Thursday, February 25, 2010

9 miles in DC

Today I was supposed to run 4 miles, but my knees were hurting. I didn't realize how much I was favoring my right leg due to the blister on my pinky toe, and how much that would affect me. So I decided to take it easy today and do 40 minutes on the elliptical. I will run my 4 miles tomorrow.

9 Mile Route

I really loved this 9-mile route through DC that I ran a couple of weeks ago. If you live in DC or ever visit the area, check it out.

Start/Finish: Gravelly Point near Reagan National Airport in Arlington, VA. Here's the map. I think you can only access it from 395 North. There is free parking available and some sort of restroom facility, although it doesn't show that on the map.

Start by running up the Mount Vernon Trail. Continue about two miles and then cross the Arlington Memorial Bridge into DC. This puts you right at the Lincoln Memorial. Run down along the Reflecting Pool to the WWII Memorial and then back along the other side of the pool to the Lincoln Memorial. Take the Rock Creek Park Trails up towards Georgetown. Run past the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and the Watergate Hotel. Run along the waterfront in Georgetown. Cross the Key Bridge back into Virginia and follow the Mount Vernon Trail south back to Gravelly Point.

This run is great because the paths are well travelled and much of the loop is run on paved running trails. During my run, there were other runners (good for moral support), and not too many bikes (didn't have to constantly get over so they could pass). The scenery is great and varied: the nature of Mount Vernon trail, the national monuments, and Georgetown.

You can easily extend or shorten this run to fit you mileage goals.

In the beginning and end of the run, you'll pass the Navy Merchant Marine Memorial in Lady Bird Johnson Park. Since everyone loves pictures, here's a couple pictures of me and my sisters circa 1990.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Long Becomes The Short

I've been dreading this day since I first saw the training schedule. I can amp myself up for longer runs on the weekends, but now my long run of 7 miles is one of my short runs in the middle of the week?!?!

I was really not feeling it this morning, but I got up and put on my running clothes anyway. I knew that I had a lot to accomplish in the day, that the day would probably be stressful, and that running (or finishing the run) might be the best part of my day, so I had to at least try.

I had run the course before for our 7 mile long run, so I was somewhat familiar with it, but it is easy to take the wrong path around all the monuments. The landmark I was looking for was a pond, which I couldn't find, so I just ran towards water. Soon I realized that this was not the pond, but the Potomac River! There is also lots of construction around the Jefferson Memorial and on the detour path there was a huge impassable area covered in at least 6 inches of water, so I turned myself right back around and made my own path. I was back on track for the last 3 miles, and actually ran 7.15 miles. Yay! I was slow, but I did it.

With about two miles to go, my pinky toe on my right foot started hurting. Turns out, I have a blister. My first running injury! (If you can call a blister an injury). I was just thinking the other day that I need actual running socks, instead of whatever socks I can find on sale at TJ Maxx. I'm wearing my flip flops around the office (thank goodness the boss isn't here this week) so hopefully the blister will dry out. I'm going to tape it for the next couple of runs, and I'll definitely be on the hunt for new socks!

Things to be happy about:

Since I've got a lot to do today, I've decided to start on a positive note.

1. Seeing comments on my blog put a huge smile on my face, and is so far the best part of my day. Thanks LB!!
2. The days are getting longer and warmer. The sun felt great on my face this morning.
3. I saw one of my favorite memorials, the Navy Marine Memorial from across the Potomac River. I didn't realize I'd be able to see it until I did :) I also ran past the Korean War Veterans Memorial, which I've never really visited before. I am very lucky to have DC as my running grounds.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sign Me Up!

Yesterday I registered for the National Half Marathon on March 20, 2010. That's less than a month away, but I feel like I will be well prepared. On race day, I'll have run 12, 13, 15, and 16 milers; so I'll know I can go the distance.

This race is pricy, at $85, but I really need to get a race in before the marathon (which I am still too nervous about to register for). I also really need this race to focus on so I don't get too focused on (and scared of) the marathon. It'll be a huge confidence booster if I can do well in the half. My goal is to run it in under 2:08. In order to prepare, I'm going to focus more on speed and form during my shorter weekday runs.

This morning was the first day in a couple of weeks that I've gotten up so early to run. I'm really glad I did! The 3 miles felt great in the damp morning. I pushed myself to run faster, and I felt strong the whole way.

Monday, February 22, 2010

12 miles with a Clif Shot Blok

This weekend was my longest run yet, at 12 miles. And I ran it all!


We needed to run a route that would be free of snow. Many of the sidewalks and running paths in DC and VA are still covered in snow from the storms earlier this month. The last thing we wanted was to arrive at our starting point at 7:30 am and find that our path was snowy/icy. We knew Haine's Point would be the perfect place to run (and so did lots of other runners!). We made two loops around Haine's point, up towards to Lincoln Memorial, and back.

There is free parking on Haine's Point/ East Potomac Park. The road around Haine's Point is open to traffic, but no one drives down there unless they have a reason (maybe to picnic, play golf, or play at the park in the warmer months). So I saw maybe three cars over my two loops of Haine's Point. The road was pretty much taken over by runners, walkers, and bikers.

I will definitely keep this run in mind as an option during snowy winters.


I tried my first electrolyte supplement on this run. I had Clif Shot Bloks in Strawberry. I ate one piece at around 8 miles. I started to chew it, but then decided I'd rather suck on it. I didn't want little pieces of gummi stuff bumping around in my tummy. One piece lasted me at least 10 minutes, and I didn't feel the need to eat anymore during the remaining 3 miles. Their website says you can eat them every 20-30 minutes. That is too much for me, so I'm not sure I'm even getting any benefits by eating just one blok in 12 miles. But it tasted good and took my mind off running for a little bit.

PROS: Tasted really good. Lasted a long time because I sucked on it. (I tucked it in my cheek and was careful the whole time not to choke on it.)

CONS: One chew is too big. Next time I will only use half a blok.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Training Schedule

The leader/coordinator of my running group put together our training schedule. I think it is based on Hal Higdon's training schedule. We do shorter runs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays; with long runs on Saturdays and cross training on Sundays. We started the first week in January for a May 2nd marathon.

The First Step

I’ve been considering starting a running blog for a couple of weeks now. I’ve been drawing inspiration from others’ blogs, so I’m starting my own to keep myself motivated, and maybe help motivate others who stumble across this site.

I’m 25, I’m an engineer, and I’ve never been a runner before. Growing up, I played soccer and tennis, but for some reason I never had the drive to win or be the best in athletics. I liked to play fullback so I didn’t have to run as much up and down the field, and at tennis practice I’d choose to do sprints over endurance training every time. I hated running.

I don’t remember who convinced me to sign up for my first 5k in my senior year of college -- actually I’m pretty sure I did it because it was a fundraiser for THON, and everything THON-related is awesome… until you are trying to run 3.1 miles when you do not run and you get passed by a lady pushing a stroller, uphill.

My race history:
THON 5k October 23, 2005 ::: 40:06
Resolution Run 5k December 31, 2006 ::: 34:57
Turkey Trot 5k November 22, 2007 ::: 29:26
Turkey Trot 5k November 27, 2008 ::: 33:10
Turkey Trot 5k November 26, 2009 ::: 30:25

Some races used chip time, and some were clocked the old-fashioned way. And no, I did not remember all of these times off the top on my head. I love google. I do remember, however, that 2007 and 2009 were the only two races I ran entirely.

I didn’t really ever go to the gym and work out in high school or college. In high school my exercise came from tennis and marching band; and in college I played non-competitive IM sports, walked everywhere, and tore it up on the dance floor. I could barely run a mile when I started actually working out in fall 2006 when I started my new job (with a gym on site!). As you can see from my races, since then I have pretty much concentrated on being able to finish the 5k.

In January 2010 I joined a running group at work, primarily for camaraderie since I have been at this job for less than a year and wanted to branch out and form some new relationships. Here’s the kicker- this group is training for a marathon. But all I had ever run was 3.5 miles, once. And 95% of all the running I’d done had been inside, on the treadmill. And I’m the only civilian (i.e. not in the military, i.e. least disciplined person, i.e. least athletic) in the group. This should be interesting…. Follow me on my journey.