Striding Through

Because a life well lived always finds the right pace

Monthly Archives: February 2010

Time to race again…finally

The past few weeks have been a long, for me at least, break from racing. The last time I toed a starting line was on January 16, at the MLK 20k.

But that’s about to end. This Sunday I’ll be running the RRCA Club Challenge 10-Miler in Columbia MD. As in the past I’ll be racing for the DC Roadrunners, hoping to help us improve on last year’s 6th place team finish. This race will be the first of three critical benchmark races prior to Boston, which is now only eight weeks away!

I’ll also be looking to improve on my own performance last year, when I had what can only be called a rough day. I was sick to my stomach all morning and barely held everything together until I crossed the finish line, then not a second longer. At 67:32, I was almost a minute off my PR, and deep enough in the pack to really drag down our team score. I felt badly about that, and definitely felt personally cheated that day. I love racing this distance and I know that I had a better race in me that day. So there’s an element of redemption at stake here. Whether I can get a new PR remains to be seen; I’ve been training hard lately and am only backing off a little bit this week — no taper for this race — so my legs will not be 100% fresh. But I’ll give it my best effort. If nothing else the highly competitive field should pull me along and ask me to dig deep when the time comes.

I’m just happy to get out and race again. It feels a bit like “breaking camp” before the baseball season starts. And that can only mean spring is around the corner!

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Snowpunked

As I sit at the kitchen table watching the latest version of winter’s endless assault on the Washington, DC metro area, I alternate between dread — “what’s next?” — and plotting “what’s next.” For the past week, it seems we are in an endless 2-3 day cycle: snowfall, recover from snowfall, brace for the next snowfall. I hear this one is the last for a while, this punch is a strong one, and as for the end, I’ll believe it when I see it.  It’s hard to believe right now the average high temperature in this area, for this time of year is 46. Or, that spring training starts for the Phillies in about a week.  The George Washington’s Birthday Marathon, DC Roadrunners Club’s signature marathon race, is scheduled for Sunday in Greenbelt. I was secretly thinking of jumping into it at the last minute for a long, supported training run, but now I doubt it will be run (UPDATE – it has indeed been canceled).

Our driveway this morning, after the latest blast of snow

Suffice to say spring marathon training has taken a hit. Luckily it hasn’t been a total loss; I’ve been able to train on our home treadmill a lot but the events outside still have a way of imposing themselves. For example, sometimes plans to run indoors get trumped by marathon snow-shoveling sessions outside. Or there are days like yesterday, when our Lexus SUV’s battery died in the middle of our street. Thankfully most of our neighbors were in good spirits and helped us first with trying to jump it (unsuccessfully) and then finally pushing it into a safe spot in our driveway while also freeing the Prius, which is for the time being our one working car.

At least I’ve been able to hone my chili-making skills using the slow-cooker my brother gave us for Christmas. We made some on Super Bowl Sunday that was an improvisational type — meat base was cubed pork of all things — and it turned out quite good. Today I’m going with a more conventional ground beef base, plus onions, garlic, green pepper, jalapeno pepper, and black beans. For spicing, I started with some Hard Times Cincinnati Chili Mix and then added some more chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin and cinnamon, and just to really add my own touch a spoonful of a chocolate-based chili barbecue rub someone gave me a while back. It’s starting to smell really good and with its high protein kick it will no doubt fuel a lot of post-run recoveries — once I can get outside for long runs again.

Chili’s cooking, time to hop on the treadmill.