Summer 2017 Training – Week 7

2017 Summer - Week 7 Infographic

2017 Summer – Week 7 Infographic

A week out from New York City Marathon training, I dialed down the intensity but kept my mileage up.  On Monday, I ran a 3 mile tempo run on the treadmill. The next day, I did a 12 miler through Arlington. I ran easy for the rest of the week until today.  I managed 14 miles total including the Fletcher’s Cove ParkRun.

Training Schedule
June 18th – June 24th

Sunday: Recovery Run. 8 miles.
Monday: Long Run. 16 miles.
Tuesday: Recovery Run. 6 miles.
Wednesday: Lactate threshold run. 9 miles w/4 miles @ 15K to half marathon pace.
Thursday: Medium Run. 13 miles.
Friday: Off.
Saturday: Fletcher’s Cove Park Run.

Mileage Total: ~55 Miles

Notes. In the end, my week looked nothing like this.  I decided to run hard earlier in the week and run longer later.

Goals. Run 55 miles for the week and lose 1 pound. Outcome: I hit the mileage goal but weighed in a little heavier than 124 pounds.

Workout Details

Lactate Threshold Run. 6 miles w/3 miles @ 15K to half marathon pace (AM) [Log Details] + Recovery Run. 4 miles (PM)

When I woke up, it was already 80 degrees.  That’s the temperature where I head inside.

For the warm-up, I set the treadmill for the 5.8 setting, which should be 10:21 pace.  My Garmin read a quicker pace, though.  It estimated my pace was closer to 9:00.  After approximately 2 miles, I increased the setting to 7.0, which should be 8:34 pace but my Garmin was showing paces in the 7:30s.  I wear a footpod on my Brooks Pure Flows every day so it should be calibrated.

That evening, I ran four miles on the treadmill to get my overall mileage up.  I switched to my Saucony Rides but wore the footpod in the same location.  I also ran on a different machine, put the treadmill on 5.8 again, and this time, it showed 8:20 pace!  That’s quite a difference.

Splits (by Garmin footpod)=7:35, 7:31, 7:32, 7:55, 7:44. Average=7:57.

Post Run Selfie - 06222017

Post Run Selfie – 06222017

Medium Run. 13 miles [Log Details].

I’ve really been trying to start these medium runs slow.  I did pretty well through the first few miles through Arlington to the Custis Trail.

At the mid-point of the run, I stopped for water and ate a Gu.  It was Gingerade flavor, which I thought I’d like, but it was bland tasting so I only had half.  I lingered for a little bit to catch my breath, but not as long as I have been.

I stopped again 2 miles later.  I drank a lot of water at the fountain but headed out again.  I picked up the pace a little.  A woman passed me, waved, and smiled.  I thought maybe I knew her because no one looked so happy in this heat.

I didn’t stop for water on the way home.

Overall pace=9:29.

 

Fletcher’s Cove Park Run [Race Report].

This was my second ParkRun.  Last week, I wanted to run the event at Fletcher’s Cove but didn’t give myself enough time to make the 9am start.  This time, I wanted to run 16 miles for the day (in the end, I ran 14) and ran over 5 miles before the race.  I ran 24:10 (7:45-7:53 pace).  The race was a little larger than Roosevelt Island with 70 finishers.  I placed 3rd for women.   I paced the run better this week and my splits were between 7:51 and 7:51 pace.

Fletcher's Cove ParkRun - 06242017 - Canoes on the Potomac

Fletcher’s Cove ParkRun – 06242017 – Canoes on the Potomac

Time=24:10.  Overall pace=7:45-7:53 (I think the course was short). 

Health

Injuries. My piriformis haven’t been bothering me recently. but I went for a chiropractic treatment yesterday.  I’m on a maintenance schedule of every three weeks.

Weight. Today, I weighed in at 126 pounds – a little heavier than my goal.  But, since my hard days were earlier in the week, I wasn’t concerned.

 

Weather

Morning air temperatures in the high 70s for most of the week and very humid.   Cooler by mid-week, though.

Racing Schedule

Future races.  I committed to running the Bourbon Chase with my Ragnar team, and bought my tickets this week!

Next race: 2017 Dulles Day 10K On the Runway on Saturday, September 23rd. (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

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Fletcher’s Cove ParkRun – June 24, 2017

Fletcher's Cove ParkRun - 06242017 - BannerScroll all the way down to the end of the post for the tl;dr version.

Prologue

I continued my race a weekend streak.  This summer, I ran the Capitol Hill Classic 10K, Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon, Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K, Lawyers Have Heart 10K and the ParkRun at Roosevelt Island last weekend.

This week, I front-loaded my hard workouts.  On Monday, I did a 3 mile tempo run and four easy miles on the treadmill.  On Tuesday, I ran 12 miles.  After that, I mostly ran easy with some sprints or pick-ups.  Yesterday, I took the day off.

I did my first ParkRun last weekend on Roosevelt Island.  I meant to do the event at Fletcher’s Cove but didn’t give myself enough time in the morning.  I was looking forward to seeing how the two runs compared.

Goals

Personal Records:

Achievable: Sub-24:30 (7:52 pace).  Last week’s race was rough but I thought I could repeat that effort but with better pacing.

Stretch: Sub-23:45 (7:37 pace).  Conditions were a little better than last week, so maybe I could hold on to the pace I started last week.

Strategy:  Run the first mile at 8:10 pace and try to speed up on the downhill turn-around.  I didn’t want this race to feel as bad as last week.

Course

The course is out-and-back on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath (“C&O Canal Towpath”) starting at Fletcher’s Cove.  It’s slightly uphill going out and a gentle downhill heading back.

ParkRuns are mostly fun runs, so there wasn’t crowd support or water stations on the course.

Playlist

I shuffled my playlist from last year’s New York City Marathon hoping it would inspire me.

Weather

The air temperature was high but it wasn’t terribly humid.

Fletchers Cove ParkRun - 06242017 - Weather

Fletcher’s Cove ParkRun – 06242017 – Weather

Pre-Race

I felt rested when I woke up but not particularly interested in racing.  I drank coffee before leaving the house around 7:35am.  My goal was to run 16 miles total for the day.  I parked in Rosslyn, Virginia,  I started my easy run just before crossing the Key Bridge into Georgetown across the river in Washington, DC.

Fletcher's Cove ParkRun - 06242017 - Run to Start

Fletcher’s Cove ParkRun – 06242017 – Run to Start

I jogged up the C&O Canal Towpath.  Knowing I was racing a 5K at 9am kept the pace honest.  About a mile in, I moved down to the Capital Crescent Trail, which parallels the C&O until Fletcher’s Cove, since there was some tree cover.  Along the way, I enjoyed beautiful views along the trail including of the Potomac River.  I reached Fletcher’s just short of 3 miles into the run.  I knew I made the right call last week – I wouldn’t have made it to the run on time.  I continued up the trail and turned around after 4.3 miles.

Back at Fletcher’s Cove, I had 10 minutes until the race.  I didn’t want that much rest but what’s done is done. I drank some water and got ready for the race.

With a few minutes until the start, we were huddled closer to the boathouse.  The volunteer asked similar questions as last week – was this anyone’s first ParkRun, is anyone visiting from out of town.  She said the runs weren’t races and I wondered if I was approaching the runs incorrectly by running hard.

At 9am, we went up to the trail.  I lined up in the second row.  A moment later, we were off!

The Race

Early Mile – Mile 0-1

A few runners streamed past me at the start.  It had rained earlier that morning and there were several puddles on the trail.  I avoided them while staying as far right as possible.  Two woman were ahead of me at the start – one in a singlet from her high school or college and another in a ParkRun tank.

I wanted to stay close to 8:10 pace but was running a little faster than that.  I thought about slowing down but the pace didn’t feel hard at all.  I wrestled with a lot of doubt.  I thought, Are you going to blow up again?  But, the conditions didn’t feel terrible.

Split (by Garmin)=7:55.

Fletcher's Cove ParkRun - 06242017 - Turn Around

Fletcher’s Cove ParkRun – 06242017 – Turn Around

Middle Mile, Mile 1-2

I hit the mile mark just past the point where the Chain Bridge goes over the towpath.  The young girl in the ParkRun singlet wasn’t too far ahead of me.  She was jockeying with a guy in a black shirt.  During my last two 5Ks, I felt terrible at the mid-point, but I didn’t feel too bad today.  I was tired, but not completely gassed.

I ran around the disk cone at the turn-around and headed back towards Fletcher’s Cove.  I was hopeful that the downhill but it didn’t materialize.  I noticed my overall pace wasn’t dropping.  I was holding 7:54 pace.

Split (by Garmin – 1.01 miles)=7:57.

Last Mile 2 to 3.1

I got lost in my thoughts and didn’t hit the lap button on my Garmin until after the two mile mark.  Looking ahead, I saw ParkRun Singlet Girl pulling away from the man in black shirt.  I could tell I was fading.  I focused on my form and trying to turn my legs over.  My overall pace increased to 7:55 pace.  I noticed the puddles weren’t an issue on the way back.  With about a quarter-mile to go, I saw the bridge at Fletcher’s Cove!  Still, I did shoulder checks whenever I veered left to make sure I wasn’t going to collide with anyone.  I suspected last week’s course was short and was happy to get a reprieve today.  There was a runner sitting on the ground clapping racers into the chute, which was nice.

Split (by Garmin – 1.06 miles)=8:20.

Post-Race

A young volunteer gave me a bar code tag so I could claim my finish time.  I pulled out my bar code and a timer matched the two.

I went to the water fountain across the canal.  I drank water a lot of water and ate a Hammer Gel.  Sufficiently rested, hydrated, and fueled; I set off back towards Georgetown for more easy running.

Fletcher's Cove ParkRun - 06242017 - Canoes on the Potomac

Fletcher’s Cove ParkRun – 06242017 – Canoes on the Potomac

I ran across the Key Bridge, went south to Roosevelt Island, and then went back to Rosslyn for a loop around the Marine Corps War Memorial.  I ended up with 14 miles on the day.

Result

I ran 24:10 (7:45-7:53 pace).  [Log Details].  Like last week, I think the course may have been short.  My Garmin measured just over 3 miles.  I was the 13th finisher out of 71, 3rd woman, and 1st in my age group.

Epilogue

I enjoyed the two ParkRuns I ran these past two weeks.  But, I’m an event runner!  I like races that bring out a lot of runners and crowd support.  But, I think they make good time trials.  I thought about working them into my long runs this summer.

My plan is to enjoy this last week before I start training for the New York City Marathon on July 2nd.  Racing every weekend kept me fit but I’m not sure it lit a fire in my belly the way I’d hoped.

Next race: 2017 Dulles Day on the Runway 10K on Saturday, September 23rd. (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

Abridged Version

This was my second ParkRun.  Last week, I wanted to run the event at Fletcher’s Cove but didn’t give myself enough time to make the 9am start.  This time, I wanted to run 16 miles for the day (in the end, I ran 14) and ran over 5 miles before the race.  I ran 24:10 (7:45-7:53 pace).  The race was a little larger than Roosevelt Island with 70 finishers.  I placed 3rd for women.   I paced the run better this week and my splits were between 7:51 and 7:51 pace.

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Summer 2017 Training – Week 6

 

2017 Summer - Week 6I slowed down a lot during my runs this week due to the heat and humidity.  Today, I ran my first ParkRun!  I’m about 3 weeks out from training for the 2017 New York City Marathon, but I found myself looking at multi-stage ultras

Training Schedule
June 11th – June 17th

Sunday: Medium Run. 12 miles.
Monday: Recovery Run. 8 miles.
Tuesday: Off.
Wednesday: Long Run. 16 miles.
Thursday: General Aerobic Run. 8 miles.
Friday: Recovery Run. 8 miles.
Saturday: Fletcher’s Cove Park Run.

Mileage Total: ~50-55 Miles

Notes. I slept in on Sunday and by the time I was ready to run, it was already 80 degrees outside.  So, I skipped that run and moved it to Monday.  That change led to other adjustments.  For instance, having had an off day on Sunday, I didn’t want to take another off day on Tuesday.  I pushed my long run to Thursday but didn’t get up early enough to complete 16 miles.  In short, nothing turned out as planned this week.

Goals. Run at least 50 miles and close the week at 125 pounds.  Outcome: A little short in one area and over in the other.  I ran 49.5 miles and weighed in around 123 pounds.

Workout Details

Medium Run. 12 miles [Log Details].

It was hot from the start – 74 degrees and 85% humidity.  I thought it would be good to just run as slow as possible and try to get acclimated to the heat.

During the early miles, the pace felt almost too easy.  But, I reminded myself that it always feels easy early and that I regret increasing the pace later.  I made my way through Arlington until I made it to the Custis Trail.   I slowed down significantly on the long uphill along Lee Highway.  I felt a little better on the rollers but stopped for water at Nelson Street to refill my Nathan Handheld.  I didn’t stay long, though.  I wanted to run easy enough that I wouldn’t use these water stops as an excuse to rest.

Two miles down the road, though, I stopped for water on the W&OD Trail.  Luckily, there were two cyclist talking by the fountain and I got the sense if I lingered they’d draw me into their conversation.  I ran a little faster since this section of the trail was downhill.

Overall pace=9:47.

Long Medium Run. 16 miles 13 miles [Log Details].

It was a stressful work week and by Thursday, I wanted sleep more than I wanted to run.  But, since I knew my plan was to start training for the 2017 New York City Marathon in a few weeks, I wanted to keep my mileage up.  I couldn’t take two off days this week.

I focused on take the early miles very easy.  I made sure I wasn’t breathing heavy or sweating too much on this 70+ degree morning.

Gravelly Point - 06152017

Gravelly Point – 06152017

Roosevelt Island Water Fountain - 06152017

Roosevelt Island Water Fountain – 06152017

At the 5 mile mark – a third of the way through – I increased the pace a little.  At times, I knew I was running a little too hard and forced myself back into a moderate effort.

When I got to Roosevelt Island, I saw a new water fountain!  There aren’t many of them on the Mount Vernon Trail so this oasis was a sight for sore eyes.  I stopped to drink but the water had a chlorine taste to it that stopped me from enjoying it.  As I restarted my run, I ran past my friend and Pace the Nation host.

A couple of miles later, during a low point, I heard someone yell, “Hey, good lookin’!”  It was one of my Ragnar teammates!  Wow!  Even when I don’t expect it, they lift me up when I’m down.

I continued running by effort on the Custis Trail, but the slower pace meant the run was taking longer than I expected.  I realized I wouldn’t finish the route I planned in time to shower and get to work on time so I caught a bus home after 14 miles.

Overall pace=9:36.

Fletcher’s Cove Roosevelt Island Park Run [Race Report].

I heard about a weekly ParkRun at Fletcher’s Cove a while ago.  I thought this would be a good weekend to see what they’re about.  I didn’t give myself enough time to make it to Fletcher’s Cove by 9am, so I ran the event at Roosevelt Island instead.  While I’ve run past it hundreds of times, I’ve only visited the Island once – over a decade ago before I was a runner.

Roosevelt Monument - 06172017

Roosevelt Monument – 06172017

The race was very small and low-key – there were only 55 finishers.  I didn’t pace the race well but this time, I think I suffered from the conditions – about 75 degrees and 94% humidity at the start.  Still, I placed 2nd for women.

After the race, I ran across the Roosevelt Bridge into Washington, D.C. – something else I hadn’t done before!

View from the Roosevelt Bridge - 06172017

View from the Roosevelt Bridge – 06172017

I would do another ParkRun.  But next time, I’ll get up earlier.

Time=24:37.  Overall pace=7:54-8:10 (I think the course was short). 

Health

Injuries.  Starting Friday’s run, I had a momentary panic – Did I forget my chiropractic appointment?!  The treatments became such a part of my routine that it felt weird not going.  My left piriformis, the side that causes me problems, was calm this week.  On some runs, both hips ached a little.

Weight. I hit my weight goal for the week by over a pound!  I suspect some of the loss was water since it’s been so hot this week, but it’s definitely trending down.

Weather

This was the first thoroughly hot and humid week of the summer.  For most of my morning runs, the temperature was 70 degrees and muggy.  Today, the humidity was over 90%!

Racing Schedule

Future races.  As a result of a podcast I listened to this week, I found myself visiting ultramarathon race calendars.  Don’t worry – I haven’t registered for anything yet…

Next race: Fletcher’s Cove Park Run on Saturday, June 24, 2017 (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

What does your mileage look like heading into marathon training?

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Roosevelt Island ParkRun – June 17, 2017

Roosevelt Island ParkRun - 06172017 - BannerScroll all the way down to the end of the post for the tl;dr version.

Prologue

I’ve been racing every weekend this summer.  In the past month, I’ve done the Capitol Hill Classic 10K, Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon, Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K, and Lawyers Have Heart 10K.  This week, I ran two medium distance runs – one 12 and the other 13 miles – but mostly kept my effort short and easy due to the heat and humidity.

I heard about a weekly ParkRun at Fletcher’s Cove a while ago and thought this would be a good weekend to see what they’re about.

Goals

Personal Records:

Achievable: Sub-23:00 (7:23 pace).  It was going to be a hotter day and I ran a 13 miler two days before, but I thought I could get close to my time from a couple of weeks ago.

Stretch: Sub-22:30 (7:13 pace).  Maybe I could get close to what I ran two weeks ago.

Strategy:  My usual approach to the 5K – go out hard and try to hold on.

Course

*** Spoiler Alert!***  I didn’t run the Fletcher’s Cove ParkRun.  I ended up running the Roosevelt Island event instead!

The course was gravel trail running through the park on Roosevelt Island.  Due to a downed tree, the course was re-routed on this day.  Instead of the normal route along the outside of the island as depicted below, we did a couple of loops closer to the monument in the interior.

These races are very low-key.  There wasn’t any crowd support or formal water stops but there were water fountains on the course.

Playlist

Just like last weekend, I shuffled my playlist from the Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon.  I’m getting a lot of use from this one.

Pre-Race

I felt terrible when I woke up.  It was an exhausting week – work stress coupled with energy sapping training runs in the heat and humidity left me desperate for sleep.  I had some coffee and water, but I didn’t eat anything before the race.  For some reason, I couldn’t log on to the ParkRun website to download my bar-code through my laptop and had to do it through my smartphone.  By the time I printed it out, it was 8:15am and the race started at 9am!  I rushed out the door but then realized, I forgot my visor.  I ran back for that and started to worry abut making it to the race on time.

Like last week, my plan was to park in Rosslyn.  Then, I’d jog up to Fletcher’s Cove for the race.  My goal was to run 8 miles for the day.  As I was driving, I started doing math.  I’ve run the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath from Georgetown numerous times and I thought it was about 2 miles.  It would be at least a half mile jog to Georgetown.  And, I didn’t know how long registration might take.

By the time I parked, I convinced myself I didn’t have enough time to make the Fletcher’s Cove run.  But, I remembered there was also a ParkRun at Roosevelt Island.  I switched plans and jogged there instead.

Although I’ve probably run past Roosevelt Island hundreds of times, I’ve never crossed the bridge!  In fact, I’ve only been there once and that was at least 10 years ago.  I arrived at the starting area and talked with the timer about the course and how the timing worked.  As it turns out, the bar-code isn’t used to register but instead it’s used to claim your finish time.  I jogged a little more and visited the monument.

Roosevelt Monument - 06172017

Roosevelt Monument – 06172017

At 9am, the organizers made some announcements.  A woman asked how many of us were doing our first ParkRun and I raised my hand.  She also asked how many of us were from other countries or other places in the United States and a lot of people raised there hands.  After a few other remarks, they sent us off!

Weather

Misery.

Roosevelt Island ParkRun - 06172017 - Weather

Roosevelt Island ParkRun – 06172017 – Weather

The Race

Early Mile – Mile 1

I quickly made my way towards the front of the group.  Even though I didn’t feel great, my legs seemed to have a lot of spring in them.  I moved to the right of the trail since the race wasn’t closed off to visitors.

There were two women ahead of me at the start.  I passed one of the women after the half mile mark.  A young, male runner with terrible form sprinted past me.  I passed him back a short time later, but he surged and went by me.

The course went past the memorial to President Roosevelt and then slightly downhill before the 1 mile mark.  The turn-around was a sharp turn around a safety cone.  On the way back uphill, I kept looking at my Garmin as it counted up to the first mile.  I clicked off 7:54 pace and thought, “Wow, that’s slow.”

Middle Mile, Mile 2

Soon after the first mile, the course looped around the monument.  On the other side, I passed the young runner.  He tried to stay with me but this time, I sped up.  A few moments later, I heard foot-falls and thought it was him again but it was a runner in a yellow shirt passing me.  I sped up hoping he was behind me for good.

I saw the front runners and knew this segment of the course was another loop.  This turn-around wasn’t as abrupt, though.

Just like 2 weeks ago, I felt terrible at the mid-point.  I felt defeated.  My Garmin was showing an overall pace well above 8:00 pace.  I passed a back-of-the-pack runner and she told me, “Chin up” and for a moment, I raised my head and got my stride back.

Later Mile 3 to 3.1

Just past the 2 mile mark, the course turned back again.  The terrain was slightly uphill and I slowed down significantly.  I saw the woman behind me.  She was about as far back from me as I was from the woman in first.

The course took another loop around the monument.  I managed to run slightly faster knowing the race was almost over.  I saw the back-of-the-packer and she said something encouraging again.  I thought, “She is the best!”

As I trudged on, I starting feeling very sick to my stomach.  I told myself, “You can’t throw up.”  It became my secondary goal:

  1. Finish the race.
  2. Don’t throw up.

There was a slight incline with less than a half mile to go.  I got passed by another guy in a yellow shirt but I didn’t care.  After cresting the hill, I felt a little better.  I did a subtle shoulder check and didn’t see anyone else behind me.  Finally, the finish line!

Post-Race

The timer gave me a tag and I waited in line so it could be matched with my bar-code.  When I caught my breath, I crossed the bridge back to the mainland.  I drank some water from the new water fountain.  I gave some of the other runners head nods.  I wanted 8 miles on the day, so I started my easy run after a few minutes.  I decided to make this a day of firsts and ran across the Potomac River on the Roosevelt Bridge – something else I’d never done.

View from the Roosevelt Bridge - 06172017

View from the Roosevelt Bridge – 06172017

Result

I ran 24:37 (7:54-8:10 pace).  [Log Details].  My Garmin measured 3 miles.  Normally, I wouldn’t put much credence in that, but since the course was re-routed, I’m thinking it may have been short.  I was the 13th finisher out of 55 (top 13%), 2nd woman, and 1st in my age group.

Epilogue

It was another pacing disaster but I’m going to blame this one on the weather and Thursday’s medium run.  I just wilted and ran out of gas.

Beyond the race itself, I thought it would be interesting to do a ParkRun as time trials to track my progress since they’re every week, at the same time, on the same course.

Next race: Fletcher’s Cove Park Run on Saturday, June 24, 2017 (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

Abridged Version

I ran 24:37 (7:54-8:10 pace).  I heard about a weekly ParkRun at Fletcher’s Cove a while ago.  I thought this would be a good weekend to see what they’re about.  I didn’t give myself enough time to make it to Fletcher’s Cove by 9am, so I ran the event at Roosevelt Island instead.  The race was very small and low-key – there were only 55 finishers.  I didn’t pace the race well but this time, I think I suffered from the conditions – about 75 degrees and 94% humidity at the start.  Still, I placed 2nd for women.  I would do another ParkRun.  Next time, I’ll get up earlier.

Posted in Race Reports, Races | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Training Supplement – June 16, 2017

Training Supplement Banner - 0616117

Listened to lots of podcasts these past few weeks.  One got me thinking about multi-stage ultramarathon events.  Am I too old to try something that grueling?  Excited to see a new water fountain on the Mount Vernon Trail!  Got my first Runner’s World Box.

Clothing & Gear

Saucony Impulse Short - Black

Saucony Impulse Short – Black

Shorts.  Saucony Impulse Short ($48).  I ordered another pair of what is currently my favorite running short.  At this point, I think I own four pairs and am cycling out my previous favorite short – the Nike 3″ Tempo Short.  I’ve noticed the fit has changed slightly – some pairs are slightly roomier through the hips than others and the back pocket on some is slightly smaller.

Scales.  Garmin Smart Index Scale ($149.99).  I got in the habit of weighing myself after longer runs during the summer to see how much water I might need to take in during the day.  Unfortunately, this scale won’t log a second weight for the day without deleting the first .  It’s very frustrating.  In my case, I don’t even want to save the second weight.  So, it would be great if there was to make the scale ignore the weigh in.  It’s hard to understand why this feature wasn’t built in.

(My Complete Clothes & Gear Page.)

Nutrition & Hydration

Gels.  Power Bar Simple Fruit.  This is the first of two gels I received from Strideboxes that I tried recently.  I took this gel on a medium run last week.  It tasted like applesauce and pure sugar.  The main ingredients are Apple Juice Concentrate and Apple Puree Concentrate.  It was so sweet that I didn’t finish it.  It’s 100 calories.

Chocolate #9.  I ate this gel during yesterday’s 13 miler.  It’s made from agave and it was super sweet!  It’s branded as a slow release, low glycemic index gel.  It’s only 70 calories, 15g of carbohydrate and less than 1g of protein and fat.  I suspect this type of gel might be better for triathletes than runners, but haven’t had a chance to research to topic, yet.

Post-workout NutritionHealth Warrior Bar.  This bar was from one of my Strideboxes, too.  I tried it for breakfast after a tempo run.  It’s made from pumpkin seeds and was cinnamon spice flavor.  It’s 280 calories, 12g of carbohydrate, 8g of protein, and 12g of fat.

Runner’s World Box.  I cancelled my Stridebox subscription and signed up for the Runner’s World Box so I could try something new.  My first box arrived!  First impressions: it’s bigger than Stridebox, which gave me hope that it might have more gear.

Stridebox and Runner's World Box

Stridebox and Runner’s World Box

Runners World Box - May 2017

Runners World Box – May 2017

Inside, there were two gear items – socks and a  therapy ball.  I thought the food items were  a little random.  Chips and tuna aren’t usually considered performance foods, but I suppose they are healthy.  The health bar was coconut flavor, which I don’t like, but I’ll give it a go.  I was excited about the tart cherry juice, though, since I’ve never tried that.  I was happy that the FlipBelt coupon lets me pick the one I want.

Routes

Safety.  The safety improvements on the Mount Vernon Trail (“MVT”) near Roosevelt Island appear complete.  Coming down the Trail from Rosslyn, the path is a little wider and next to the river and very nicely paved.  Crossing the parking lot, there are better markings on the road to indicate lanes for runners and bicyclists.

Roosevelt Island Improvements - 06012017

Roosevelt Island Improvements – 06012017

 

Roosevelt Island Water Fountain - 06152017

Roosevelt Island Water Fountain – 06152017

Water Fountains.  There’s a new water fountain on the Mount Vernon Trail near Roosevelt Island!  I tried it yesterday and thought the water had a little too much chlorine in it, but hopefully, that’ll change.  It was a very welcomed sight heading into the summer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media & Motivation

Music.  “Fighter,” Christina Aguilera.  This song came on while I was struggling during a tempo run.  It definitely helped me run harder.

(My “Songs of the Week” playlist on Spotify.)

Podcasts.  “The Dawn of Biohacking: Using Biomarkers to Optimize Your Unique Wiring for Peak Performance and Health – Chris Kelly,” RunnersConnect Run to the Top.  The bio-marker part wasn’t as interesting to me, but the part towards the end about getting your body to a state where it burns more fat was.  I’m not someone who downs a lot of gels during races – I think my record is still four.  But, generally, my diet is heavy on carbohyrdrates and I wonder if I should look at eating more protein and fat.

Episode 386 – Elisabet Barnes,” by Marathon Talk.  I listened to this during Monday’s medium run and the discussion of the Marathon Des Sables (or MdS, as they call it on the show) kept me captivated.  I knew nothing about multi-stage endurance events and learned a lot from this interview.  Over the years, I’ve been asked whether I’d ever run an ultramarathon.  For some reason, this type of event is more interesting to me than a straight 50 miler.  I had a similar reaction to the Barkley Marathons.  Which is funny because I don’t camp.  (Although, maybe it’s kinda like Ragnar.)

It’s Never Too Late to be What You Might Have Been – Cherie Gruenfeld,” from RunnersConnect.  During a run, I thought, “You are too old to take up multi-day ultramarathons.  I immediately thought of this cast.  She told a charming story about how she started running in her early 40s after watching the Los Angeles Marathon on television.  Now, she does triathlons.

Episode 56: Boston Bound?,” from Runner’s World Show.  I followed his “moon shot”, which paralleled Nike’s Breaking2 project.  I was happy that they devoted a show to his race.  Even though I knew the outcome, it was a suspenseful episode.  I hope he gets in.

Motivation.  “The starting point of all achievement is desire.” – Napoleon Hill

My motivation is pretty low right now.  I’m not super excited to start training for the New York City Marathon.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m looking forward to running it.  Just not training for it.

Have you done a multi-day ultramarathon?

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2017 Lawyers Have Heart 10K

2017 Lawyers Have Heart 10K- Banner

Scroll all the way down to the end of the post for the tl;dr version.

Prologue

I had a mild case of post-marathon blues after the 2017 Eugene Marathon and thought racing more would help.  In the past month, I’ve done the Capitol Hill Classic 10K, Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon, and Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K.  I can’t say it’s helped, though.

I had a pretty active week.  I ran a 4 mile tempo run on Tuesday and a 12 miler on Wednesday.  I took Thursday off, though, and ran easy the day before the race.

Goals

Personal Records:

  • 10K PR: 42:41 (6:51 pace) at the 2012 Clarendon Day 10K.
  • Course PR: 43:07 (6:55 pace) at the 2014 Lawyers Have Heart 10K.
  • Most Recent 10K: 48:25 (7:46 pace) at the 2017 Capitol Hill Classic 10K.

Achievable: Sub-48:30 (7:47 pace). I ran this pace a couple of weeks ago at the Capitol Hill Classic 10K and I should be able to repeat it even with the workouts I did this week.

Stretch: Sub-46:30 (7:28 pace).  I ran 7:07 pace for 5K last weekend and I think 10K pace is roughly 20 seconds/mile slower.  But, this course is tougher and the weather conditions are usually miserable.

Strategy: Buck the recent trend by starting slow and finishing fast.

Course

The course is basically two 5K loops.  It starts near the Georgetown Waterfront on K Street.  It goes out Canal Road just before it starts the uphill climb near Georgetown University and then back towards downtown.  It runs right onto the Potomac River Expressway southbound and then up north to E Street, NW.  It goes a few blocks around the 17th St. area before heading up Virginia Avenue back to the Georgetown Waterfront.

There are water stops with sponges during both loops.  But, there really isn’t any crowd support except heading into the finish on K Street.

Playlist

I didn’t have time to make a playlist, so I used the one I created for the Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon. 

Weather

Typically, the weather for this race is horrid but today it was downright pleasant!

2017 Lawyers Have Heart 10K - Weather

2017 Lawyers Have Heart 10K – Weather

Pre-Race

Waking up at 4am, I thought I got up too early.  But after thinking about it, realized it was about right for a 7am start.  I drank some coffee, ate a breakfast bar, and left the house at 5:45am.  I parked in Rosslyn, Virginia and planned a warm-up jog to the start in Georgetown.  I pulled out my in-vehicle electronic parking meter to avoid getting a ticket and saw my balance was low.  Parking restrictions would start at 8am and I wasn’t sure I had enough funds on the device.

 

Georgetown from Key Bridge - 06102017

Georgetown from Key Bridge – 06102017

I needed to register, so I stopped my cool-down in the area where race registration was last year.  But, it had moved.  I ran to where it had been the year before.  Nope, not there either.  I finally asked a volunteer and she directed me back to an area on Wisconsin Avenue that I’d already passed.  Registration went very quick and I checked the bag check even though it was mostly a bag and coupons – I didn’t get a shirt.

Georgetown Waterfront - 06102017

Georgetown Waterfront – 06102017

With about 10 minutes to start time, I went to the starting area.  I saw some of my faster friends.  I talked with the a little bit but moved back to the end of the 7:00-7:59 pace area.  I waited a few minutes and realized the race was going to be late.  I thought, “This is not good for my parking situation.”  After a few minutes, a woman sung the National Anthem.  And, a few minutes after that, the race took off at 7:10am.

 

You can see me running by in the orange top at the end of the video.

The Race

Mile 0 to 3 (Georgetown Waterfront and Canal Road)

The course started with a gradual incline.  After a quarter mile or so, the course took a hairpin turn onto the Whitehurst Freeway.  I hit the first mile marker and was happy to see it wasn’t too fast.  The pace felt so easy that I thought, “I should try running negative splits.”

I stayed on the left side of the road during the second mile so I could see the front runners.  I saw the water stop ahead on the left, so I moved over since I didn’t want to drink.  I cheered for a friend who was one of the lead women.  Shortly after that, the course turned back towards the Whitehurst Freeway.  Back on the open road, a guy cut me off and almost ran into me!  I did a, Look-at-all-this-open-road arm gesture towards him and then shrugged it off.  I hit my second split and thought, “That’s not good for negative splitting.”  I kept calm, though, and tried to keep my effort the same rather than slowing down.

I saw a woman ahead with “Jen” on her shirt.  It seemed familiar.  Where had I seen her before?  Suddenly, I remembered – she was the runner ahead of me at last year’s DCRRC National Capital 20 Miler!  Soon after that, the 5K runners split off to the left.  At the 3 miles split, I was just a tad faster than the mile before.

Splits: 7:41, 7:27, 7:22.

Miles 3 to 6.24 (Potomac River Expressway, Virginia Avenue, and the Georgetown Waterfront)

The course went downhill for a stretch.  Normally, I would open up my stride a little but I didn’t this time.  If I was going to negative split, I need to stay close to 7:20 pace for this mile.

The course went under an overpass and we passed a timing mat.  A guy ahead of me asked the runners next to him a question and then stopped.  I guessed he must have realized he hadn’t turned off at the 5K mark.  I felt bad for him.

The second water stop was about 3.5 miles into the race.  I ran through that one, was well.  Then, the course turned north at the end of the Parkway and went onto E Street.  I slowed down a little but then increased the pace again when the course flatted out.  My Garmin said I was running 7:18 pace, so I was surprised when I saw that split was a “slow” 7:40.  So much for negative splits!

The next mile started out flat and I surged a little.  I felt my visor almost slipped off a few times over the next mile or so.  After the turnaround on 17th Street, there were two more turns before the course went to the gradual uphill on Virginia Avenue.  I slowed down significantly.  At the next water stop, I threw my visor away.  After the hill crested, I pushed the pace but there was another ramp to climb on the way back to K Street.  Seeing the finish line, I sprinted as hard as I could.  I was happily surprised I had that kind of speed so late in the race.

Splits: 7:41, 7:35, 7:35, 1:27.

Post-Race

I congratulated my friends, walked a few blocks, and then jogged to my car.  The suspense was killing me…  No ticket!  In fact, the device said I had 13 minutes to spare.

2017 Lawyers Have Heart - Medal and Bag

2017 Lawyers Have Heart – Medal and Bag

Result

My time was 46:43 (7:30 pace) [Log Details].  Currently, I’m listed as the winner for the Female 12-19 category.  My written “45” must have looked like a “15”.  But, I also circled the 40-49 age group.  In any event, once it’s correct, I should be somewhere around the 248th finisher out of 1,694 (top 15%), 34th woman (top 5%), 5th female master, and 5th in my age group (top 7%).

The race felt smaller to me this year.  I went through my log and end the end, I think it may have seemed that way because I ran the 10K.  I recorded 3,528 finishers for the 10K during the 2009 race and 3,167 in 2010.  There wasn’t a 5K option back then, though.  There were 1,667 finishers for the 5K this year – almost as many as the 5K – which comes to 3,361 total finishers for both races.

On the elite side, the male winner was the guy who I think lives in my neighborhood and ran the Capitol Hill Classic and Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon, too.

Epilogue

This year’s race was one of the more enjoyable ones because it wasn’t oppressively hot.  And, I raced well.  I didn’t run negative splits, but they were pretty even.

For me, this race marks the end of the racing season until fall.  It just gets too hot around the region to race anything longer than a 5K.

Looking ahead, I plan to spend the next two or three weeks building my mileage up and start training for the New York City Marathon on July 2nd!

Next race: Fletcher’s Cove Park Run on Saturday, June 17, 2017 (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

Abridged Version

My time was 45:45 (7:30 pace).  It was my fourth race in four weeks.  It was the best weather for this race that I could remember – high 60s at the start.  I parked in Arlington and fretted over getting a ticket.  I felt pretty good during the race.  I tried bucking the recent trend of going out too hard by running negative splits.  I got off track in the middle miles but in the end, my splits were pretty even.  I made it back to my car and didn’t have a ticket!

 

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Summer 2017 Training – Week 5

2017 Summer - Week 5 Infographic

Another week, another race! I ran a 10K today. Earlier in the week, I did a tempo run on Tuesday and a medium run on Wednesday.  Overall, it wasn’t a bad week. I just felt a little off.  I enjoyed the signs of summer, though.

Training Schedule
June 4th – June 10th

Sunday: Maintenance Run. 10 miles.
Monday: Recovery Run. 8 miles.
Tuesday: Lactate Threshold Run. 8 miles w/4 miles @ 15K to half marathon pace.
Wednesday: Medium Run. 12 miles.
Thursday: Off.
Friday: Recovery Run. 4 miles.
Saturday: Lawyers Have Heart 10K.

Mileage Total: ~48 Miles

Notes. I increased my mileage a little bit this week and pretty much stuck to the schedule.

Goals. Run 48 miles for the week and lose 1 pound.  Outcome: Partial success!  I hit my mileage goal but my weight loss fell a little short.

Workout Details

Magnolia - 06042017

Magnolia – 06042017

Maintenance Run. 10 miles moderate [Log Details].

I was a little tired from running the Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K the day before.

I tried taking the early miles easy even though my goal for this run was a “moderate” pace – maybe 8:20.  As I was running through Clarendon to the Custis Trail and feeling myself speed up, I reminded myself, “You’re not even half way through this run,” I stopped for water at the water fountain near Nelson Street.  By then, I was a little winded.  Less than a mile down the road, and after two steep climbs, I stopped for a bit.

I felt better when I restarted and ran steady until I stopped again for water at the W&OD Trail junction.

It was a good run, I was just a little tired.  I reminded myself that I’m trying to lose weight and it’s getting hotter.  I should probably expect my paces to be a bit slower.

Overall pace=8:42.

Lactate Threshold Run. 8 miles w/4 miles @ 15K to half marathon pace [Log Details].

I ran the Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon in 7:52 pace, so I had a good gauge for where this workout should fall.  But, I still had some doubts about completing this workout.  I set the pace range for 7:40-8:00 pace and headed out to the Mount Vernon Trail.

During the first mile, my pace was in the low 7:50s.  After getting that indicator, I swiped my Garmin to overall pace and just tried to keep the pace steady.  I turned around at the mid-point and my Garmin vibrated because my pace was in the slow range.  I sped up until it stopped.  I swiped back to lap pace and saw I was in the mid 7:50s.  I knew I would slow down on the National Airport overpass.  But surprisingly, it only dropped 6 seconds/mile.  I stopped for water with 0.15 miles to go in the segment.  I didn’t want to run past it and double-back.  I took the cool-down home very slow.

Lactate threshold pace=7:59.  Overall pace=8:47.

Medium Run. 12 miles [Log Details].

My goal for this workout was to switch the post-run narrative from, “I felt great going out the door and faded at the end”, to something more like, “I started easy and finished strong.”

I had a good first mile.  As I waited to cross Route 50, there was another runner with me.  My neighborhood has been “revitalizing” over the years and moments like these strike me as odd.  When I moved here, I hardly ever saw another runner.

I kept the pace slow and easy until I reached the flatter sections of the Custis Trail.  I started a gel that I hadn’t tried before at the mid-way point.  It was very sugary and I felt jittery for the next mile.  I reached the point where I wanted to run a little faster, but…  I didn’t have it in me.  I dropped the pace to around 9:00, but I was hoping for faster.

I was a little disappointed with how the run went, but I kept in mind that I’m running on a calorie deficit these days, so I shouldn’t expect fast times.

Overall pace=9:23.

Lawyers Have Heart 10K [Log Details].

My time was 45:45 (7:30 pace).  It was my fourth race in four weeks.  It was the best weather for this race that I could remember – high 60s at the start.  I parked in Arlington and fretted over getting a ticket.

Duck Walking in Georgetown - 06102017

Duck Walking in Georgetown – 06102017

I felt pretty good during the race.  I tried bucking the recent trend of going out too hard by running negative splits.  I got off track in the middle miles but in the end, my splits were pretty even.  I made it back to my car and didn’t have a ticket!

Time=46:43.  Overall pace=7:30.  Split paces=7:41, 7:27, 7:22, 7:41, 7:35, 7:35, 1:26 (7:13 pace). 

Health

Injuries. My piriformis was a little irritated during Wednesday’s medium run and at today’s race.  It’s frustrating how just when I think it’s gone it flares up.  But, it’s definitely not the sharp pain that it’s been in the past.

Weight.  I ended the week at the same weight that I started it.  But, I still think my weight loss is progressing nicely.  And, I realized this week that I shouldn’t expect great running results when I’m in a calorie deficit.

Weather

I started to feel the effects of the summer during my runs this week.  The air temperature hovered in the mid-60s, which was nice, but the humidity was in the 70-80% range in the morning hours.  I finished my workouts completely drenched in sweat.

Neighborhood Splash Fountain - 06092017

Neighborhood Splash Fountain – 06092017

Racing Schedule

Next race: Fletcher’s Cove Park Run on Saturday, June 17, 2017 (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

Are signs of summer popping up in your area?

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Summer 2017 Training – Week 4

2017 Summer - Week 4 Infographic

I ran two races this week – a half marathon on Sunday and a 5K today.  By the end of the week, my body felt like it was training for a marathon again!  I pushed through it and took Friday off.  It was a pretty good running week.

Training Schedule
May 28th – June 3rd

Sunday: Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon.
Monday: 4 miles recovery.
Tuesday: Maintenance Run. 8 miles moderate.
Wednesday: 5 miles recovery.
Thursday: Medium Run. 12 miles.
Friday: Off.
Saturday: Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K.

Mileage Total: ~45 Miles

Notes. I ran a little longer than 4 miles on Monday and went closer to 13 miles on Thursday, but otherwise, I followed the schedule.

Goals. Increase mileage to 45 miles for the week and get down to 127 pounds.  Outcome: Success on both accounts!

Workout Details

Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon. 13.1 miles @ half marathon pace [Race Report].

It was nice running weather but a little humid.  I had a quick first mile and then settled into a good pace.  I held onto it until the last mile where I faded pretty hard.  But, I still placed 12th woman overall and 2nd in my age group!  It’s been a while since that’s happened!  Overall, I enjoyed the race but wish they would change the course.

Time=1:42:55.  Overall pace=7:52.  Split paces=7:04, 7:40, 7:41, 7:36, 7:42, 7:58, 8:13, 7:53, 8:39, 7:48, 7:47, 7:46, 8:16, 0:53 (7:55 pace). 

2017 Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon - Early Miles

2017 Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon – Early Miles

Medium Run. 12 miles [Log Details].

Even though I ran a hard half marathon on Sunday, I still wanted to do a longer run this week to keep my endurance up.

I ran a route that was mostly uphill until it reached the Custis Trail about 3 miles in.  I ran that stretch pretty well.  I wasn’t surprised, though – for some reason, I’ve been running hills well lately.  On the Custis Trail, I still felt strong and was cruising at low-8:00 pace.  By the time I reached the “Intersection of Doom” in Rosslyn, my overall pace was in the 8:teens.  I crossed over to the Mount Vernon Trail and about two miles later started feeling a little tired.  I allowed myself to stop on Humpback Bridge, Gravelly Point, and Crystal City to catch my breath.  But, when I got to the long hill near the Air Force Memorial on my way home, I walked and kept my watch running.  I didn’t want to fool myself into thinking this run was better than it was.  In the end, I was disappointed that I walked some of the route but that’s what I should expect when I go out too fast.

Overall pace=8:43.

Belmont Bay 5K. 3.12 miles 2 5K pace [Race Report].

I tend to run “event” races with hundreds or thousands of participants so this was a refreshing change of pace.  There were less than 40 finishers!  I was 4th overall and 2nd woman!  The organizers clearly love their community and their enthusiasm was infectious.  The course was mostly on a golf course and now I understand why so many runners like running on them – it was flat, quiet, and had plenty of tree cover.  The race is horse themed but it’s subtle.  I definitely see myself running this race again.

Time=22:09.  Overall pace=7:06.  Split paces=6:44, 7:13, 8:15 (7:26 pace). 

2017 Belmont Bay Belmont 5K - Bay View

2017 Belmont Bay Belmont 5K – Bay View

Health

Injuries. Generally, I’m feeling pretty good these days.  I had my first chiropractic visit in three weeks yesterday.  My piriformis has been feeling good but the doctor recommended a maintenance regime.  It actually felt strange – like I was going there for the first time even though I’d been going there twice a week for so long! 

Weight.  My weight loss effort continued.  My goal was to weigh in at 127 today and that was my weight this morning

Weather

It was a pretty great week for running.  Air temperatures were consistently in the 60s in the morning with low dew points and overcast skies.  Yes!  On Thursday, I felt the effects of the heat a little during my medium run but it’s hard to know since I also went out too fast.

World War II Memorial - 05292017

World War II Memorial – 05292017

Racing Schedule

Future races.  Looking ahead to the fall, I couldn’t find a marathon I wanted to run.  I’m already registered for the New York City Marathon, but it’s not a fast course and I’d like to get under 3:30 again.  So… I’m prepared to make the NYCM my goal race for the fall!  I’ve been telling myself, “There’s no reason why you can’t run fast at New York.”  Because, my marathon PR is at New York!  I would start training for the race on July 2nd unless something changes my mind.

Next race: 2017 Lawyers Have Heart 10K on Saturday, June 10th. (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

Do you have a goal race for the fall?

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2017 Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K

2017 Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5KScroll all the way down to the end of the post for the tl;dr version.

Prologue

It’s been a month since I ran the Eugene Marathon.  I took 10 days off after that race and still didn’t feel like running again.  I thought racing frequently would help get my running “mojo” back.  I ran the Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon this past Sunday.  I did a moderate run on Tuesday and a medium run on Thursday that left me walking.

I chose this race knowing very little about it – no friends had run it and there was very little information on it on the internet.  The race seemed very small and Belmont Stakes/horse-themed which made me a little nervous.  This could be interesting…

Goals

Personal Records:

  • 5K PR: 20:43 (6:39 pace) at the April 12, 2013 Crystal City 5K Friday.
  • Most Recent 5K: 21:29 (6:54 pace) at the 2016 Firecracker 5K.

Achievable: Sub-22:30 (7:13 pace).  It’s hard to set goals when you don’t know the course.  But, based on my recent training and races, this seemed like a time I should be able to sustain no matter what.

Stretch: Sub-21:45 (6:59 pace).  This is about where my 5K pace workouts were in April.

StrategyStart out with the 3:30 pace group (8:00 pace) and see if I can hang with them through Fifth Avenue.  Then, see what I have left in Central Park.  Oops!  I forgot to overwrite my strategy from the New York City Marathon!  My strategy was similar though start out hard and see how long I could hold on.

Course

The course was on a road and bike path for about a half mile and then on a golf course .

2017 Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K - Map

2017 Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K – Map

The race is in a small community, so there wasn’t crowd support.  There was one water stop shortly after the 1 mile mark.

Playlist

I was nervous about getting lost on the course, so I ran without music.

Pre-Race

I woke up feeling groggy, which was odd because I’d been sleeping well this week.  I had some coffee and water, but I didn’t eat anything.  It was about a 30 minute drive from my house to the race site.  I don’t travel to this part of Northern Virginia very often, so the trip felt oddly exciting.  Woodbridge, Virginia is so exotic!

In Belmont Bay, a volunteer told me where to park.  I talked with her a little before heading over to get a view of the river.

2017 Belmont Bay Belmont 5K - Bay View

2017 Belmont Bay Belmont 5K – Bay View

Race day registration was pretty quick, in part because the race was so small that no one was behind me.  I did a pretty short warm-up before the start.  I was a little worried about getting lost on the course.  I took a copy of the course map from the registration table and put it in my short pocket.

2017 Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K - Bugler

2017 Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K – Bugler

Waiting for the start, a woman struck up a conversation with me.  She thought I looked like a serious runner.  She asked what time I thought I would finish in and like all runners I gave a slightly slower time, “Around 23:00.”  A volunteer came up and encouraged me to come up with a racing horse name for the race.  I couldn’t think of anything creative.

With about 2 minutes to the start, the bugler played the “First Call”.  The race director made a few more remarks and the runners came to the starting line.  The woman I was talking to lined up slightly ahead of me. The bugler played a long blaring note and then we were off!

Weather

Pretty nice racing weather.

2017 Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K - Weather

2017 Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K – Weather

The Race

Early Mile – Mile 1 (Belmont Bay Drive and Ospreys Golf Course)

After just a few strides, I found myself towards the front of the pack.  The race started with a brief turn-about in a parking lot and then went onto a street leading towards the main road.  The race director told us to stay to the right of the cones and I obeyed.  I passed two runners and still managed to still stay in that zone.  I checked my Garmin and it was showing low 6:00 pace!  After a quarter mile, the course went onto an asphalt trail next to the main road and there were only six runners ahead of me.  As I passed one, he told me I had the female leader in my sights.  I said, “This is a horse race, right?  So, I should stalk her.”  Looking ahead, I saw the male runner in the lead take a wrong turn!  The guy I just passed yelled ahead but the leader couldn’t hear.  I was breathing very hard.  I passed a little boy and moved into 4th place overall.  About a quarter mile short of the first mile, the course turned right onto the golf course.  I hit the first mile mark and knew it was too fast.

Split (by course): 6:44.

Middle Mile, Mile 2 (Ospreys Golf Course)

Shortly after the first mile marker I tried to gauge how far ahead the first woman was.  I counted “alligators” between when she passed a landmark and when I did.  I thought she was about 10 seconds ahead of me.  I continued running hard.  I tried to will myself into running faster but something in me was fiercely fighting that idea.  As I went along, I scanned the scenery.  The sun was coming up and the trees were providing good cover.  At the mid-point of the race, I was already out of gas.  There was a clearing and I counted alligators again to see how far ahead the first placed woman was.  I counted at least 20.  I ran past the water stop – no need for a race this short.   I checked my split.  I knew it would be slower but I was surprised that I faded so much.

Split (by course): 7:13.

Later Mile 3 to 3.1 (Ospreys Golf Course and Belmont Bay Drive)

It seemed like an eternity before I hit the 2 mile marker.  The course felt slightly uphill and I lost all hope of keeping up my current pace.  About a quarter mile later, the course looped back on itself and I could mentally picture how much of the race was left.  I also received some support from the other runners and walkers in the race, which was nice.  By then, the first female was solidly in front of me – no need to count alligators – and I was really just running for pride.  Back on the rail trail next to the road, I told myself, “Come on!”  I really wanted to finish strong.  I turned left back onto the road leading to the finish line and another left into the parking lot with the finish line.  I didn’t see a 3 mile marker but at that point, I didn’t really care.  I managed a smile at the finish line.

Splits (by course): 8:15 (7:26 pace)

2017 Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K - Finish Line (Photo by RaceWire)

2017 Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K – Finish Line (Photo by RaceWire)

2017 Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K - Ribbon

2017 Belmont Bay Belmont Stakes 5K – Ribbon

Post-Race

I drank some water and half a bagel after the race.  I stuck around since I knew I won my age group.  I talked with the other runners about the race.  “Fifty Shade of Hay” won the award for best race horse name. (I thought “Sir Trots Alot”, “Ground Pound”, and of course Covfefe” were good.)

The winner of the men’s and women’s race get a bouquet of flowers – just like the horses will in the Belmont Stakes – a trophy, and a Visa gift card!  Pretty sweet!  I won a ribbon with a horse on it for winning my age group.

Result

I ran 22:10 (7:07 pace).  [Log Details].  I was the 4th finisher out of 33 (top 13%), 2nd woman out of 17 (top 12%), and 1st in my age group/female master.

Epilogue

Just like last week, I didn’t pace the race very well.  Conditions were similar in that they were both small races where I was toeing the line with faster runners.  While I’m not proud of the splits, it wasn’t a terrible race.  I finished in the time I thought I would.  Beyond time, I had a lot of fun!  It was great talking with people who lived in the community.  And, I had race results and pictures before 2pm!  I would definitely run this race again.

Next race: 2017 Lawyers Have Heart 10K on Saturday, June 10th. (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

Abridged Version

I ran 22:10 (7:07 pace).  I tend to run “event” races with hundreds or thousands of participants so this was a refreshing change of pace.  There were less than 40 finishers!  I was 4th overall and 2nd woman!  The organizers clearly love their community and their enthusiasm was infectious.  The course was mostly on a golf course and now I understand why so many runners like running on them – it was flat, quiet, and had plenty of tree cover.  The race is horse themed but it’s subtle.  I definitely see myself running this race again.

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2017 Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon

2017 Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon - Banner

Scroll all the way down to the end of the post for the tl;dr version.

Prologue

It took me a while to feel like running again after the Eugene Marathon.  I took a week and a half off and then forced myself back into the habit.  After months of marathon training, I thought switching gears and racing more this summer would help motivate me to run.  I ran the Capitol Hill Classic 10K last weekend and 40 miles total for the week.

RRCA VA HM Championship 2013

RRCA VA HM Championship 2013

This would be my second time running the Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon.  I ran it a few years ago when it was the Road Runners Club of America’s Half Marathon Championship race for Virginia and won the master’s category!  I got a cute coaster as a trophy.

Goals

Personal Records:

  • Half Marathon PR: 1:32:19 (7:03 pace), 2014 Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon
  • Course PR: 1:36:14 (7:21 pace), 2013 Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon
  • Most Recent Half Marathon: 1:42:11 (7:49 pace), 2017 Rock n Roll DC Half Marathon

Achievable: Sub-1:46 (8:06 pace).  Given how hard I’ve been running this week, I thought this was in my range.

Stretch: Sub-1:42 (7:48 pace).  Since I’ve been punishing myself hard lately, I thought it might be interesting to see if I could run PR marathon pace.

Strategy:  Start out at 7:45 pace and see how long I can hold on.

Course

I don’t love this course.  There are a lot of turns and different surfaces.  I’m not even going to try to describe it except that it starts at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia and goes west through parks and trails.  The course is mostly flat with the exception of the overpass crossing Telegraph Road.

2017 Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon - Map

2017 Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon – Map

Playlist

I arranged one hour and 45 minutes of music.

Pre-Race

2017 Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon - USPTO Foyer

2017 Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon – USPTO Foyer

I didn’t set an alarm but woke up at about 5:15am.  I brewed coffee and got ready pretty quickly.  I’m trying to lose a few pounds so, I didn’t have breakfast.  I had a pasta dinner the night before and hoped that would be enough to sustain me.  Waze told me it was only a 15 minute drive to the race site, so I wasted a little time before leaving the house.  I saw Rolling Thunder motorcyclists on my way, but I was heading away from downtown.

I parked at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  Registration was quick and I was happy to use the bathrooms in the building.  The old school timing card that I had to attach to my shoe brought me back.

With about a half hour before the race start, I did a light jog.

Before the race, the organizers requested a moment of silence in honor of Memorial Day and then played the National Anthem.  A minute or so later, we were off!

Weather

Pretty good racing weather but a little humid at the 7:30am start.

2017 Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon - Weather

2017 Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon – Weather

The Race

Early Miles – Miles 1 to 5 (Eisenhower Avenue)

Even though this was a small race, I thought I lined up far enough back that I wouldn’t be in the way of faster people.  But, I found myself passing several runners from the start.  I think I was one of the top 20 runners for a while!  The pace felt pretty comfortable, though.  The course was flat on Eisenhower Avenue except for a fairly steep overpass.  When I first glanced at my Garmin, I saw I was running close to 7:00 pace!  It didn’t really register with me that I was going out too fast and didn’t slow down.

2017 Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon - Early Miles

2017 Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon – Early Miles

The first water stop was right after the first mile mark.  The woman ahead of me mangled the hand-off.   I finally realized the pace was too fast and consciously slowed down.  I was still running around 7:30 pace, though.  I reminded myself how great it felt to negative split and pass people at the end of Boston and Eugene.  I should try to do that again.

I thought about taking water at the next stop – about 2.5 miles into the race – but the woman ahead of me stopped and walked through it.  I passed by her but she passed me again.  We went back and forth that way for a while.  She looked like Desiree Linden to me – short with long brown hair.

The front runners passed me on their way back down Eisenhower Avenue.  I clapped and cheered loudly for them, which I normally don’t do.  There were two guys running close together vying for first.  The third place guy was pretty far behind but I still yelled, “Go get ‘em!”  I’m sure he wanted to punch me.  I also started counting the female runners.  At the turnaround, I thought I was in 8th place.

I felt great and noticed the incline was a little downhill, so I stretched my legs out a bit.  “Desi” and another woman passed me again around the 4 mile mark and I was in 10th place.  About a half mile after that, the course went left onto the Holmes Run Trail.  There was a small incline that I really felt.  Only a quarter mile later, we went off the trail to the right.  There was a water station ahead and I noticed “Desi” had a clean exchange.  I took water, too.

Splits (by course): 7:04, 7:40, 7:41, 7:36, 7:42.

Middle Miles, Miles 5 to 9 (Eisenhower Avenue, Wheeler Avenue, Holmes Run, All Veterans Park)

Exiting the trail, the course went into an industrial park for a stretch.  I noticed Port City Brewing was in this area.  I still felt good.  And, I thought Desi was still in striking distance.  At the 5.3 mark, we turned around in the parking lot, ran a half mile, and then double-backed.  I started a Crank Sport e-Gel at the 6 mile mark just before the course returned to the trail.

I felt my feet sinking into the gravel.  I checked my Garmin and I was running over 8:00 pace.  I thought, That’s okay.  The gravel slows you down and so does eating.  I grabbed water at the 6.4 mile mark before going back on the Holmes Run Trail.  As the front runners came back, I could tell Desi was pulling away.  I focused on a few of the guys running ahead of me, instead – a guy in a Union Jack singlet, one in a grey shirt, and one in the pink race shirt.  I was smiling and enjoying myself even though I was slowing down a little.

Around the 8.1 mile mark, the course went into a park.  I passed the runner in the Union Jack jersey and closed in on a runner in a black top.  I looked ahead and Desi was completely out of reach.  The course wound through the park and then dropped us off in a neighborhood.  We ran on Duke Street for a little bit before going up an overpass.  I could tell the chaser was right behind me and I tried to run the hill well and then press on the downhill.

Splits (by course): 7:58, 8:13, 7:53, 8:39.

Later Miles 9-13.1 (Ben Brenman Park Eisenhower Avenue)

I had a little bit of a second wind going through the park.  During the turn at mile 9.5, I could see two women behind me out of the corner of my eye – the woman in green and now a woman in blue.  Heading towards mile 10, we took a sharp turn, went for maybe a quarter mile, and then ran around a volunteer on a narrow section of trail.  I estimated the women were only 20 seconds or so behind me.  Not only was I not going to pass Desi and move into 9th place, I might not stay in 10th!  I start reeling in the guy ahead of me in grey.  The course turns right and over a foot bridge.  The trail opens up and I guess I’m about 10 steps behind the guy in grey.  The course turns right and a few steps later, we take another right back onto Holmes Run.  The man in grey and I pass the guy in pink.  There’s an incline on the trail and I slow down a little bit.

Passing mile 11, the course returns to Eisenhower Avenue.  I can feel I’m about to be passed.  I go to the far right side of the road.  A woman pulled up beside me.  She gave me a thumbs up as she prepared to pass me.  I didn’t like that and I sped up.  She moved to the other side of the street.

At the 12 mile mark, I couldn’t believe I had to run for another mile.  I was exhausted and didn’t understand how my legs were still moving.  At the finish line, one or two women out kicked me at the line.  I didn’t like that, either.

Splits (by course): 7:48, 7:47, 7:46, 8:16, 0:53 (7:55 pace).

Post-Race

I took some water and Gatorade, and immediately sat down on the sidewalk next to the finish line.  A volunteer came over and gave me my medal.  I felt sick and went inside the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  I felt better after a few minutes and concluded I was overheated.  I stayed around for awards (a $15 gift certificate to Pacers Running Store for 2nd in my age group) and random prizes.

Result

My time was 1:42:55 (7:52 pace) [Log Details].  I was the 50th finisher out of 474 runners (top 11%), 13th woman (top 5%), and 2nd in my age group (top 4%).

Epilogue

This is a nice race.  It’s a great time of year for a half marathon, it’s well supported by volunteers, ample water stops, and prizes.  But, the course itself could use improvement.  I wonder if that’s why it’s not more popular.

As far as my race, I stewed about how much I faded at the end of the race for a few hours.  Occasionally, I reminded myself that I actually ran well for most of the race.  My Garmin read 13.3 miles so I ran 7:43 pace on the course.  And, I placed in my age group!  It’s been a while since that’s happened.  I think a fire in my belly was stoked…

I’m actually looking forward to racing something shorter next weekend.  It’s been almost a year since I’ve danced with that distance.

Next race: 2017 Belmont Bay 5K on Saturday, June 3rd. (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

Abridged Version

I ran 1:42:55 (7:52 pace).  It was nice running weather but a little humid.  I had a quick first mile and then settled into a good pace.  I held onto it until the last mile where I faded pretty hard.  But, I still placed 12th woman overall and 2nd in my age group!  It’s been a while since that’s happened!  Overall, I enjoyed the race but wish they would change the course.

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