Category Archives: Mt. Vernon Trail Run

17 Miles? Check!

The good news is that I have yet another my-longest-run-ever-EVER! under my belt.  The bad news is that 17 miles?  Was NOT easy.  Ouch.

I was going to meet up with Erin and Margaret at the Roosevelt Island parking lot.  I got there super early, around 5:45am, it was pitch black and I had a surreal experience.  Guy hiding under tree, another guy running (not on the trail, mind you, on the grassy area) then throwing himself down and crouching behind a bush (he did this a few times, and for sure anytime a car drove by on the George Washington Parkway).  Then the one other car parked there suddenly having the car alarm go off.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared in my whole life.

I called Margaret and asked her to make sure to park right next to my car, because I was afraid of getting out as there was a guy hiding behind a tree just a few feet away from me (should I mention it was still dark?), she thought I was crazy for hanging around there that long and to meet in Crystal City instead.

The whole experience was odd.  It would not have believed it if I didn’t experience myself.  First, who were they hiding from?  I considered calling the cops, but how do you explain that one?  At some point, both of them stared down my car from their hiding spot — luckily, since it was dark I doubt they could tell there I was in there by myself, or even that I was a girl.  I should also note, that I didn’t notice there were two separate guys, one kept up with his running and hiding and eventually disappeared from my view (shortly after the car alarm at the end of the lot went off).  When I noticed male legs hiding behind a tree a few feet from me, I assumed it was the first dude.  But when I pulled off the lot and my headlights lit him up quickly before he changed his hiding position, I realized they were wearing completely different clothes.

Freaky, really.

Anyway, onto the run…  The weather was great, it was nice and cool around the 70’s and overcast.  We started from Crystal City, and took the Mt. Vernon Trail up to Roosevelt Bridge then over to DC.  In DC, we ran the Mall, just as I did last week.  Margaret did great, with only 2 hours of sleep!  I was impressed.

I was feeling great until about the turn around point at mile 8.5.  We took a quick walking break to eat some Gu (which I totally had forgotten about up to that point), and going back to running after that was hard — my legs felt REALLY heavy.

I wasn’t enjoying myself, but I wasn’t dying either, but the last mile was, not surprisingly, my absolute hardest.  Specially since I had run out of water with 5 miles to go.  I should have had more Gu, but there’s no way I could have eaten it with nothing to wash it off.  I really wanted to give up and walk.  Erin did a great job in motivating sleep-deprived Margaret and I so that we kept on going.  (And I can’t thank Erin enough for that!)

We finished the 17 miles in 3 hours and 29 minutes, with a 12:18 average pace (which included our walking break for Gu — we walked probably a quarter of a mile for that, we needed a break).  The first half of our run hovered around the 11 and 11:30 or so pace, we slowed down a lot on the second half, most miles ending slightly above 12 min/mile.

I freaking burned 1955 calories!

I got home, showered then went straight to bed.  Managed to sleep about 4 hours straight.  I guess waking up at 5am two days in a row took its toll.

My legs?  Are sore!  My aching foot?  Didn’t hurt at all during the run, but doesn’t feel any worse right now — let’s see how it will feel tomorrow…

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Filed under Chicago Marathon Training, Marathon Training, Mt. Vernon Trail Run, Training

The (almost) 14 Miler

If you’ve been reading you know the forecast for DC on Saturday was calling up 102 degrees…  The heat index was said to be at 110.

It’s no surprise that after much insistence from my running group peeps, I had to change the Saturday run to 6am.  WTF.  I wake up for work at 7:45am.  Seriously, I get to “sleep in” on work days now…

I’m glad I was convinced to start at 6am though.  It was 88 degrees at 6am, and it was getting warmer and warmer.

Hugi met up with me, and we ran the 14 miler together.  Should I mention that up until today her longest run was 8 miles two weeks ago?  She was definitely a trooper!

We ran this route:

Started off in Crystal City, taking the Mt Vernon Trail, over to 14 Street Bridge into DC, looped around the Tidal Basin then off to Hains Point, then back to Crystal City retracing our steps.

Luckily, since the sun was still rising, Hains Point was mostly shaded.  It certainly helped!

But I was feeling miserable the whole way.  We walked a bit around Hains Point and the Tidal Basin on our way back, then after taking the 14 Street Bridge, we ended up walking the 2 miles to the end.  So my 14 miler was more like an 11.5 miler, and the 11.5 miler was SUPER slow.  You’d think I couldn’t run any slower, but you’d be surprised.  But at least I completed the distance, right?

I tried not to feel as guilty about the walking since I knew there was the 5k that night, so I would be getting my running mileage in, just not all at once…

I definitely couldn’t have done it without Hugi, that’s for sure.  She kept me from giving up much sooner.

I left this run feeling really disappointed with myself — how can I even consider running a marathon, if I failed so miserably at running 14 miles?  The mileage doesn’t get any easier, and here I am struggling at week 7 of training.

After the run we made our way over to Smoothie King (best idea ever on this heat!) and picked up our packets for the race that night.

I went home, took off my sweaty clothes, put on an old t-shirt and pants (the AC was pumping), and collapsed into bed for 2 hours — gross I know, but as much as I was dying to shower, I was also dying to sleep.  I had planned on lounging at the pool until I had to drive to see my parents who were flying into the country that day, but I didn’t even have any energy left for that either…

The only relief I had later?  When I was talking to a couple of other friends who also had run the 14 miler that day (of course I didn’t see them after my run considering the pace differential between us), pretty much all of them said they also had to walk for a bit, that the heat was excruciating, and they too were doubting this whole marathon thing.

Misery loves company…  But it restored my confidence a bit — it’s not just me, it’s this crappy weather we have.

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Filed under Chicago Marathon Training, Hains Point Run, Marathon Training, Mt. Vernon Trail Run, Training

And now I’m sore…

I am now writing this on Wednesday night, after having the longest running-day of my life.

Today, I ran 11 miles in the morning (and had a very dramatic post about it here…).  The morning run was so good (specially after I noticed that my FASTEST mile was my LAST mile, now that’s something, huh?), it kept me on a great mood all day (keep an eye out for a more detailed post with pictures tomorrow!  Yay for scheduling things ahead of time while I sun my buns in Punta Cana!).

Then I got home from work, changed, and off I went to meet my running group for a 5 mile run.  I had no clue if I could do it, and wasn’t even going to feel bad if I couldn’t.  Uh, hello-oh?  I had just run 11 miles that morning.

I hit my wall at mile 1.44.  Weak, I know.  I told myself I’d run until 1.5 and then walk a bit.  And somehow, in those 0.06 miles, the wall was gone.  I ran the whole thing, with a 11:03 average pace (pretty good considering in the morning I had run 11 miles with 11:29 pace — I got even faster later?).

I still had something left on me to pick up the pace at the last half mile.  At the end, I really could have gone longer if I needed to.  Ah, don’t you love those days?  The weather wasn’t the cool 70 degrees as it was in the morning, but at 84, it was still way cooler than it’s been for the last couple of weeks!

So I ran the longest I’ve ever run in one day:  16.3 miles.  I burned a total of 2,000 calories.  Damn, if I had it in me to run that much every day, I’d have no problems fitting into that wedding dress!  (By the way, if you think I seriously considered running 16 miles daily, you don’t know me at all…)

Week 4 of marathon training?  Complete.  And now that 20 miler training run looks a little less scary too.

81.84 total miles run in June.

298.14 total miles year-to-date.  (And yes, I did seriously consider going back out for a 2 mile run, just to round out that number to 300, damn it.)

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Filed under Chicago Marathon Training, Mt. Vernon Trail Run

Chicago Training – Week 2

After two really bad runs this week, I was not looking forward to my 9 mile training run.  I had no clue if I’d be able to keep up and not give up and walk, as I’ve been struggling with the heat.

Erin wanted us to run super-early (7am!  On a Saturday!) but since I KNOW I can’t run that long by myself without hearing my mind telling me “you’re tired, you should walk” I decided to suck it up, put the alarm on, and met up with Erin and a few others from the running group for our 9 mile run.  Ashley is quasi-training for a marathon (she hasn’t signed up for one, but wants to see if she could handle the training), and she joined us for the run too (she is usually MUCH faster than any of us).

It was great to have Ashley there, I find that in long runs like this three people are always better than two (as long as you’re all keeping up with each other, that is).  One of you is bound to hit a hard spot and get quiet, and the other two can keep up with the conversation, distracting the person that has hit their wall.

The run in itself was surprisingly great, and I had to grudgingly admit that there are benefits for waking up so freaking early on a weekend:  the weather wasn’t yet steaming hot, and by the time I was done with the run, I still had the whole day ahead of me!

We ran 9 miles going south on the Mt. Vernon trail, which is my usual Wednesday route, but since it was a longer run, we made it as far out as Old Town Alexandria.  It was a pretty day, and way too early for the crowds.  I really enjoyed the run, and finished it knowing I could have gone longer at that pace — now that is the way long runs should feel like.  Big props for Erin for setting the pace and not letting me overtire myself.

We ended the 9 mile run at an 11:38 pace.  Works for me!

Of course, I was soaking wet with sweat when I got home, but too bad our pool wasn’t opened yet.  I hope that now that cleaning our place is out of the way, I can enjoy a few laps at our building’s pool…

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Filed under Chicago Marathon Training, Mt. Vernon Trail Run