Thursday, August 31, 2006

Approaching Race Day

On Sunday my 16 week journey from 0 miles per week to 12-15 miles per week will be tested in my first ever half-marathon. I have done the physical preparation -- every Saturday group run, Tuesday/Thursday solo and buddy runs as well as Wednesday cross-training (ok you all know that involved sailing and beer!). Now I just need to run so I can stop wondering "what will the race be like?" and does it really matter if this is a non-Gatorade race?!? (Because I can't see carrying little packets of Gatorade to mix while I run, the answer is no. I have my favorite energy source - Clif Bloks, so that's all that matters to me!)

So what have I learned in 16 weeks?

1. Running is fun... if you find your groove, awesome running partners and a good trail. Good trails = Capital Crescent, Custis Trail and the National Mall. Bad trails = Pierce Mill at Rock Creek Park.
2. Every future marathoner or half-marathoner needs an awesome group of runners and non-runners alike to encourage, cajole (recognize yourself?!?), and generally keep them honest.
3. Being speedy gets you to the finish line first, but the back of the pack has more fun.
4. Running is a worse cult than rowing, my former temple of pain
5. I couldn't have asked for a better training program than Team in Training. If you're thinking about joining them - to run a marathon, cycle 100 miles, or complete a triathalon - do it! It's a great cause to be associated with and a wonderful group of people.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I am strong...

... Ok I am not invincible, but Saturday's weather certainly made me feel that way. Mother Nature's birthday present to me was a beautiful, low humidity, 65 degree morning. I couldn't have asked for better weather to run 12 miles. (no that's not a typo!) I finished in under 3 hours and I felt good. Highlights include

  • The company of my running buddies singing Happy Birthday as we ran down the trail
  • My favorite trail (Capital Crescent Trail)
  • Realizing I am strong enough to run 12 miles
  • Finding Nikki, the wife of a former co-worker, working the water stop at mile 5.5 (isn't she lucky that the big sweaty hug she got wasn't as sweaty as it normally would be?)
The half-marathon is less than 3 weeks away and after Saturday I am sure I can finish...

Monday, August 07, 2006

A cure for the doldrums...

... can be found in beautiful, low humidity 70ish degree weather. I opened the front door on Saturday morning (at 0555!) and didn't feel like I was walking into an oven. This my friends is exciting. The 10 mile run two Saturdays ago was miserablely hot. Even though I was looking at 8 miles of hills, at least the weather was on my side.

In the end, the weather effect shaved 2 minutes per mile off my time. 8 miles in 104 minutes equals 13 minute miles. Whoo hoo! And at the end of my run, I felt good! I am sure this weather effect will be short-lived (the glass half-empty theory) and my 12 miles on the 12th will be like my 10 miles on 29th but for now the doldrums are over!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The doldrums

With multiple days of 100+ degree days (before the heat index!), you can't blame me for having a case of the blahs. It's not safe to run outdoors and the dreadmill, um I mean treadmill, has been a real treat. I swear I have completely reprioritized my home improvement list after my time on the treadmill in the basement. I have visions of a bright cheery workout room, with a nice plasma tv...

I am happy to report I did survive the 10 miles last Saturday. I discovered I really dislike running around Haines Point and that 10 miles in July takes me 2.5 hours. Oh well there is time for speed later. Saturday we conquer another piece of the Marine Corps Marathon Route -- I will keep you posted on how it goes.