Leesburg 20k

Day 157

I finished today run with ease. It was a race so that helped. I ran faster than normal training run. Twice as fast. I was not trying to win any medal though. I finished last in my age group. I was ahead of my expected time however. That is a win for me.

The run took two hours for me. It was hot and I was drenched in sweat. I poured water on me. I finished the race completely wet from head to toes.

I felt the vibe. It was an out and back on the W&OD trail with the race started from Leesburg and went near Purcellville. I think we were like two miles from there. We turned around and headed back to Leesburg.

Though it was hot, it was much cooler than yesterday. We started early. I had to wake up at 5 AM for this. I got to the course kind of late and almost couldn’t find a place to park. Last year I was there before anyone and I could park in any spot. I arrived 45 mins later than last year (but 45 mins before the race start.

I felt fresh even though I did a 20 miles yesterday. It is good to run on fresh legs. It was only the first week of my training so everything is fresh. I know the feeling after 10 weeks in, I don’t think I could do a race after a long run.

My run from yesterday though was not the usual long run. I broke it into three segments, with about 7 miles each. The middle segment was a 6 miler. The middle segment was a torture, but the last one was really good as the sun was setting.

I am not sore yet. I have a blister on one of my toes. There is an onset of shin splint on my right leg. I will keep an eye on it. Monday is usually my rest day. I am thinking of shifting it to Wednesday to better fit my schedule.

I love Sunday. Well, weekend in general.

Day after

Day 147

Actually it is like five days after but still it feels like a day after. I ran for the first time. My soreness has gone down. I ran 7 miles today. After 3 miles fatigue set in. It was a great feeling. Kind of. It was like an old friend. It brought back memory of the race and the feeling of being at mile 20 during the marathon, trying to struggle to the finish line.

I had a half hour break and did 4 more miles to finish the 7 miles. I ran with my friend and I didn’t tell him I did a marathon a week ago, so he was running fast (8 or 9 min pace) and I tried to keep up with for most of the distance. It was a great feeling to run fast again! That pace is near my peak speed. Of course I was out of breath near the end.

Looking ahead, this weekend, I am doing beach camping. We will bike and hike and maybe kayak. It is mostly a relaxing weekend. I will do some long run (15-20 miles) on the beach. Totally excited. And swim in the ocean and bay too.

Friday night

Day 130

I ran last night and did not feel good afterward. I was coming down with something. Last night was very hot and I might have suffered heat exhaustion. I was shivering after getting back to the office. I did not have any clothes with me other than my running shirt. I should have changed it out but didn’t. I felt terrible the next couple hours. My head hurt.

I woke up this morning feeling better. As the day wore on, I knew something was wrong with my body. Headache came back and I couldn’t concentrate. Then I was chilled all over. My chest hurt. My whole body hurt. My joints and muscles too. I couldn’t move much. I felt a slight fever.

I took an Advil before leaving work. The fever broke while on the way home. Now my strength returned. I am eating like crazy now to prepare for this weekend.

As always there are a lot for this coming weekend. I will hike 25 miles tomorrow. Going to wake up early at 4 am. Base on 3 mile per hour we should finish in 8 ish hours. We plan to start at the trail at 8:30 and should finish around 5 with an hour lunch :). Probably we will skip lunch and finish by 4.

Then on Sunday, I have a 5K. I haven’t focus too much on speed so my 5 K won’t be that good.

In the afternoon, I and the other guy who is going the triathlon with me is doing some bike ride. We suppose to begin our training this week. I have been slacking off on my swim this week.

As long as my fever doesn’t come back, I should be fine. I’m bringing couple of Advils with me.

Two for one

Day 123 / York & St Michaels

I did a half marathon and a full marathon in one weekend. It was amazing. Looking back it doesn’t seem that hard because I have done hikes at that length over a weekend, but I was fearful when I signed up. Granted hiking and running is not the same thing.

For one there is no time pressure for hiking but with running I am on the clock! I could ignore the clock but I never willingly run a slower time on purpose.

There are too much to talk about. I won’t able to say everything. First, location, St. Michaels is a small historical town founded in the 1600s somthing. It has that quaint old feel. It supposes to be very beautiful but I didn’t get to see the harbor/ or pier where they keep their boats. We ran through some remote part of the island with a lot of trees. So only saw trees. The route is pretty boring. Whatever lacking in attractions was made up with the runner atmosphere. There were tons of people running this race. They had to use four different waves. There were thousand plus runners. So hotels and inns were all filled. I camped out and it was a pretty nice experience but I didn’t get much sleep because by the time I got to the site it was late and I slept after 10 and woke up at 3:45 to start packing. I was afraid to get caught in small town traffic with a thousand cars trying to get to the start line. The race started on time at 7:10. I finished in 2 hours.

What I got out from the race was it is good to have a coach! I was running with someone who was behind me with her trainer. It was very distracting to have the guy constantly motivating the lady. I just couldn’t run fast or slow enough to get out of their ear shot. But I wish I have a personal trainer who would tell me how fast to run at a certain portion.

That was that. St Michaels is a good race. I might go back there if they have a full marathon.

Now about the York Marathon (YMCA race), it was more than I expected because it was on the PA Heritage trail and it was beautiful. Running a trail marathon always beats a road marathon. It was flat. It was really a road marathon but on a less used trail. We hardly see any other people from the general public. The trail is 23-mile long and there are mostly farm land on either side. So it was a heavenly place for runners.

The race supports were great. They had radio team (probably there was no cell coverage), and they had profession road crossing crew. There was a water stop about every 2 miles.

The race was long because I ran slow (not by choice either because my body refused to run any faster). I kept mostly around 10 mile pace and was targeting a 4:20 finish. I finished at 4:24. I was hungry by the half way point. They don’t have food at this race only water and Gatorade. There were gummy bears at one station though I am not sure if it was provided by the race or was it from a bystander. I was too tired to care and just took them.

I hit the wall at mile 18 and didn’t really recover. There were a lot of strong runners. It was a Road Runner club qualifying race or something. We got to see some really good looking runners. Amazing!

I finished it was what I can say.

Pretty normal

Day 106 – weekend

The weekend unfolded as planned. It was a little better than planned because I picked up my bib on Friday instead of Saturday (I used the extra time to catch some afternoon zzz). The biking event went as expected. Me and another guy biked into DC for the cherry blossoms. It was part exercise and part social. The flowers were past their peak bloom but they were still stunning nonetheless. Heap of people. We couldn’t really bike, we dismounted and walked and then biked back to Alexandria.

The next day, I did the famed cherry blossom 10 miler. It was my first year running it. I was assigned to the red wave starting group (2nd wave), 3rd wave from the elite group. I got as close to the first wave as possible to see the elites off but couldn’t see anything. When it was my wave group turn to run, of course everyone around me was super fast. The entire race, I felt I was running backward and it was demoralizing that I couldn’t keep up with them.

My time wasn’t bad. I reached 5K point at 25 min (I ran 24 something couple days before). I reached 10K right on pace too at 50 mins and 15K at 1:15, still pretty much on pace. I was keeping a pretty constant pace. I finished about 30 seconds from my personal best but didn’t break it. It was close. I actually was not trying to run too hard because my marathon is coming up. It was still taxing no less.

At halfway I was a bit tired and my pace was slipping. A friend came out and cheered me unexpectedly. I heard someone shouting out my name from the crowd, of course my bib has my name, but I turned and searched for the voice. And saw my friend, someone whom I run with weekly, from the crowd waving. It gave me an extra boost for the next couple miles.

Also, I reached the part of the course where the marching band were performing, and they gave me a boost. I don’t know why I love cadences. My feet felt in step and I was surging forward. Too bad it was short lived. Once I don’t hear the drum any more, my pace slowed down and people were passing me again.

The event was well organized. I didn’t stay too long afterward. I had scheduled a fitness session at noon so, I left to get ready for it.

We did about couple hours of light exercises and hiked along the C&O Canal.

Bluemont running

Day 97 – race

A quiet weekend and it is just what I like. No big plan. I woke up and went to a local 10K race. It is about a hour from home. I ran a good time here every year. This was my third. While at the course, I didn’t have good vibe that I would do well this time. My shins were still hurt (been like this for two weeks, since that late Wednesday night run). Body doesn’t do well in recovery when I overtaxed it. Still a race is a race. I started at the end of the group. The race was sold out but there were about hundred of us lining up. The temperature was mild for this time 38F (5-6C). I dressed in dual layer short sleeves. shorts. It would warm up to 50 later. The sun was actual warm but we have strong wind 30kph wind. Consistently blowing.

I like this race because it is far out the city two counties over from DC, on a farm land. You can see the mountain range where I do a lot of hiking. Out in the rural life is slower. It fits my personality.

The course is only 15 minutes from the Appalachian Trail (Snicker Gap). The original plan was to finish the race and head to the trail to do some trail run, since my marathon is all about hills, and this trail has plenty of them. Ashby Hollow and Buzzard Hill is known as the roller coaster because it goes up and down many times in this 10 miles stretch. I hiked this section like four times past year.

However after the race, I was cold. I had my downs jacket on but still cold. We had after race party at a brewery across from the farm. I stayed for lunch. They lit a fire pit, and I have been next to it for the past hour. It felt so good. This is what my friend meant when she said about waking up to a warm fire and have breakfast next to it. It is definitely one of the 50 joyful things to be thankful for.

They haven’t posted the race result yet, but unofficially, based on my watch, I should PR this race, finished at 47:58, shaving a minute from my last record, but my watch also reported the course is short by 0.2 mile. It would explain why I was a minute and half faster.

Looking down the valley, near blue ridge
From Brewery Patio

Update: It’s official: I PR’ed it and finished at 47:56.

Waiting

Day 92 / decided

I woke up this morning and gained a better sense what I want to do this weekend. I want to run. So I signed up for the Pot of Gold 10K for Sunday as a safe bet. 

By the time I got out of work today, I wasn’t sure if I should upgrade my Saturday Half Marathon run to full one. But on my way to the Rock and Roll bib pickup convention, I ran into a friend of mine and I asked her if should upgrade. She said I shouldn’t because after the half, the second had of course doesn’t have that many people I. The crowd. Also the cost for me to upgrade is like 140-140 dollars. That is a lot. I just registered to run for next year paying on 70 dollars. So it doesn’t justify to pay double.

So I got my bib. I will run both Saturday and Sunday.

I was late for the club run tonight and ended up running by myself. I put in four slow miles.

I am waiting for the weekend to start.