I am in between jobs at the moment and, since I have just 6 weeks until the Phoenix Marathon, I’ll consider this a window of opportunity to get in some serious mileage/hard runs.
On Monday, I drove up to Sycamore Landing Road, parked and then proceeded north along the towpath. Once I arrived at Edward’s Ferry, I ran up along River until I got to the turn-off for the “(NIH) Large Animal” loop we’ve done on occasion. You know, the loop old Sloane introduced me to. I then ran the 8-9 mile circuit of hills along the roads back to Sycamore Landing Road. Near the end, my pace dropped to 6:00, but I reined it in. Throughout the run, my eyes would wet…then dry again. The quiet solitude gave me time to think and reflect about what happened over the weekend. I got in a solid 15.
On Tuesday I drove to The Line and ran the 14-mile Zoo Loop. I felt tired for the first 7 miles, but soon found my groove at the top of Tilden Hill. From the bottom of Zoo Hill back to the car, I ran with tired, achy, albeit strong, legs.
On Wednesday I parked near Randolph Road and ran the Rock Creek Trail up to Rockville High School. I did the “butterfly loop” inside the Parklawn Cemetery and, while there, spied an old man sitting beside the grave of someone he loved. It was quite a sight. I got in 12. It was the hardest run I did all week - my legs were tired for sure.
On Thursday I met Sam and Scott in North Bethesda and hit up the Walter Reid Annex trails. The Pig Loop is great this time of year; wide open, little mud, but still soft. We got in just shy of 11. That night I met Catherine for another 4 miles (32:00).
On Friday I ran an easy 10 miles (1:15:30) over the hill and dale of the Cabin John Trails.
On Saturday I met the Outlaw, his buddy Shamus, Dickson and Bain for a Duel Ferries 20. My plan was to run a conservative first 14-15 miles then try to hammer the last 5 miles at a comfortable pace (i.e. – without getting out of control). We started off easy enough and we were joined by Karl five miles in at White’s Ferry. The pace gradually picked up on the back half and soon we were running 6:10s. After a quick re-fuel at the halfway point we continued on our journey. By mile 11 we were well on our way to a fast second half. I kept it under control, but broke out of my box just before mile 15 (5:37). Once there, I gradually turned up the throttle and found myself settling into a comfortable pace just south of 5:30. I continued to coast through “Nebraska”, “Iowa” then “Kansas” hitting 5:25s with playground ease...until I hit the “hill” about 1.5 miles from the end. There isn’t much to this hill, but after 18 miles, the incline seems much steeper. I focused on my form, got back on pace and strided the last half mile home in 5:26. Dix and I then shuffled another mile before calling it a morning. It was probably the best 20+ miler I’ve ever run; I’ve never run so fast, nor felt so comfortable after 15 miles in all my life. While racing through Kansas, I understood this to be the case and my mindset immediately switched from “getting into shape” to “maintaining fitness” from here on out. Too many runs like this might have undesirable effects. This is my 3rd 21+ miler this season and I hope to get in a few more of varying degrees of quality/quantity.
Splits, in five mile increments, are below:
7:30, 6:55, 6:53, 6:44, 6:35 = 34:27
6:32, 6:21, 6:17, 6:18, 6:10 = 31:38 (1:06:15 @ 10)
6:11, 6:01, 6:07, 5:59, 5:37 = 29:55 (1:36:10 @ 15)
5:36, 5:24, 5:25, 5:28, 5:26 = 27:19 (2:03:30 @ 20)
Last 5 miles run @ 5:27 pace.
Last 6 miles run @ 5:30 pace.
I ran 57:14 from mile 11-20 (5:43 pace).
Overall pace = 6:10.
On Sunday, I met Wiggy (yes Wiggy!) for an easy run at The Line. My legs were tired/I was tired for the first 30-45 minutes, but I eventually warmed up. I got in 13 for the day and 100 for the week. It was only the second 100 mile week I’ve ever done, but this go ‘round, I got it done in 8 runs. I feel good AND STRONG.
I hope to keep up the quantity next week.