Sunday, April 29, 2012

Training log - Week ending 4/29/12

This week was 43 miles of “real running” and 15.5 “miles” pool running, plus 2500 yards of swimming breathing drills.  Training log is here.

Not much to say. Did a workout too hard on Tuesday. Raced on Sunday. Post race, I was debating whether I’m getting sick. I have a mild sore throat and cough (could be from strained breathing during race), a sore body (could be race), and am quite fatigued (could be race). And a headache. Which might just be a headache. And then I went to yoga, and felt much better. Fingers crossed.


Monday: In the morning, 55 minutes of easy poolrunning for “5.5 miles” and then 1500 yards of swimming breathing drills. Foam-rolling and stretching at night.

Tuesday: In the morning, 12 miles including a pyramid workout of 400, 800, 2x1200, 800, 400, followed by 2x200 - splits were 1:24, 2:54, 4:17, 4:15, 2:50, 1:24, 36, 37. (ran the 1200s too fast, and so struggled through the 800 and the 400. Followed with injury prevention work and 15 minutes of shakeout pool-running. Floor barre and foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: In the morning, 11 miles easy (7:46) plus a yoga class. Later, an additional 5.5 miles easy (7:36). Foam-rolling at night.

Thursday: In the morning, upper body and core strengthwork plus injury prevention exercises, followed by 60 minutes of easy poolrunning for “6 miles”. Pilates plus foam-rolling and stretching at night.

Friday: In the morning, 7.5 miles. Most were at easy pace (7:45), but also included a mile “pick-up” at 10K pace feel (ended up being 6:18). Also did strides and drills, as well as injury prevention work. Injury prevention work and foam rolling at night.

Saturday: In the morning, 25 minutes easy pool-running plus 1000 yards of swimming breathing drills. Foam rolling/stretching in the afternoon; also pre-race ice bath in the evening.

Sunday: In the morning, ~ 1 mile warmup, and then 10K race in 39:16. Much later, did 20 minutes easy pool-running. Yoga and foam-rolling at night.

Race Report: Pikes Peek 10K, April 29, 2012

I ran the "Pikes Peek" 10K today, finishing in a time of 39:16. No report about this race is complete without the elevation profile. Here it is.

Anyhoo. The morning preceding the race was a bit of a tragicomedy of errors, commencing when I got detoured by police onto the Beltway going the WRONG WAY as I drove up to the race.

[by "WRONG WAY" I mean that they forced me to get onto the Beltway southbound (race was to the north), not that I was driving into oncoming traffic]

Fortunately, it only added about 5 minutes onto my driving time, and I still arrived at the venue around 6:50 (the race started at 7:50). Cool.

My usual pre-race routine goes something like this...get there about 70 minutes ahead of time, pick up number and check bag, then go back to car and chill. Then about 40 minutes pre-race time, jog for about 25 minutes, do some drills and strides, and then line up. Unfortunately, in this case, it turned out that I had parked a bit less than a mile from the start line. Ooops. No problem -- I'd just skip the chill in car part. But then I hit snag two. I got to the bag check around 7:05, and it wasn't open...apparently the supplies and trucks were running late, and the staff couldn't tell me when they'd be there. So...I returned bag to my car, and consolidated my bag to a smaller bag of bare essentials.

(Bare essentials - post run food and drink plus polar fleece to wear post race. The full bag check includes a change of clothing, clean shoes and socks, plus stuff like neosporin, bandaids, etc for any blisters that may arise).

Since I was running short on time, I jogged back to the bag check area with the bare essentials bag in hand, hoping bag check would be open -- if not, my back-up plan was to hide my bag in some bushes and hope it'd be there when I got back. And yep, the bag check was now open. And the line was LONG.

I debated whether just to ditch my bag in a bush per my initial plan, but I didn't want to if I didn't have to. This race is point to point, with one having to take Metro the 6 miles back to the start.  I always get chilled post race, and so I really wanted my fleece waiting at the finish if possible. Fortunately, just then I saw Jessica. It turned out that my coach was at the start, and Jessica generously offered to run my bag to him so I could warm up. Wunderbar. (Jessica knows how big I am on a full warm-up).

With about 15 minutes to go until race start, I started jogging. After about 5 minutes, I decided my last 5 minutes would be better spent doing a few strides and drill than easy jogging. I wasn't happy about my abbreviated warm-up, but it was what it was. And since it was a 10K, I figured I could just go out a bit slower and ease my way in.

 Lined up in my corral, and then waited. As it turned out, the race start was delayed 10 minutes, due to that same bag check issue. It was a good chance to catch up with people, including (of all people) my podiatrist, who I hadn't seen since the last appointment for my broken foot... It was really nice to exchange pleasantries under better circumstances.  And then we started.

The race itself was a bit frustrating. I never felt like I hit a good rhythm -- my best races seem to happen when I relax into an even effort "groove" for lack of a better word, and just zen out. But I just never got that feel here. I just felt stiff and uncomfortable, with my shoulders and arms cramping (of all things). But I just worked through it, and told myself it was good practice for staying focused.

There were a few uphills (nothing major) on course, and I found myself getting really short of breath at the top of each. But no problem - again, a chance to practice relaxing and refocusing. Around the 4 mile mark, a guy decided to be helpful and start encouraging me, but running next to me and repeating "see that woman ahead? You can totally catch her if you just start pushing. GO GO GO!" (and he KEPT chanting "GO" at me). I debated telling him that this wasn't helpful, and was in fact a bit annoying, but decided to spare the breath). And so I kept running, still trying to find that rhythm that escaped me. But couldn't seem to find it.

And then, when I hit the 6 mile mark and saw the finish line ahead, I returned to an old mistake. I started driving at the finish line with everything I had, rather than just relaxing and letting the finish line come to me. Basically, thinking "GOOO" instead of thinking "I have all the time in the world..." And, same result -- pushed too hard, tied up. The time is still a good time, but not what I could have run had I chilled all the way to the finish. A lesson learned once again. I know what to fix for Broad Street next week. And I will.  Frustrating races are preludes to good ones.

Ended up running 39:16, which was good enough for 23rd woman overall and 2nd in my age group (and a nice check for $50). And a lot of my teammates had great days, which was really cool. I know what to fix for Broad Street next week. Splits were 6:16, 6:12, 6:11 for the first 3 miles, and then I hit stop on my watch by accident. Which meant that I had no idea what time I had run at the end, though I was pretty sure that it was 39:xx, as I got one glimpse of the clock near the finish, and I though it said low 39s.

The morning of mild irritation continued when a) they didn't post the race results at the finish and b) didn't give out age group awards at the awards ceremony (some mitigation in that I did win a random prize - a gift card for Starbucks).   And, of course, the metro was delayed and I ended up waiting 20+ minutes for the train back to my car. Next year, I think I may park at the finish line, and pre-call for a cab up to the race start. A cab fare will be totally worth avoiding the bag check and metro irritations.

Other notes:
* Used inhaler for 2 puffs at around 7:10, and another puff at 7:50.
* Tree pollen was supposedly high, but didn't seem like much of a factor.
* Weather was great. 43 degrees and no wind.
* Even with getting detoured by police towards Fairfax, it only took me 36 minutes to get to the race start. But again, as noted, next year I'm parking at the finish and cabbing to the start.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Attacking Allergies

It's springtime in DC, and many of us are suffering.  Even people who don't suffer allergies in other locations come to DC, and start noting congestion, watery eyes, etc.

And for those of us who are allergy sufferers, DC is bad.  Bad enough that we supposedly have "our own kicked-up definitions of 'very high'."

In years past, the pollen ruined my running each fall and spring.  My lungs would feel like a forest of mold was growing within them -- "clogged" was the term I used -- and it was a struggle for me to run even at easy pace some days.  I'd take an OTC anti-histamine, with only mild improvement.

However, I've spent a lot of time researching, consulting allergists, and experimenting, and have found a program that seems to work for me.  No, it's not perfect.  I'm still impaired, and definitely have tough days when the pollen is high.  My eyes still water, I still sneeze, I still feel tired, my breathing still hurts.  That hasn't changed.  But I AM able to run, and to do workouts, and even to race.  Heck, even though I don't feel 100%, I'm setting PRs (which also makes me feel really good about my running).    I'm running at 90%, rather than 50%.  And that's pretty darn good.

Here's my program.  Yes, it's a lot.  But it works.

  • Showering:  Yes, it's a good idea in general.  But even better after you've been dowsed in pollen.  I shower after every time I venture outside, and I wash my hair each time.  A lot of pollen can collect on one's hair and skin.  Removal is essential, and the less time the pollen has to affect you, the less irritated your system gets.

    Unresolved childhood trauma in a bottle. 
    On sale at CVS.  Next to the anxiety meds.
  • Neti pot: I use this after every time I go outside -- same theory as the shower.  And the salt water up the nose brings back memories of childhood trips to the beach, where I'd play in the ocean and get knocked over by a wave and trapped by the weight of the water so that I couldn't get up and I was drowning and the lifeguard couldn't see to help me....  

    Moving on.
  • Pillow cases: these get washed every other night, and I always use fresh ones the night before a workout or race.  Pollen (and cat dander) accumulates on these; best not to let your head steep in allergens for 6-8 hours a day.

  • Air filtration:  I have a  Holmes Air Purifier.  It seems to work well enough; I definitely wake up with less irritation when it's on.   Added bonus feature is that it's a white noise generator -- helpful when you live in an urban neighborhood, with your bedroom window at street level.
  • Allegra:  I've tried them all -- Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtek, and Allegra -- and I'd list them in that order in terms of effectiveness, from least to most.  Allegra's really been the best of the OTC, and helps me some, though it's not a complete solution.  No, I don't do the "D" versions -- taking anything with pseudoephedrine is pretty much a guarantee of screwed up sleep for days.

  • Quercetin:  Fantastic stuff.  It's a natural anti-histamine (same stuff that's in apple skins, grape skins, etc).  There's no studies yet definitively establishing its benefits for human allergy sufferers, but I can vouch that in my case, it's been a game changer.  I can't rule out the placebo effect, of course, but I really started it last fall with a lot of skepticism after it was recommended to me.  I took it, forgot that I had taken it, and then noted to a friend that the pollen really wasn't that bad.  In the wake of my friend's stunned response, I remembered that I had tried the quercetin. 

    You can find this at Whole Foods. 
    Friends don't let friends use this.
    Or at least sit near them.
    I'll be the first to admit that the Whole Foods supplement aisle is a SCARY SCARY place, inhabited by believers in bach flowers and homeopathy and deodorant crystals
    and "Tom's Toothpaste."  But not all supplements are bad (see...calcium).  And, having run my use of quercetin past my allergist, my primary care doctor, and my father (a doctor with expertise in medication side effects), I'm pretty comfortable using it. 
    I use the Whole Foods store brand, with 500 mg quercetin, 350 GDU bromelain, and nothing else.
  • Singulair: Prescription medication for asthma/allergies.  I'm not sure how much use it is.  Seems to help some, but could be my imagination.  I've inadvertently skipped a dose from time to time, and not noted much difference.
  • Pro-Air inhaler:  Prescription asthma inhaler.  No, this isn't specifically for allergies, but my allergies aggravate my exercise induced asthma, and so I lump this into the list.  You need a prescription for this, and if you don't have asthma/bronchoconstriction, it won't make a difference.  Keep in mind that these also aggravate acid reflux, and also can have a stimulating effect similar to a cup of coffee.
  • A sense of humor, and self-tolerance:  Free, and surprisingly beneficial.  You can only control your allergies so much, but you can control your attitude.  Focus on maintaining the effort level that will allow you to complete your workouts successfully, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by how successful your spring is.  And on the toughest days, just rationalize that you're getting the benefits of altitude training from the comfort of your own city.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Training log - Week ending 4/22/12

This week was 66 miles of “real running” and 15 “miles” pool running, plus 2250 yards of swimming breathing drills -- training log is here.

Tuesday’s workout was a big confidence booster.  I felt sluggish, horrible, and unable to breathe fully throughout (temps were high 60s with very high pollen count – the sort of conditions that I hate).  But I just dealt with it, focused on relaxed effort, and ignored splits entirely.  I’d worry from time to time that the workout wasn’t going that well, but I decided I was just going to run whatever I’d run.  And then checked my splits post workout, and…I had a pretty good workout – one that I would have been happy with in good conditions.  Food for thought (again).  

Other news of the week was that I visited my PT for a “check-up.”  I like to do this every once in a while on the theory that prevention is more efficient and cheaper than cure.  Better to have one appointment when I’m not injured, to look for stuff coming down the road, then a slew of appointments later on (plus if I avoid injury, I avoid cross training).

So went in, got assessed, and…despite a slew of glute strengthening exercises that I do religiously, my left glute is still substantially weaker than the right – which could result in future injury.  The PT thinks that it’s an issue with a nerve getting compressed at the spine – I have a tendency to be swaybacked, with my back continually bending at the L5 vertebrae (I also tend to have mild to moderate sciatica down one leg or the other – usually the left).    So, I’m to work more on protecting and strengthening that area of the back, including avoiding most backbend type exercises (I already skip “wheel pose” in yoga, but I’m also going to avoid stuff like cobra pose).  Additionally, he also gave me some “spinal extension” exercises to add in.

Oh yeah, and a friend ran REALLY well in the London Marathon.  Just a 2:27:44.  No big deal.

I’m racing a 10K next week, and a 10 miler the week after.  With 3 solid weeks of training in the books, I’m going to back off now, and treat the next two as recovery/taper.


Monday:   In the morning, 45 minutes of easy poolrunning for “4.5 miles” and then 1000 yards of swimming breathing drills, followed by upper body and core strengthwork plus injury prevention exercises.  Foam-rolling and stretching at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 10 miles including a workout of 6x800 and 4x200 - splits were 2:54, 2:53, 2:53, 2:51, 2:51, 2:48, 37, 38, 38, 37.   Followed with injury prevention work and 20 minutes of shakeout pool-running.    Floor barre and foam rolling at night.

Wednesday:   In the morning, 10 miles easy (7:58) plus a yoga class.  Later, an additional 6 miles easy (7:50).  Foam-rolling at night.

Thursday:   In the morning, upper body and core strengthwork plus injury prevention exercises, followed by 40 minutes of easy poolrunning for “4 miles” and 1250 yards of swimming breathing drills.  Foam-rolling and stretching at night.

Friday:  In the morning, 12 miles, including a 4 mile tempo on the track in 26:01 (splits of 6:32/6:34/6:35/6:20), followed by injury prevention work and then 25 minutes of shake out pool-running.   Pilates and foam rolling at night.

Saturday:   In the morning, 11.5 miles easy/aerobic (7:50 pace).  Upper body and core strength-training plus injury prevention work and foam rolling/stretching in the afternoon.

Sunday:   In the morning, a progressive long run of 16.5 miles at 7:35 pace (split as first 5 miles at 8:28 pace, then 7:31 pace for next 5 miles, and 6:54 pace for last 6.5 miles), followed by injury prevention work and then 20 minutes of easy pool-running.   Restorative yoga and foam-rolling tonight.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why'd they do it? (brain droppings on Boston)

The 2012 Boston Marathon happened on Monday.   And so did ridiculous temperatures -- 69 degrees F at the start and into the mid 80s by the finish.  Plus bright sunshine.  Those are NOT optimal conditions, or even sub-optimal (perfect marathoning weather is 45 degrees or so with overcast skies).  In point of fact, they're horrible, even dangerous conditions.

[as an aside, this is why it's so very annoying when non-runners refer to sunny 60+ degree days as "perfect for running" -- good rule of thumb -- if you're comfortable standing around without a jacket, it's TOO WARM]

And the BAA (the group that manages the Boston Marathon) recognized the conditions by allowing runners to defer their entries to next year.  This was significant -- Boston requires most runners to qualify each year by running a specific marathon time -- here the BAA was allowing entered runners to carry their qualification OVER to next year.

I had roughly 20 friends entered.  Not one took the deal.  They all started. They weren't alone either - of the nearly 27,000 runners registered, only 427 took the offer.

Some of my friends finished, and some even finished well (heck at least one even PR'd) while others dropped out when it became obvious that, in their cases, they were damaging themselves.  Thankfully all of my friends are safe.  Sadly none of them, even the ones that ran well, performed up to the potential they might have demonstrated in reasonable conditions. 

They were all fit and ready to run well.  And skipping Boston wouldn't have meant a missed training cycle -- there's other marathons in the next week or two.  And even if you don't race at the end of a training cycle, it doesn't mean your work has been wasted.  Training compounds upon itself, so that the benefits of the fitness gained in one season serve as the base for the next season's training. 

So, why'd they start?


I can't speak to the specific thought process of anyone who chose to run Boston -- that's their own story to tell.  However, I think I get the mindset -- it's one that most competitive runners share.

Running/training/racing is grounded in dreams, as cheesy as it sounds.  We do workouts and easy runs and rustbuster races and let them mold our ambitions.  We glance at our Garmins and race results and fantasize about what they'll look like with different numbers at the end of our next race.  We get excited dreams about how it will feel to cross that finish line, or to reconnect with friends after.

And every once in a while, you exceed even those dreams, and stun yourself with the time on the finish clock.  And that rare moment is addictive -- as soon as it's over, you're chasing the next hit.

And those magical races can come on the days where you don't feel great or are sure the conditions are against you.

Additionally, each workout is a promise to yourself -- that it will pay off.  To sit out your race is to break that promise, to let yourself down.  And to betray the others that you've made silent promises to (though the truth is that they'd rather have you safe than fast).

And so, you gather at the start line.  You know the conditions aren't right, you've been warned.  But you don't really truly believe that.  Plus, every once in a while, the bad day precedes the high.  The risk pays off.  And the joy of a truly great race is sublime, even more because it's so rare.  And you don't have a chance to experience that high if you don't start the race.

Because maybe, just maybe...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Training log - Week ending 4/15/12

This week was 63 miles of “real running” and 12 “miles” pool running, plus 2750 yards of swimming breathing drills -- training log is here.

Good week, though not without some bad judgment calls. On the good side, I won a 5K race while setting a PR. So woo. Bad judgment calls were an inadvertent 15 mile run on Wednesday, and running my long run too hard on Sunday.

Wednesday was just an honest mistake – met some friends for a run, and then took the scenic route home, not realizing how much more I was adding on. At least it didn’t seem to hurt me at all for my Saturday race – I usually do a double on Wednesday, so this wasn’t that much different, except that it was one run, not two (I also seem to handle mileage very well – 15 miles at easy pace really doesn’t feel different from 12). On Sunday, I ended up running both the first part and the last part of my progressive long run too fast, especially in light of the fact that it was pretty warm and I had raced the previous day. I know better. But at least I’m not feeling too beat up post run, so we’ll just file this one as “don’t do again.”

Plan for the next few weeks is to continue to work to combine good races with smart running outside of my races. I’m starting to add some 200m repeats to the ends of my interval workouts when my coach lets me. I’m not shooting for any specific pace here; I just want to work on my ability to stay relaxed and fluid while running at top speed.


Monday: In the morning, 40 minutes of easy poolrunning for “4 miles” and then 1250 yards of swimming breathing drills, followed by upper body and core strengthwork plus injury prevention exercises. Foam-rolling and stretching at night.

Tuesday: In the morning, 11.5 miles including a workout of 1600, 4x 800, 4x200 - splits were 5:55, 2:52, 2:52, 2:51, 2:51, 38, 38, 39, 38. Followed with injury prevention work and 20 minutes of shakeout pool-running. Floor barre and foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 15 (oops) miles easy (7:55 pace). Lost track of distance, ran too far. Skipped yoga as penance, and just did foam-rolling/stretching at night (plus an ice bath for good measure).

Thursday: In the morning, 7.5 miles easy outside (8:03 pace) plus drills and strides. Also 15 minutes of shakeout pool-running plus some injury prevention work and upper body/core strengthwork. Pilates plus foam-rolling and stretching at night.

Friday: In the morning, 1500 yards of swimming breathing drills plus 10 minutes of shake out pool-running . Injury prevention work and foam rolling at night, plus ice bath.

Saturday: In the morning, 12 miles, including 3.5 mile warm-up, 5K race in 19:15, then 5.5 miles cooldown, followed by 20 minutes of shake-out pool-running. Light upper body and core strength-training plus injury prevention work and foam rolling/stretching in the afternoon.

Sunday: In the morning, a progressive long run of 16.5 miles at 7:31 pace (split as first mile at 8:28 pace, then 7:42 pace for next 9 miles, 7:13 pace for next 4.5 miles, and 6:42 pace for last 2 miles), followed by injury prevention work and then 15 minutes of easy pool-running. Yoga and foam-rolling tonight.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Race report: St, Charles Running Festival 5K, April 14, 2012

I ran the St. Charles Running Festival 5K today, finishing in a time of 19:15 for a 15 second 5K PR and the overall female win. It was a fun day.

The St. Charles Running Festival is in Waldorf, MD, which is south of the DC area, and not a place that DC area runners traditionally travel to for their races. Their loss. This was a really nice race. You can tell a lot about a race from the website and the communications that the race has with its runners, and everything pointed to this race being the anti-Hot Chocolate. Good communications, certified course, clear game plan for race management, “B-tag” chip timing (and cheaper than the RAM Racing debacle). A+.

Originally, I had planned to run the 10 Mile race at the Running Festival. Well, actually I had originally planned on running the GW Parkway 10 Miler which is next weekend. But I opted out of that one several weeks ago after learning that the course had a lot of concrete. Fast running + concrete+downhills is a recipe for injury for me, and while I’ll take that risk for an “A race”, I didn’t care that much about GW Parkway. So, I looked for another 10 Miler and found the St. Charles Running Festival the week before. Mostly flat, no sharp turns, pavement, score.

But then my coach noted that I would be running 3 ten mile races in 5 weeks, and suggested that was a bit much (I have Broad Street in Philly on May 6). And though I love 10 miles, I had to admit he was right, especially since I had also raced the Rock and Roll National Half 2 weeks before Cherry Blossom. My overall goal for this year is to avoid injury/setback, and doing 4 races of 10 miles or more within a span of 7 weeks was risking too much. So, I dropped to a 5K. And the first one that came to mind was the St. Charles Running Festival 5K. The 5K looked to be a fairly fast course – though the times from last year were a bit slow, I attributed that to it being a first time race.  Plus, when I mapped it out, I realized that Waldorf was actually closer to me than some of the other 5K options in the area.

So, I drove down to Waldorf. The race didn’t start until 8:30, but they were pretty clear that the roads were being shut down at 7:30, and they’d prefer that race day bib pick-up be done by 7 am, so I left my house around 5:50. As it turns out, the drive down took all of 40 minutes (in point of fact, the same amount of time that it takes me to metro and walk to the start of Army 10 Miler), so I had plenty of time to chill in my car in the tons of parking near the finish line. Then at about 7:30 I started my stretching/jog the course/use the inhaler/use the john/drills+strides/retie shoes 10 times routine (note that the order of the above does vary).

At 8:25 we lined up. Since I don’t know this area, I didn’t know who would be my competition. But I did note at least two other women who were placing themselves at the front. Yay for competition. They first asked everyone planning on holding between 5-6 minute pace to come to the front. Though I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d be running, I figured it’d be something faster than 19:30 (6:17 pace). But shooting out at sub 6 minute pace would be a bit overly aggressive. So lined up right behind the front pack of men.


Then they started us and they were off. And one woman shot out at a pace akin to what I run my 400m repeats in. I chased her for a second, and then came to my senses – if that was her realistic 5K pace, then that was that. So I let her go.

About a minute later another woman passed me with authority. She was running fast, but not straining, and it was a bit harder to keep from going with her. In fact, I did get sucked in behind her for a few moments. And then reminded myself that I needed to run my own race and not someone else’s. So I let her go and settled into the pace that felt right for me. I did keep her in my sights, though. I focused mostly on my effort, but would look up ahead from time to time to check in on where she was. There was a part of me that really wanted to win this race, and I had to repeatedly remind myself that long distance races are frequently lost in the first mile, but rarely won.

[as an aside, it’s so funny that we’re so prone during racing to being sure that the position that we’re in during the first 3 minutes indicates how the race will go, when in fact it’s the last 3 minutes that’s determinative. Took a lot of will power to be patient and back off.]


So, held my pace. And within about half a mile, the woman that had shot off to the lead at ~5:20 minute pace was fading. I passed her without much note – my concern was on the other woman ahead of me, who was now about 10 seconds ahead, and maintaining there.

And then, as we circled through the neighborhood that was the first half miles of the course, I noted that I was very slowly closing on her. By the first mile marker, she was only about 8 seconds ahead, and I was slowly reeling her in. So now was the time to be patient, and just let the next two miles of the race do the work for me.

Sure enough, the gap kept eroding slowly but surely, and by about the 2 mile mark I was even with her, and then pulling ahead. And so I just maintained my effort, while staying relaxed, as we headed towards the stadium (the finish of the race has you run a loop around the outside of the baseball stadium).

As we got closer to the stadium, we turned into what was a decent headwind. Not horrible, but definitely notable. It had apparently been a slight tailwind earlier in the course (so I hadn’t noted it), and then a cross wind. Now we faced it head on, and it persisted for the rest of the course (even after we turned away to wrap around the stadium, it seemed like there was some wind-tunnel thing happening).

But I just relaxed into the wind, didn’t stress, and focused on maintaining. I was pretty careful about not straining or overpushing, and maybe my caution cost me a slightly faster time. But I knew that I was in first, and I didn’t really know how far the woman in second was behind me, and there was no good way to be sure. I also knew that the finish line was up an incline, and I wanted to have enough in reserve to be able to be able to run up that incline with authority, especially if she was closing. Basically, I wanted to have something in reserve to protect the win, which I cared more about then an extra 2-3 seconds on the clock.

And, despite my caution, I continued to pass people (all men) in the third mile, and also pulled right behind a guy who had been about 8 seconds in front of me when we turned onto the stadium drive (around 2.25 miles). I was pulling even with him when we passed the 3 mile mark and headed up the incline. I relaxed up the hill, and then had to veer a semi-hard right to break the tape, which was off to the side.

Or…not break the tape. Turns out that the tape was NOT the type that has a velcro attachment in the center (so…y’know…it breaks). Nope – it was a pretty wide tape akin to what they use in Iron Man races on TV, where the triumphant victors picks it up and brandishes proudly overhead.

Or…if you’re me, get tangled up in it and almost trip, and then take some time to make sure you’re unencumbered and steady on your feet before stopping your watch…


Splits were:
Mile 1: 6:11 (a bit aggressive)
Mile 2: 6:08 (tailwind)
Mile 3: 6:17 (headwind)
Final bit: 39 seconds (5:54 pace - incline plus WHERE IS THE TAPE?)
Total time – 19:15


Other notes:
  • Used inhaler with 3 puffs 40 minutes before, and then another 3 puffs 15 minutes before. I was definitely a bit amped from the inhaler, but breathing was fine, and that’s the important thing.
  • Course was fast. The start and finish were about a mile apart - we first looped around through a neighborhood, and then down a long straight away on a major road before doing a loop around the outside of the baseball stadium for the "Southern Maryland Blue Crabs."  Some moderate elevation changes, but really nothing that would slow one down at all. And all turns were 90 degrees or less in angle, which I think makes a lot of difference, speed wise.
  • Warm-up was 3.5 miles plus drills+strides. Only meant to jog 3, but got a little lost…
  • I'm not crazy about the positive splits here - that's not how I like to run, and not how I run best.  On the other hand, everyone I spoke to told me that their third mile was the slowest, and in most cases slower by 20-30 seconds than the first, and I also got complements from the male runners for how well I closed in the third mile.  So maybe a 10 second discrepancy wasn't just me, but also in part the course.  And, now I know I can run a faster 5K by staying more patient at the start.  Overanalysis fin.
  • Every part of this race was really well done. TONS of portapotties (I never waited once), tons of post-race food, including bananas and apples, free beers for those who wanted them, professional photography and announcer, certified courses. And everything ran without a hitch. Again, the anti-Hot Chocolate.  Frankly, I think anyone considering the GW Parkway 10 Miler next year should do this one instead. Especially given the need to be bussed to the start of GW.
  • Cat for scale.
  • One thing that geeky analytic me really loved. 3 hours post race all participants got an email detailing the conditions at race time plus one’s official time and placing (ie. “For your records, the weather that day was Sunny, 53 degrees with a SW wind at 11 mph”)
  • Big ass trophy. Plus write up in the local newspaper.  Fun stuff.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What not to wear, redux

A sequel to my previous post

From time to time, I hit Zappos to shop for bathing suits on line.  I always enjoy this immensely.  Here's a sampling of the offerings, with my commentary as a bonus.

We begin.
This is the
"Body Glove Smoothies Sexylicious Love Bra One Piece"
I have nothing to add to that.
Because nothing says "adult" like little baby blue bow ties.
Clearly this woman has strained her pectoral and abdominal muscles,
and is wearing compression garments to aid in quick recovery.

This is a $395 swimsuit. 
For that price, you'd think they could include straps.
The "Orca 226 Lite"
"I KNOW, let's name our women's swimsuits after WHALES!"
Pretty cool -- if you can actually get this on
without outside assistance, you've proven
both your intelligence and your flexibility.

When you can't pay a model enough to wear it,
you know the suit is ugly.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Training log - Week ending 4/08/12

This week was 62.5 miles of “real running” and 17 “miles” pool running, plus 750 yards of swimming breathing drills -- training log is here.

This week was recovery from Cherry Blossom. Though (unlike RNR DC Half) I wasn’t sore at all after Cherry Blossom, I was definitely a bit tired after. It was up to us whether to run the Tuesday workout, and I decided to show, since I wasn’t sore or achy. Two reasons for this:

1) I simply was not able to sleep at all for the 2 days after Cherry Blossom due to adrenaline, and I knew that a rest day wouldn’t help the sleep issues. I thrive on being on a schedule, and nonchalantly doing my normal Tuesday routine would set me straight. And sure enough, I slept great on Tuesday night.

2) I tend to lose my mental focus and relaxation when I’m fatigued, which is when I need both the most. So running (a much easier version of) the normal workout was a great opportunity to practice these skills while tired – an opportunity that I didn’t want to miss. Ran the workout, kept my concentration (had to work a bit to avoid tensing up), and counted it a success. Splits were immaterial.

Actually, I’ve been treating the times and splits for all my hard days (Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday) as immaterial. One of my major goals for this spring is to save my “dig deep” days for race day. It’s not that I’m not working during my workouts. But I’m definitely trying to use them as maintenance and practice, rather than validations of my running ability. This mental attitude takes some work, but is a bit easier when you’re racing well and determined not to undermine that.

Separately, I’ve been dealing with some breathing issues over the last 2 weeks or so. I was annoyed at first, as I thought they were the result of allergies, even though I haven’t been experiencing any other major allergy symptoms since I figured out my allergy program, and I had been doing pretty well until the last two weeks.

Then I got smart and checked the weather history – yup, every day that I’ve had issues breathing has been a very dry day, with dewpoints in the 20s or below - problematic for asthmatics. So, my allergy program continues to work, and I’ll be fine as soon as this spate of super dry air passes.

In the meantime, it doesn’t affect me that much, as long as I’m sure to stay relaxed, calm, and work through it. I can’t control the dew point, but I can control my attitude.


Monday: In the morning, 60 minutes of easy poolrunning for “6 miles” and then 750 yards of swimming breathing drills, followed by upper body and core strengthwork plus injury prevention exercises. Foam-rolling and stretching at night.

Tuesday: In the morning, 10 miles on the track, including a restrained workout of 1600, 1200, 800, 400, 2x200 (splits were 6:12, 4:34, 2:54, 82, 37, 38). Followed with injury prevention work and 20 minutes of shakeout pool-running. Floor barre and foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 10 miles easy (8:06 pace) and then a yoga class. Later, 5 miles easy (7:50 pace). Foam-rolling/stretching at night.

Thursday: In the morning, 60 minutes of easy pool-running (“6 miles”), followed by injury prevention work and upper body/core strenghtwork. Pilates plus foam-rolling and stretching at night.

Friday: In the morning, 11.5 miles, including a windy 4 mile tempo on the track in 26:09 (6:35 pace – splits of 13:14 for first 3200m, then 6:33 and 6:22). Followed with injury prevention work and 15 minutes of shakeout pool-running. Pilates and foam rolling at night.

Saturday: In the morning, 10 miles easy (8:03 pace). Light injury prevention exercises, as well as foam-rolling and stretching, in the afternoon.

Sunday: 16 mile progressive long run, split as first 3 miles at 8:34 pace, next 8.5 miles at 7:53 pace, last 4.5 miles at 7:02 pace. Overall pace 7:46. Followed by injury prevention work and then 15 minutes of shakeout pool-running. Restorative yoga and foam-rolling at night.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Random (Running) Friday Thoughts

No real intro.  Let's just get into them.

  • There is a substantial overlap between a) those who strongly oppose stability running shoes and orthotics because they alter one's footstrike and running gait and b) those who strongly advocate Newton running shoes because they alter one's footstrike and running gait.  And if you point this out to them, they stutter and stammer.

  • If you coat your face with Vaseline before a windy or cold or rainy run, your skin will feel great afterwards. This also works for pool-running.

  • Rocktape makes therapeutic tape in black with skulls. 

  • It's not just you -- nobody wears CWX compression shorts without developing a muffin top.

  • If barefoot running is really the best and fastest way to run, then why do top triathletes spend additional precious time to PUT ON shoes during bike-run transition?

  • From xkcd
    Related to the above...I find it exceedingly hard not to get into internet fights when new runners are continually advised that minimalist shoes are the best in all cases, that orthotics are horrible, that there's one perfect running form, and that heelstriking is evil.  The number of people who have read Born to Run multiple times, but never read any Lydiard or Jack Daniels is about as sad as the fact that Creed have sold more albums than Jimi Hendrix.

  • Tempo runs on the track can be miserable if you count down laps.  Works much better to decide that you'll be running at tempo effort for roughly x minutes, and then stop after that time.

  • There are few things crueler to an early morning runner than the locked portapotty.

  • It's funny how many people start running so that they can eat whatever they want, and then over time shift to worrying about how what they eat will affect their running.

  • Apparently people are now running in non-compression knee-high socks just for the looks of it, as opposed to those of us who suffer through compression socks upon the recommendation of PT or doctor.  My first thought is that I don't understand why anyone would wear knee-high socks if they didn't have to, especially in the summer.  My second thought is that it would be DAMN COOL if CEP made socks that looked like these.

  • It's always better to run one mile or repetition or workout or race too few then one mile or repetition or workout or race too many.

  • In October of last year, I broke the handle of my Army 10 Miler mug the morning of a race that marked a turnaround point in my running.   Yesterday, I received in the mail my commemorative mug from Cherry Blossom for beating the 71:19 mark.  It arrived with the handle broken.  I consider that a positive omen of where my running goes from here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

10 things I love about the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

Image taken from race website;
presumably they won't mind,
since it's part of a love letter.
The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler is one of my favorite races of the year, and not just because I usually have a good race there or because it showcases my favorite city in the world or because there are usually cherry blossoms.

[in point of fact, the cherry blossoms are one of the few negatives for me, as an allergy sufferer -- the distinct lack of blooms this year was a real boon]

It's just special.  There's a ton of reasons why, but I'll limit myself to ten -- one for each mile of the race.

  1. The course.  It's fast.  Very fast.  I'm not sure courses get faster than this unless they're net downhill a la Broad Street
    Me.  Focusing.
    There are some very slight elevation changes, but I think they make the course even faster, since you use slightly different muscles for the very gentle descents and rises, so you don't fatigue as quickly. 

    The course also makes this race a true test of one's ability to pace.  A slightly downhill first mile, combined with race nerves, invites most to go out a bit too fast  And the isolated last miles down and up Haines Point are a test of mental focus, as well as pacing and endurance.  And if you're just barely hanging on, the final elevation change will morph into a mountain.

    I also love the fact that the final mile has signs for 1200m to go, 800m to go, and 400m to go (though I ignore them).  Fun information for those who care about such things.

  2. The little things: On Sunday morning, the portajohns were out of toilet paper.  Pretty normal.  What was less normal was the volunteers who were dispatched to pass out toilet paper rolls to those in line.  Just one aspect of the many ways in which all the little details are seen to. 

  3. The elites:  Cherry Blossom supports elite runners, offering travel and lodging, a solid chunk of prize money (including time bonuses), and a separate start for female elites, as well as a special coordinator for elite athletes.  I love this -- having super fast people in the race drives me to up my game -- you see what the human body can do, with consistent work.  Plus, these guys are the rock stars of running, and anyone who can run 10 miles in 45:15 deserves some special treatment.

  4. The competition:  Cherry Blossom offers a host of team awards, adding another dimension of competition (and at the end of the day, racing IS about competition).    I really like my teammates, and I love that in certain races we get to combine forces.  More races should offer team competitions, and take them as seriously as Cherry Blossom.

    Cherry Blossom also offers age group awards down through 5th place.  I really like the fact that Cherry Blossom allows "double dipping" for age group awards, meaning that the overall winners are also competing for age group awards.  Again, it all helps to up my game.  And when I do get an age group award, it's that much more treasured, because I wasn't protected from anyone.

  5. The staffing.  Tons of people at the water stops.  Efficient bag check.  Rapid response to emails.

  6. The standards.  Many races offer guaranteed entry to runners able to hit a certain time.  Cherry Blossom does this, but sets a pretty high standard for "seeded runners" -- 64 minutes for women under 40, and 54 minutes for men under 40.  Again, goals to shoot for.  At the end of the day, racing is about running FAST, and I love the fact that Cherry Blossom sets a high bar.

  7. Volunteering opportunities.  If you can't get guaranteed entry as a seeded runner, you can do it as a volunteer.  I've volunteered now for 4 years, and it's always been fun, as well as a good education as to what exactly it takes to put on a world class race.  I'm hoping in the near future that I'll have guaranteed entry as a seeded runner, either by breaking 64 minutes or by turning 40 (at which point, I only need to break 67, which I've done).  But I think I'll keep volunteering anyway.

  8. The virtual schwag.  Runpix is so much fun.  As are the accurate and carefully checked results, which are reviewed to weed out bib swappers.  And the clearly designed website.  And the video of the finish.
      (I'm in the red sportsbra, black shorts, black compression socks).

  9. The physical schwag.  I really love the fact that they offer special mugs to all runners who beat the winning times from 1973 -- the first year of the race.  Yes, I know it stinks that the men have to beat 51:22, while women only need to beat 71:19.  But, if you men had been LETTING women run all along, instead of worrying about our uteri falling out, then the 1973 female time might have been more proportionate.  Paybacks are hell, guys.

    I also like the fact that medals are optional.  Some people really like them, others don't care at all -- why should the latter have to pay for something they don't want.  (on that note - I'd seriously love to pay the Rock and Roll races $30 less per entry in exchange for promising to ignore the bands on course -- but I doubt that proposition will fly).

    I did buy a medal, even though I usually don't care for them.  I do every year.  But that's because Cherry Blossom's special to me, and one of the few races where I really do treasure a souvenir.

  10. The clarity.  Cherry Blossom doesn't mince words.

Honesty is a huge plus.  These guys are entrusted with a national treasure -- the Mall -- and they treat it with respect.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Training log - Week ending 4/01/12

This week was 40.5 miles of “real running” and 19.5 “miles” pool running, plus 1750 yards of swimming breathing drills -- training log is here.

Tapered and then raced Cherry Blossom, and had a great race.  In running, the downs are always followed by highs, and the highs can be pretty sweet.

Cherry Blossom was an awesome race in many ways, and I'm not writing that just because I had a good race.  A TON of effort goes into this one.  And one really fun thing about this race is the little extras, like Runpix.  Which I shall proceed to display:

Red comments are mine. favorite:
First 5 miles in 32:53, second 5 miles in 32:38.
I'd call that just about perfect pacing for a pancake flat 10 miler.
So now I'm just anxiously awaiting the team results.  Yesterday was a really good running day for my team, and I'm pretty eager to see how the team results played out.

I'm feeling pretty good and just about recovered already.  I ran a hard race yesterday, but there's a huge difference between the damage that a hot and hilly 13 miles does, as opposed to a flat 10 miles in great weather.  So back to smart, patient, consistent training, with more good races to come.


Monday:   In the morning, 60 minutes of easy poolrunning for “6 miles” and then 750 yards of swimming breathing drills, followed by upper body and core strengthwork plus injury prevention exercises.  Foam-rolling and stretching at night.

Tuesday:  In the morning, 11.5 on the track, including 8x800; splits were 3:00, 2:55, 2:54, 2:51, 2:53, 2:51, 2:54, 2:46 (so more uneven than my norm).  This was a tough one, as my lungs were tightening pretty badly (pollen was horrible), but I just focused on working through my breathing issues. Started to tie up badly on the last one, but focused on relaxing rather than straining, and surprised myself with the split.   Followed with injury prevention work and 20 minutes of shakeout pool-running.    Floor barre and foam rolling at night.

Wednesday:   10.5 miles very easy (8:18 pace) followed by some light upper body and core strengthwork.  Yoga plus foam-rolling/stretching at night.

Thursday:   In the morning, 60 minutes of easy pool-running (“6 miles”).  Pilates plus foam-rolling and stretching at night.

Friday:  In the morning, 7 miles outside, mostly at easy pace, but with a “pick-up” of about a mile at 10K pace (ended up running 6:21, which was slightly fast, but I was on a slightly downhill slope, and effort felt right).  Foam rolling and stretching at night.

Saturday:   In the morning, 1000 yards of swimming breathing drills and 20 minutes of very easy pool-running.   Beth said that my swimming form was "not bad at all,", which was pretty cool.   Light injury prevention exercises, as well as foam-rolling and stretching, at night.

Sunday:   2 mile warm-up and then 10 mile race in 65:31 (6:33 pace), followed by 35 minutes of easy pool-running.  Yoga and foam-rolling at night.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Race report: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, April 1, 2012

I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler today, finishing in a time of 65:32 (unofficial, by my watch – they’ve only posted gun times).  This is a massive 10 miler PR for me, by 2:30, so I’m a bit shocked.

To be clear, I’m not shocked by the fact that I set a PR.  Two weeks ago, I ran the (hot and hilly) Rock and Roll National Half-marathon in 1:28:57 – a pace of 6:48.  My standing 10 Mile PR was 68:02 – also 6:48 pace.  So, it would have been upsetting NOT to run a 10 mile flat course in good weather at a faster pace than a hot and hilly 13+ mile race.  

But, had you asked me, I would have told you that I’d be somewhere under 67, and 66:30 or faster would be thrilling.  I run my races watchless, with no idea what my splits or paces are until I see the final clock at the finish – when I topped the final hill and saw 1:05:xx on the clock, it was a HOLY SHIT moment.

Yup – still a bit giddy.


I took my prep and taper for this race pretty seriously.  This was my goal race, I’ve always run Cherry Blossom well, and I wanted to give myself my best shot at a major PR.    In years past, I’ve been a bit cavalier about the walking and the standing around in the days before a race.  Not this time.   

On Friday, I volunteered at the Cherry Blossom race expo, but worked “number look-up” this year (seated, and very relaxed) rather than stand on my feet.   On Saturday morning, we celebrated a friend’s birthday by going to a firing range, of all places – I decided that the day before my goal race was NOT the day to stand on my feet for 60-90 minutes learning how to shoot a rifle, so I recused myself and lay on a couch in the range lounge (feet elevated), surrounded by issues of Guns and Ammo magazine and the occasional odd look.  Nope, no fun.     

(as Brian pointed out, had I ventured into the range, I most likely would have literally shot myself in the foot – which would have been gorgeous in its multi-layered irony, but also sub-optimal race prep).

I topped this all off on race morning by being both lazy and environmentally incorrect and driving to the race.  I live about 2 miles away, and have always walked in past years, but decided that if I was going to be resting my legs, I wasn’t gonna do it half-way.  So left my house at 6:10 am, found a great parking spot half a mile from the start (no, I won’t say where) at 6:15, and hung out and read a book (that had nothing to do with guns or ammo -- it was Volume 6 of Grant Morrison's series The Invisibles -- Kissing Mr. Quimper).


I had planned to jog about 2.5-3 miles and then do a whole bunch of strides and drills, but it became pretty clear to me that I was too amped.  So kept myself to less than 20 minutes of very slow jogging,  and very few drills and strides.   Then ran into my teammates, and chatted and chilled.  

And I did need to chill some.  Besides the fact that I really cared about this race, I was also a bit concerned about my breathing, which felt really tight (I think the pollen was really high).  I took a total of FOUR puffs of the inhaler (two puffs 50 minutes before, and another two 30 minutes before), and the lungs loosened a bit, but were still tight.  And my stomach was a bit unsettled -- I ate a bit too much for breakfast, and also over-hydrated slightly, I think.

But, just reminded myself that there were things I could control, and things I couldn’t.   Just focus on my effort and relaxation, and everything else would be what it was.

Seeded myself far back in the corral, per my usual.  People tend to go out way too fast in this race due to the slight downhill of the first mile – I thought a bit of traffic was a very good thing.  I was pretty far behind the teammates I normally train with, but I thought that was fine – it made it easier to run my own race (I really like a slow first mile).


And then the race started, and I was stuck in traffic.  And I was fine with that.  I did see my teammates in the distance, and even after the traffic cleared some, they were still pulling away.  But I put that out my mind, and just ran my own race.

And just cruised.  I pace and race my best when I ignore EVERYTHING except my own effort level, and try to stay relaxed and fluid, smiling from time to time.  And so that’s what I did for a bit over an hour.  At different points, I’d feel my breathing becoming a bit tight, or a bit of nausea, or see someone just ahead of me that I wanted to catch.  And I’d just put it out of my mind, and return to cruising.  Reminding myself from time to time that the point is NOT to work the hardest or hurt the most, but to run the fastest.

From time to time there were challenges.  As we came around the turn at the end of Haines Point, and I could see the Washington Monument in the distance, I wanted to start pushing hard and pumping my arms towards the finish line.  Nope.  Got tempted again at the 9 mile marker, but resisted.  We hit the one semi-hill of the course, and I relaxed up the hill, keeping my focus and relaxation even as people started yelling at me that the finish line was very close.  No prob – it’d still be there if I was late.  

And then I came over the hill, sighted the finish line and the clock with the 1:05:xx on it and was utterly shocked.  And wanted to sprint like hell and see if I could finish even faster.  Nope.  Not gonna do it.  Just relaxed and cruised and let the finish line come to me.  And apparently in being patient, I kicked very hard (Garmin says I hit sub 5 minute pace for the last 20 seconds of the race – IF you believe the Garmin – those things do lie, and it is April Fools day).

But yeah, once again the paradox – my best kick comes not from trying to sprint, but from relaxing and chilling while my natural impatience tows me home.  And trying to SLOW DOWN the last mile always equates to that last mile being my fastest.

And once again, though I felt relaxed and easy while running, I was also REALLY tired within about 30 seconds of finishing.  Yup, I ran this one right.


Splits were:
Mile 1: 6:47
Mile 2: 6:40
Mile 3: 6:23 (has a slight downhill part)
Mile 4: 6:30
Mile 5: 6:36
Mile 6: 6:34
Mile 7: 6:36
Mile 8: 6:35
Mile 9: 6:34
Mile 10: 6:19

Total time by watch: 65:32 – 6:33 pace.


Other notes:
  • ·         It was a bit warmer than I would have liked, but thankfully overcast, and with no wind.  And hotter than I would have liked does NOT mean HOT, or that the weather was anything other than perfect.  I’m just a cold weather princess who was really hoping for 35 degrees.   47 degrees, overcast, DP of 40, and no wind is about as perfect as it gets for a 10 mile race.  I did wear gloves, but by about the 6 mile mark I stuffed them in my sports bra.  So my finishing line photo is going to show me crossing with a bra stuffed with 2 gels, an asthma inhaler, and gloves.  Classy.
  • ·         Carried a handheld water bottle with me, plus a gel, but drank very little and never took the gel.  My stomach was sloshy and a bit overfull the whole time, and I felt like any eating or drinking would just send me into full fledged GI distress. 
  • ·         Tossed water bottle at coach at 5 mile mark.  Missed him.  By a mile.  I was always the last kid picked for 8th grade softball, and apparently nothing’s changed in 25 years.
  • ·         I never felt like I could get a full breath the entire race.  But clearly didn’t affect me.  Again, concentrate on what you can control (effort, focus, relaxation), and don’t let the other shit bug you.  But this actually has me feeling  even more confident for what I can run in the future.
  • ·         They’ve only posted gun time so far, but apparently I was 4th in my age group (they give awards to top 5).  I’m pretty stoked about this, though I need to wait for the final awards, which will be by chip time.
  • ·         Next race is a 5K in two weeks.  I had been thinking about another 10 miler, but my coach thought that three 10 mile races in 5 weeks (preceded by a half-marathon) was a bit aggressive.  And since a) my overarching goal for the year is DON’T get injured and b) if you train with a coach, then the coach is always right, I’m doing a 5K instead.
  • ·         I stuck with almost the same taper for this race as I did for my half-marathon, but with one change – my coach prescribed a mile at 10K pace on the Thursday or Friday before.  Ran it Friday morning, and I definitely felt much looser and sharper at race start than I did at my half.    
  • ·         If it turns out that the Cherry Blossom people were mucking around with the final clock as an April Fool’s joke, I’m gonna be MIGHTY pissed.  (joking – I’m sure they didn’t).