Home Stretch

Yesterday was my last long training run before next week’s race. 16km. Some easy runs next week just to keep up the routine, but nothing too long or hard. I went to the river again to watch the balloons, and once again they went somewhere else. Sigh. 

I did a short run this morning with my daughter, who is also running the race, and with her daughter. I love these 3 generation things even though I don’t see much of them after we start. I think it is the idea that they are still willing to go out with me that I like so much. 

The race is on a flat course parts of which I have run many times. It’s out and back, so no course complexities to worry about. The weather should be beautiful, just like it was today. So, the hard part will be finding a place to park. Aside from that, just go out and have fun with a few thousand of your best friends. 

Training Schedule

I’m doing a half marathon at Duke City, now just two weeks away. This will be a group affair: my wife, who walks, and her walking buddy will be doing it as will my oldest daughter. It feels like a group effort even though we may not see each other after the start. Just knowing they are out there somewhere means I’m not doing it alone. You may well ask how one could feel alone when in the midst of all those thousands of people, and I can’t answer except to say that you can.

I’m still serious about how I perform despite being as slow as I have become. I’m not going to win. I probably won’t even win my age group, although I’ll come a lot closer, but my time and performance are still important. So, like most serious runners, I have a training schedule that I am trying to follow. It’s like most such schedules: shorter runs during the week; longer runs on the weekend; background runs a few months ago; more speed oriented more recently; extensions to longer mileage on the weekends. Pretty standard.

One of the things the running mags and books don’t talk about much is what to do when the plan doesn’t work. Last Saturday, I went out to run 18km (16km=10mi, so 18 is 11.25). I had had a flu shot on Friday, but felt no after effects and I expected no problems. I had been extending 2km each week (I’ve omitted mention of rest weeks, but I do know about them), and my experience was pretty uniform: the additional 2km felt pretty bad, but the next week it was fine. Last week’s run didn’t work that way. At the beginning, I felt good. By 8km (5mi) I was minutes ahead of schedule. I was still well ahead at 9km, the turn around point. By 14km I was right on schedule. By 15, I was out of gas and could not continue running. Walking back to where I started was a major disappointment. I took that failure badly, and it took much of the week to get over it.

What do you do to recover from a failure like that? How do you get back on track? My approach to that is to repeat the week. The previous week wasn’t completely lost. I did cover the distance, just not as fast as I had hoped. So, I did it again this week. Busy and stressful week at work, and I missed one of the mid-week runs. But, this morning I felt good. Back down by the river because it’s the first weekend of Balloon Fiesta and they usually fly along the river–500 balloons in the air at once is quite a sight. Unfortunately, they go where the wind takes them, and today the wind took them elsewhere, so no low flying balloons overhead. Much of the run was like last week. At 9km I was way ahead of schedule. By 14km I was right on time, having slowed down and burned through those minutes I had banked in the early going. But, this time I didn’t run out of gas at 15 and successfully finished the planned 18km. I’m still unhappy about last week’s failure, but this week’s success has improved my mood. On to the race.

The Race is O’re…

DC-RnR-2015-medalThe race is over, and we’re back home. We left Thursday for the DC Rock and Roll Marathon and returned today.

The race was Saturday morning, and the temperature was perfect, in the low 40s. The rain, however, was not perfect. It had been raining since before midnight and continued until at least noon. By the end of the race at RFK Stadium, we were all soaked and pretty cold–the ambulances running from the medical tent at the finish were unusually busy.

I haven’t examined my splits in detail, but I was ahead of schedule at 5 miles and still on schedule at 10 miles. I finished about 4 minutes behind schedule, so I had to have lost that time in the last 5 k. I didn’t feel bad, and there were no notable terrain features. The rain got a little worse and the wind came up, and I guess that slowed me down (oh, Ok, I suppose the milage had some effect, too).

Surely the weather took some toll, and being somewhat under prepared had an effect, but overall I was still happy with the race. The worst part was standing around in the cold rain after I finished waiting for my Muse, who walks, to finish her race. There was almost no shelter and close to 30,000 people to be accommodated. There were lots of crazy folks there that day. And then there was standing in line to get into the metro station and trying to ride with a waterlogged metro card. When they are that wet, they don’t go through the machines.

Our schedules are pretty busy for the next few months, so we may not do another half until September. But, maybe we’ll try to find something close to here in June.

Aside from the miseries of the race itself, the weekend was wonderful. Our main purpose in going was to celebrate the return to health of Middle Daughter who has spent the last year dealing with breast cancer. We took Older Sister with us, and Brother lives in the District, so we had a glorious celebration. Saturday was, of course, Pi-day (3.14.15) so Daughter-in-law made pie and we all got together for that at the end of the day. Sunday was more family time. The ladies went shopping for running gear, and Brother and I played with the granddaughters.

“Cancer free”–a wonderful reason to celebrate!

 

Family Running/Walking

Our youngest son arrived on Friday for a short visit. Saturday he and his mother did the Cupid’s Chase 5k, an informal race. He is an Iron Man veteran who hasn’t run much lately because of the constraints of his job and also because he lives in the east coast snow belt. But, he ran and his mother walked. I needed more distance, so I went off to do 16k while they were doing that.

Yesterday, our oldest daughter and her family showed up—pretty full house what with son, daughter and her partner, 3 grandchildren, and us. This morning son headed off to visit other relatives for the day and the rest of us went off for some exercise. We headed for the bike/pedestrian path along the river. Grandson (16) needed a “medium” run, which eventually translated to about 10k, so that set the tone. We set the time limit at about 45 minutes and off we went. Grandson is the fastest (he runs about 5 min. miles in races—not bad for someone who lives at over 7000 feet). He was followed by his sisters (14 and 10) and their mother at somewhere around the pace I was running 6 years ago (in the neighbor of 10 minutes/mile). I followed them at my new, slow pace (but again faster than I have been going for the 4th run in a row), and behind me were my wife and daughter’s partner who were walking. (For any of you who might be doing the calculations, I did not do 10k in 45 min. I didn’t need to go that far, so I did 6k. He did the 10k, but it didn’t take him 45 min.)

Didn’t see much of Grandson until he passed me on the way back, but I was able to see the others for much of the time. I think events like this are one of the reasons I keep doing this. It is such a joy to go out with the kids and grandkids and share in the experience even if we don’t all run together. So much better that staying at home and badgering them with stories about how I used to do that. My wife and I usually do our long weekend exercise together, and I feel the same way about that—even though I run and she walks and we don’t see each other along the route, I feel much better when we start and finish together than when I go by myself. The joy of shared experience.