Archive for the ‘Intervals’ Category

FREE SHIT! (and other important running news)

Need a coach? Ask one of these beefcakes. Mmmmmmm. Or just read to the end of the post.

WEATHER: Humid and hot



WHERE TO: Carter Barron, 16th Street, Columbia Heights, etc.

MOOD: Productive!


My dearest readers, you have slogged through my posts long enough without getting anything in return, other than the occasional wang-related joke or minorly helpful running-related tip (a.k.a. Powerade = Satan).  But now I give you a new feature on the blog, which will be a weekly thing, I swear:

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Greener (Read: More Masochistic) Pastures

Soon I will look like Dean. Making me the scariest woman ever.

WEATHER: 45 — uncharacteristically cold for May in DC.

MILES: 10, with 8 hill repeats over by the Duke Ellington Bridge

MILES THIS WEEK: 13 (counting my sissy hung-over attempt at running yesterday)

WHERE TO: Adams Morgan, Duke Ellington Bridge, Rock Creek Parkway a little way, home.

MOOD: New lease on life (well, almost).


Well, readers, after a long lapse filled with schoolwork, stress, schoolwork, stress-baking, and a kegger at my house last weekend, I am back with the blog-posting and ready to answer all your running-related questions, as well as to inform you about the finer points of my running, like shinsplints, mental toughness, and intestinal woe.  Things are great in grad-school land, except I have yet to get the final OK on my thesis (move it along, advisors…) and the OK from my grad school that I passed the (impossible and arbitrarily-graded, from my understanding) language exit exam (why do you hate me, GWU?  WHY?).

This morning’s run was great — I wore my day-glo-yellow 2009 Boston Marathon t-shirt and did hill repeats, which made me feel like a bad-ass.  The shirt being relevant here because (sad but true) sometimes wearing a Boston shirt is all that makes me want to get through interval workouts, because interval workouts are as much fun as pap smears (or ear-peeing, as an earlier post put it).

But on to the point, which is, of course, what race to do next.  As a still-poor almost-graduated grad student, I can’t be gallavanting off to God-knows-where just to pound the shit out of my legs.  So we’re staying local.  Which will actually be kind of fun.  To wit:

1) Marine Corps Marathon.  Yeah, I had promised myself I’d try something new this year, but then the Mountie e-mailed me, saying she was doing it.  And since I usually feel selfish and guilty calling up all my friends/coworkers/etc. and telling them to come stand on a chilly corner in Crystal City for 3 hours only to see me jog by in a soggy, mildly coherent, burgundy-faced mess late in the morning, I thought it might be nice to have someone to share the guilt with. So come October 31, the Mountie and I will be rocking that shit, after which I hope she will do me the honor of joining me for my customary shameless use-my-plate-as-a-trough-brunch-fest.

2) JFK 50-Miler.  OK.  I have a little tale to tell you, and it starts back in April 2004, when I was studying abroad in London.  I was 6 years younger and 25 pounds heavier and, on the particular night in question, 12 beers drunker than I am now.  My friend Monica and I had been jogging together every day in Hyde Park, and so naturally we thought the Twin Cities Marathon would be a good first race.

“DJ!  Let’s do it!” she screamed.

I raised my fists triumphantly and fell off my bar stool.

On Saturday night, 10 marathons later but this time only about 5-beers drunk, I found myself having a similar conversation with my friend Rusty.

“Let’s do the JFK 50-miler!” he screamed.

I raised my fists triumphantly and sloshed beer down my front.

Ultramarathons — these decisions are best made while drunk.

So I will be doing the JFK 50-Miler, a race that sounds awesomely hardcore.  I quote the Reston Runners website dedicated to this race:

“Almost all runners experience some serious low points during the run where you forget that it’s actually more fun than the MCM. Usually this occurs between 25-35 miles. Expect this. Know that this will pass. Second, third and fourth winds are almost guaranteed. You are not allowed to drop out because you are tired. You are only allowed to drop out if you are injured. You are not allowed to pretend you are injured.”

…AWESOME.  And then there are the tips for crews:

“When your runner arrives, don’t expect him/her to be able to do anything or think clearly. … Offer food- don’t be offended if they refuse-ask again.”

Honestly, this might sound insufferable, but I think this is a logical next step.  I mean, I finish a marathon now and sort of shrug and limp home, either pumped or depressed about my time.  Now I will run a race in which my ONLY GOAL will be to finish.  I will finish and have my post-race/post-partum laugh-cry and then get in the car for a post-race/post-partum flipout at how awesome I feel.  Which will probably involve more delirious laugh-crying.


OK, so you may find this all to be an absolutely ridiculous plan, but you have to agree that reading the blog posts will be entertaining.  You’re excited.  Don’t lie.  So here’s to new projects and feeding the obsessive beast that is running.  Mmmmmm, this will ROCK.

Another Moment of Grace and Elegance.

WEATHER: 45ish and super-windy.

MILES: 8 or 9

WHERE TO: The Mall, up Rock Creek Parkway a little, back home.

MOOD: Delightful but frazzled.


Today I ran into an SUV.  No, it did not run into me; I ran into it. It was pulling off of the ramp from Pennsylvania Ave. onto Rock Creek Parkway, and it stopped short just at the end of the ramp instead of gracefully merging onto the Parkway.  I, expecting the merge, said, “<thump>.”  Or, rather, my torso said it as it smacked into the rear of the vehicle.  I’m sure the driver was weirded out.  Or, more precisely, freaked out.

Yes, driver, I hit your car.  I’d be sorry but I’m more just in awe of my own intelligence and coordination.

That is all.

Intervals = Ear-Peeing

WEATHER: As of 6 AM — 19 degrees or so?  Something like that.  Chilly, breezy.  And dark.




MOOD: Chipper

TYPE OF RUN: Intervals, as recommended by the VeteranTraningProgram (from the Boston Marathon website).  1 mile – 2 mile – 1 mile, plus warm-up, cool-down, and 4 min/7 min recovery.


The blog is paying off — the knowledge that the like 5 of you who read this might judge me if I didn’t do my daily running duty caused me to roll out of bed at 5:45 and not only do my 10 miles but do the intervals.  Which for me is an accomplishment.  Intervals might be considered the vegetables of training — like making your 10-year-old eat his brussels sprouts because they’re GOOD FOR HIM even if they TASTE LIKE CAT VOMIT.

This is a stupid analogy.  Vegetables are food.  Food is awesome.  Food is eaten.  Eating is the best thing in the world, next to being 15 and realizing that Lance Bass is STILL SINGLE and so you STILL HAVE A CHANCE WITH THIS GUY!

…so, yeah.  Eating.  It’s awesome.  Anyway.

Interval training is more akin to this thing this powerfully strange study hall monitor told me in high school.  I walked up to Mrs. I.’s desk one day (I. stood for her surname, “Ihavelowpaydemands”) with an earache, hoping to go to the nurse’s office.

“You know,” she smacked (for Mrs. I. said everything through these thin wormy lips that guarded the entrance to a hyper-salivated mouth that was NEVER CLOSED FOR LONG ENOUGH), “when I was a kid, if you had an ear infection, you had someone pee in your ear.”

“……huh,” I responded.

“Maybe YOU should have someone pee in your ear!” she suggested, without the faintest trace of joking-ness.

“…but…but we don’t know I have an ear infection!”

“Oh, if it hurts that much, you probably do.”

Gosh, OK. “Well, how do you know it helps?  Are there, like, studies?”

She put her hands on her hips, exasperated at this pinhead before her, asking impertinent questions.  “Of COURSE not, but it certainly never did anybody any worse!”

Touche, madam.

So there you go.  This is how I think about speedwork — it sucks while you do it, it feels like maybe the benefits are purely psychological, you have to close your eyes and grit your teeth and bear it, it’s probably better done (at least in my case) when it’s dark out and you’re too groggy to know better, and it never made anybody any WORSE off.  Not unlike getting one’s ear peed in.

Unbeatable inspiration.  There you have it.

You’re welcome.