovering from throat surgery. I was upset with my lack of feel for the pace, which took me out in the same split as my delightful Richmond 8k and disastrous Philly Half. I'm disappointed I didn't push through the discomfort in the second mile, I fell back from Dave like a hypothermia or carbon monoxide victim accepting his fate, even though it would have behooved me, and him, for me to stay with him. I couldn't help but wonder if some company for the last almost-two miles would have helped him break 16:00. I blame my leg issues on insufficient stretching, and I can fix that... easily. The positive, which Michelle pointed out, was that I maintained solid form at the end, which I hope will bode well for my ventures into the longer distances this spring.

My sleeping follies last week motivated me to force myself to wake up early, despite another late night that was largely such due to delays with the metro. I thought about delaying my long run for a day, but had little desire to run it in the dark after work, so I figured I'd just go out and face the wind, which evidently was supposed to make it feel like eight degrees. The whole damned loop is hilly. The bridges spanning the beltway were ridiculously windy, and for most of Georgetown Pike and Haycock, I seemed to be running right into the wind. Just like the last time I ran this loop, in October, I hit 11.1 miles in 1:11, which was pretty cool. The undulating hills on Georgetown Pike east of the beltway always beat the crud out of me. Lorraine, at 17, was awful, but not as long or steep as I always fear. I ended up hitting 19.1 miles at 6:30 pace, with only a little discomfort in my hips when I was coming down Orland at mile 17.75. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

My legs wrote a check my lungs couldn't cash

Friday morning came and I stayed in bed. That evening I did a Steelers loop, pretty easy.

I had hoped to do a Spider workout Saturday morning at the outdoor track at the PG County sports complex's outdoor track before watching some indoor races, but overnight snow and ice denied me that. Instead I sat inside and watched our boys (and girl) run the 5k and hang out with McGrath, Tender, Coach Jerry and the guys who raced. I went home and took a two-hour nap, then headed out in hopes that the ice had melted enough for me to do a workout. I tried to sneak onto George Mason's track, but though better of it. I ran over to the Greenwich Mile, which I had long neglected, but major portions were dangerously slick. It was getting dark, and it wasn't going to get any better. I tried out McLean, but the track was a downright bad idea, even for an easy quarter. So, I headed back on Sea Cliff and finished up a Westmoreland, then added a bit on the W&OD before heading home for a 12 mile run that gave me a chance to demonstrate my flexibility with making contingency running plans.

The next morning I woke up early (but after four hours of sleep) to do my long run, an 18-mile CBR. Ice still covered a lot of the side roads, so miles two and three were a frustrating ordeal, but once I got onto Idylwood, my footing improved dramatically. There were few cars on the road, the norm for Sunday mornings in northern Virginia, so I took advantage of the empty lanes. I came through eight miles in 50:30, averaging a little under 6:20, which surprised me, given how slowly I had to run before Idylwood. Chain Bridge Road was delightfully empty most of the time, and I never really felt too taxed by the climb up Glebe. Richmond Street was kind of rough, but once I got on Old Glebe, I was rolling again. I almost went the wrong way on Dittmar, but turned out to be okay, then went after the hills on Williamsburg. Heading south is a little harder, because the steep downhills hurt in a bad way.Once I got to West, I jumped on the W&OD to take to Shreve, which ended up being mostly ice, and turned around on the gravel parallel trail and headed back home for 18 miles, averaging 6:21.

It warmed up Monday and a lots of the ice melted, so I headed out to Vienna on the W&OD, did a loop, then came back for 11 miles. There was ice on the bridges, but otherwise, it wasn't too bad. Definitely came back faster.

I got up to run a Steelers loop before work Tuesday, and for the first time in a while, I felt awful during the run. Maybe it was the short rest after the run the night before, but I just felt like garbage.

I was feeling kind of tight for Wednesday's workout, but I ended up being okay. We did 2x1.5 miles, then 3x1200. Dangerous Dave and I alternated the lead and kept it pretty consistent. 1.5 mile repeats in 78s and 77s, then 1200s in 75s, 74 and 73s. Intestinal distress made the last ones uncomfortable, but I succeeded in spite.

When I left the house to run to work Thursday, I felt downright awful. I even wondered if I should go back. Once I got to Route 29, I was feeling better. I checked a few splits and realized I was going 6:30 on the Custis Trail. While passing the White House, I saw Sarah Morgan and Sarah Burnham within 15 seconds, which was funny. That evening, Karl wanted to run in Vienna, so I joined him for a while, we ran to the east, and he turned around at Virginia St and I went home for a total of 19.5 miles.

I slept in Friday and did a fartletk after work around Hains Point, one-minute intervals and rests. The wind was favorable on the west side, adversarial on the east side, and pleasant on Independence. Did a total of 11.5.

The next morning, I joined Elyse and Will and the Girls on the Run training program. I ran eight miles slowly with them, from Logan Circle through Dupont and Georgetown to the waterfront and Memorial Bridge, over the 14th street bridge and back to Logan, so I could stick to 90 miles.

I was exhausted Saturday, so I vowed not to set an alarm when I went to sleep and let my recovery dictate when I would do my long run/workout. I kept putting it off, until almost 2 in the afternoon. I headed out on Great Falls to Swinks Mill, the first time I had given that road a shot. It was a steep down and up, but pleasant. On the way back on Old Dominion, I managed to catch Mawflower this time, and I was glad I did- it was a nice quiet neighborhood with rolling hills that were a pleasure to run. Dolley Madison was clear when I crossed, so that was a nice touch, and I rolled up to McLean's track with time to spare before 50:00, meaning I averaged faster than 6:15 for the eight mile warmup. I was a little tired, but ready to go. It was pretty windy on the back stretch, and the flags on the goalposts were pretty much horizontal. My pacing was pretty much right on early on- 5:24 for the first mile, 5:22 for the second, 5:26 for the third and I was on my way to another 5:26 when I hit 20 minutes. I jogged the recovery very slowly at first, but felt better quickly. As rough as it felt during the first segment, I thought back to the same workout in October at BCC and how I felt a lot better in the second segment, so I hoped for that to happen. I also realized I was pretty tired, but this is what I wanted- to get 12 miles into the workout, feel beat and have another hard 20 minutes to go- this is where I would break down the mental barriers and push myself. I started out alright, 80 seconds for the first lap, but when I hit the wind on the back stretch, I had to push an awful lot- I hit 600 in 2:00 and realized I was breathing way too hard for the pace I was trying to go, and gave up. I was disgusted that I only lasted two minutes and missed most of the point of the workout- running at my goal half marathon pace when I was tired. I also though back to doing a similar workout without the 8 miles of fast warmup and that I fared better this time, so at least I am improving. I just wasn't at the somewhat arbitrary point where I wanted to be. I felt a little better after I added some distance to my "cool down" by heading out Old Chesterbrook to Old Dominion and back through New Virginia Manor, up the hills, to run 19 miles, my longest run since October. Coming up Massachusetts, I started to feel the cumulative effect of the mileage, but I also felt like I earned the sensation of submerging my face in a basin of cold water afterward to wash off the salt that had collected.

Monday evening, Karl and I ran out to Sunrise Valley on the W&OD and back for 12.5 miles.

Tuesday, I went back to Old Meadow, which I hadn't run in months. 11.25 miles at 6:47 pace.

I skipping my morning run Wednesday in favor of making steak and eggs for breakfast. I had been toyign with doing the faster workout paces, but ultimately decided to wait until after my 5k next weekend to judge if I am ready. This week, I wasn't. I felt great as we did 1.5 miles at 5:12 pace, 2k at 5:08 and a mile at 4:56, but two laps into the 1200 in 72s I started to feel my lose my feel for my lungs, so I dropped. Same thing after half of an 800, splitting 69. I was okay running 65 for the 400, but was dejected to not be able to push though the last lap of two of the intervals. It was the same feeling as Sunday, that I just wasn't as comfortable running those paces as I would like to be.

I wisely cancelled my morning run with JARRIN, then managed to sleep through two alarms, so whatever run I would do would have to be after work. I got home and headed out on a Rose and Fern and promptly ran it too fast. 5:55 pace through five miles, 6:01 through 10 and 19:59 for 5k after that.

I need to replace my camera, so I can include actual photos in these posts, and not just screen captures of Google Streetview scenes of places I run.