On Tuesday, I ran an easy 8 with Scott, Jordan and the Chicken Tender Runner, who reminded everyone (more than once) that he was not in good shape and probably wouldn't be anytime soon. The rest of us rolled our eyes.
On Wednesday, I ran 11 miles, most of them at a sub-6:20 pace - so an honest effort throughout. In fact, I clocked a 5:38 and some 5:50s on my way back. Spring was definitely in the air; the area around the Walter Reed Annex Trails was transforming from brown to green.
On Thursday, I ran with Old Benedict Sloane in Cabin John (Tuckerman entrance). It was freezing cold outside - actually, the weather, with the windchill, was 0 degrees. Pretty awful since Wednesday's high was 72. We got in an easy 8.5 miles.
On Friday, I ran an easy 6.5 again in Cabin John (Bradley entrance). I saw a red fox, which was cool. I kept it easy and slow per the last minute race I decided to run on Saturday.
On Saturday, I ran the Four Fours Four Miler in Arlington, VA. I'd never run the race before, but I treated it as a good opportunity to get back into the racing spirit. The course is an out-and-back starting in the Courthouse section of Arlington. The first mile drops pretty quickly, then the course evens out (in terms of terrain) for a mile (passing Iwo Jima on the right) before looping around some cones and coming back the same way. After warming up for 2.5 miles with Outlaw and securing my bag in some corner of the Irish pub, I sauntered out to the starting line. The race took off very fast, but I did my best to hold back. I checked my watch early on and noticed we were "only" 5:00 pace, which wasn't crazy since we were racing downhill, but the pace quickly picked up. As soon as the hill leveled out I surged a little. I was in 7th place, but tried to stick to Matt Barresi who started to inch away. We passed the one mile marker and I heard Outlaw quip, "that's a new PR," and about 10-seconds later my GPS beeped - 4:39. Damn, that was a lot faster than I thought we were running. By then I had settled into 5th pace, behind a trio of Pacers (including Barresi) and teammate David Roche, who owns a USATF Championship (2012 10k trail champs). Roche had gone out like a bat out of hell (at least 10 or 15 seconds ahead of me at the mile), which was his plan ahead of time, and was definitely dueling with our frenemies in black. I tried to keep my tempo as we approached the two mile mark, but I was already suffering from my current lack of fitness/strength. I hit mile 2 in 9:46 and mile 3 in a tick over 15:00 (15:35 at 5k). Then came the climb. Although I had included the hill in my warmed up, nothing could have prepared me for the wall that is Wilson Blvd. The four runners ahead of me seemed to stop in their tracks and, for a moment, I thought I'd be able to catch them -- ALL of them. Silly fox, hills hurt us all. When I began to climb, my pace ground to a halt. I began to breath considerably - insomuch that I couldn't remembered the last time I had breathed so hard in a race. I felt as if I were doing a Big Bad Wolf impression. I dared not look at my watch nor take my eyes off the road ahead of me simply to preserve my energy, but I had little momentum during the climb. I crossed the finish line a tick under 21:00 - my last mile was 5:48! I was completely spent but picked up the pieces and ran a 3 mile cool down with the team. Overall, I wouldn't say I was pleased, nor was I disappointed, but it was a great rust-buster, which truly left me hurting -- and I really needed that. 9.5 for the day. After I was done running, I drank 6 Guinnesses, all of which were free. Then I napped. #StPatrick'sDayRacing
On Sunday, I met Outlaw, Dix, PMurph and Charlie at The Line for a long run. Outlaw and I manged to stick to trails the entire run and got in 15 miles or so (GPS broke) in 1:46.
64 miles for the week and my first time all year running 7 days in a week.
It looks like my spring race plans are as follows: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, Pikes Peek 10k and peaking for the Broad Street Run -- subject to change, of course.
COMING BACK UP...SLOWLY