Marathon training – week 8 (of 12) – Race #4



I went through my longest run of the year this week.  The plan was to attempt the 20 mile run on Sunday, which I set out to do, but I got through about 17 and change before stopping.  Surprisingly, and foolishly, it is the longest run that I’ve ever done while training for a marathon.  During my first marathon, I did a 16 mile run and for the second, I think my longest run was about 13 or 14 miles.  So though I did not make the full 20, I was proud of that accomplishment.


During the 17 miler, I decided to try for two goals:  1. To practice my marathon pacing plan and 2. To practice my nutrition and hydration.  I felt like I got enough data to refine both.  For the marathon pacing, I’ve decided to go for a PR, which would be faster than 4:32:04.  So, my goal time for this race is 4:30:00 or under.  For now, I’m thinking that my pacing plan will be as follows:


Mile Pace (min/mile) Project finish (hours)
1 10.75 4.35
2 10.75
3 10.75
4 10.75
5 10.75
6 10.25
7 10.25
8 10.25
9 10.25
10 10.25
11 9.75
12 9.75
13 9.75
14 9.75
15 9.75
16 9.75
17 9.75
18 9.75
19 9.75
20 9.75
21 9.5
22 9.5
23 9.5
24 9.5
25 9.5
26 9.5
0.2 1.9


I might tweak this, but basically, the plan is to get through 20 miles in about 3 hours and 20 minutes and then just go at as fast a pace as possible for the last 6.


For the nutrition and hydration, I took gels every 45 minutes and a salt tab on the hour, every hour.  The problem was on the hydration piece, which I guess will be resolved at the marathon with the water and Gatorade stations.  My running water bottle isn’t big enough to hold more than 16 ounces, so I had to stop at about mile 13 to buy some more.  When I finally threw in the towel at mile 17, I was near a concession stand at the Jefferson Memorial, and I bought some Gatorade and quickly downed it.  So I’d rate my nutrition plan at a 5 out of 7, hydration at a 3 out of 7.


Other than the long 17 mile run, I had two other medium-ish runs.  A seven and a half mile run in Baltimore after work one day, and a 8+ mile run the morning before the long run.  Both runs were fun, since I kind of didn’t know where I was going.  At least not entirely.  In Baltimore, I ran down to the Inner Harbor and then looked for a path to run to loop the 7ish miles.  For the 8 mile run in DC, I decided to detour from my typical Monument-to-Jefferson-to-FDR-to-MLK-to-Lincoln route and ran down to Nats Stadium and back along the SW waterfront.  Cool to see the construction.  I took these pictures:






So all together 32.99 miles over three runs.






Next week includes the last long run before tapering.  The schedule calls for 20, and I’m going to attempt that again.  Let’s see how it goes.  Man, it’d feel good psychologically to get one of those in.  Jess and I are taking a mini vacation with Mini, trip to a cabin in the mountains, so I’ll either have to find time to run there, or do it when I get back to DC.


TWIR (This Week In Running)


I’ve found that I’m relying more and more on this section to try and catalog big milestones for Mini.  Over the past week, she’s become so much more interactive.  It’s like a huge jump from how she was engaging with us before to how she is now.  She’s in full on cute-mode.  She smiles so big every time she sees me.  It’s the best part of my day for sure.  When I come home from work, I go straight to her, and she looks at me, pauses for a second or two, and then gives me the cutest, most bashful smile in the world.  It really just captures my heart, seeing her like that every day.  She’s even starting to laugh more.  There’s this zebra above her changing table (“Mr. Zebra”) and man, she loves that guy.  She can go from zero to sixty when she sees it, from a full on crying meltdown to nonstop giggle, as soon as she sees that zebra.


Mini is firmly in her “fourth leap” according to this wonder weeks app that I have on my phone.  She’s going to start recognizing and adapting to sequences and events a lot more, where all five of her senses analyze the world around her more coherently.  It’s really cool to watch her grow into that.


In other news, I’ve been taking the train into and out of work more often, and doing so, I have more reading time on my hands.  I’m wrapping up a biography on William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States.


Much more interesting, however, was an article I read in Runner’s World magazine.  Here is the article, and hopefully the link works long after I post it.  It’s about this woman, Amy Frohnmayer Winn who had this affliction called Fanconi anemia (FA), which is a very rare inherited anemia occuring in about 1 in 350,000 births.  People with FA develop low blood counts and their chance of getting leukemia is very high.  Amy was born with FA, as were two of her sisters.  The median age of survival is 33 years old.  I won’t give away all the details of the article, because it is incredibly well written and, fully recognizing the hyperbole of the following statements, it really is probably one of the most inspiring things I have ever read.  Both of Amy’s sisters died of FA, and she was born with it, and would eventually die from it.  The article is about Amy’s acceptance of who she was, her fate in this world, and her ability to overcome all of that and live this life with presence.  The article is written through the lens of her running, which serves as the vehicle to tell the story of this courageous young woman, who probably lived more meaningful days in her short life than most people do through old age.  At one point, the article mentions how when Amy was a student at Stanford, she stopped in between classes to observe a cloud formation overhead, and then wrote home to her father about it, acknowledging that there was this beauty in the world that so many people just idly passed by.  I’m going to copy and paste the end of this article, because it resonates so strongly with me:


In the annals of distance running, of people struggling with cancer and other fatal diseases, and of distance runners engaged with those maladies, the case of Amy Frohnmayer Winn would likely rank well down the all-time lists.

She never set a record, never won a race, never qualified for Boston, and never made a grand heroic gesture in the manner of Terry Fox, who in 1980, while dying from cancer, ran more than halfway across Canada on a prosthetic leg to raise money for cancer research.

Rather than the marathon, ultramarathon, or transcontinental consciousness-and fund-raising trek, Amy’s metier was the humble daily run. She raced but didn’t worry where she finished, and many of her best and truest runs were logged solo. But Amy ran no less passionately than Terry Fox, and her contribution, as an inspiration, is just as significant.

No matter how long or faithfully we run, there inevitably comes a moment of doubt, a spasm of existential worry that all the time out on the road, or running around a track, or laboring to whittle a PR, or busting to get from Point A to Point B in front of the next person—all of that is meaningless, a reassuring fiction we tell ourselves, precious moments of life packed down the rathole, just another one of the infinite ways that human beings have concocted to deny the fact of our mortality.

The moment soon passes and out of self-preserving habit and denial—I am going to live forever—we keep running. But that nagging wiggle of doubt will inexorably return, and when it does the doubt can be faced down by recalling the Promethean example of a Terry Fox or some other titan.

Or our footsteps can be settled by recalling a young woman who placed running near the center of her life but never grew obsessed by it; who nonetheless covered each mile, each step, as if it were her last. We can remember Amy Frohnmayer Winn, who never enjoyed—or never was blinded by—the luxury of denying her death; who knew from the earliest possible age that she possessed a meted stock of moments on this planet.

Amy decided to live inside her moments. Amy chose to run.”

What a beautiful story.


I happened to finish the article right as I got to my train stop at BWI Airport.  Fresh off the perspective in the article, I walked by a young family, a mom with her daughter sitting on a bench waiting for a taxi or a bus.  The daughter, who must have been 3 or 4 years old had her mom’s phone in her hand, with a calculator app opened up.  She exclaimed with such joy:  “mom, when you add 6 to 20, it becomes 26!  6 plus 20 is 26!”


I don’t know if I was channeling Amy’s spirit there, but for some reason, I thought that was such a beautiful moment.  Something I would have passed by before, and possibly have passed by since, but just hearing that excitement in that young girl’s voice, about discovering a mundane operation of math and marveling that it was something that was true, genuinely and verifiably true, that 6 + 20 = 26, that’s the beauty in the world that we should try to see every single day.  That’s the kind of impact that Amy’s life will have on me, someone who she never met, but is inspired by her example to live in the moments.

Marathon training – week 7 (of 12) – Race #4


I don’t have a screen shot of my runs this week, mainly because I went on a medium-longish run and didn’t log it on my app.  But I did put it down on my spreadsheet, so I’ll summarize it:

6/13/17:  6 miles, 57 min, 37 sec (9 min 36 sec pace)

6/14/17:  8 miles, 1 hr, 21 min, 23 sec (10 min 10 sec pace)

6/16/17:  12 miles, 2 hr, 0 min (10 min pace)

6/17/17:  4 miles, 38 min, 27 sec (9 min 36 sec pace)


So my total mileage here was 30 miles.  Interesting fact, I did not do a single run this week on the streets of DC.  And bonus fact, I ran twice on a treadmill (6 miles and 8 miles).  The treadmill runs were dreadful, but not as bad as I was fearing.  I did the 12 mile and 4 mile run in South Carolina where I was home visiting my family.  Some pictures from the running:



The first two is from Seven Oaks Park, which was pretty much where I lived out my childhood.  It’s always cool to take Jess there, some serious nostalgia in those woods.  The second two are from Lake Murray.  Overall, it was a decent week.  The mileage is still low for marathon training, but that’s fine.  I’m thinking of giving up control over a specific goal time for SF and just going out there and having fun.  With a new born at home, sometimes life has got to give and I’ll consider it an accomplishment to be able to have trained and finished a race during this time.  I was proud of myself for hitting the treadmill, which I did due to the very hot temperatures on the day I ran.  Both days were in the mid-90s, high humidity, and the only time I had available to run was in the middle of the day on my lunch break.  That would have been a terrible idea.


I’m coming up with a marathon race plan.  I know I just said that I don’t have a goal time in mind.  But I do want to still have a plan in mind to try and finish strong.  So right now, I’m looking to do a 4 hr. 10 min run, with plans to start off slow and work up to mile 20 before running strong (and hopefully not through the wall).  I’ll update it when I finalize the plan.





The training plan called for me to do my 20 mile run this weekend.  That did not happen, but I am aiming to do that next week.  The goal is to follow the training schedule as much as possible.  I think there are two long runs left in the original 12 week plan before the taper, and I’d like to get at least one 20 in.  I might do a 20 this week, and an 18 the week after before I hit the taper, and see what happens.




This was a great week.  We spent the first half of the week in our usual work/life routine, taking care of Mini and enjoying our day to day life.  On Thursday we took a trip to South Carolina and stayed there til Monday.  It was really nice to take Mini to South Carolina, to introduce her to my childhood home.  There are certain moments in life that transcend the moments in which they occur.  For me, this weekend was full of them.  Mini’s first plane ride, my parents  with their first grandchild in the same house where they raised their own children, taking her to the Mandir, driving around the old haunts from my childhood, those are all moments that I will treasure.  And I look forward to many more of them.


We were a little anxious flying with Mini but it actually turned out alright.  Flying with her was actually a breeze, the annoying part was the regular hassle of US air travel.  On Thursday, our flight out was at 8am, and we go to the airport at 6am, but due to long and inefficient lines with Southwest Airlines, we almost missed our flight even though we were two hours early!  It was incredibly annoying, but once on the plane, it was alright, and Mini couldn’t have cared less about the hassle.




We flew to Charlotte and rented a car to drive to Columbia.  After a long traffic delay, we made it home, and the good times began.  My parents are so in love with this kid, it’s really cool to see.  Over the course of the weekend, Mini spent tons of quality time with her grandparents, went to the Mandir, met her uncle, and other family members.  Some pictures to capture the moments:





So overall, we had a great weekend.  The flight back was ridiculous.  I’m not going to repeat the story, because other than listening to or hearing about people’s dreams, stories about their flying experiences are just not fun to listen to.  Basically, our flight was supposed to leave at 8pm from Charlotte, didn’t leave til 12:30am.  Fortunately Mini slept through it all.

Marathon training – week 6 (of 12) – Race #4

This week’s theme:  PR.




Another low mileage week.  But it’s all good, because I got my first PR since starting this blog!  I clocked in, officially, at 51:10 for the Lawyer’s Have Heart 10K on Saturday.  Really excited for that!


Overall, this was a low mileage week.  Just busy with work and family time.  But the runs I did go on were beautiful and memorable.  I did an early morning run with Jess and Mini, and of course, the 10K PR on Saturday.  In between, I did a quick 3 mile run at the gym and also did some more strength and cross training.  Pictures before the summary:




And for the summary, 14.39 miles over 5 runs, one of which was a casual run/walk with Jess and Mini.






Every now and then, I wonder if I should drop down to the half marathon for SF.  Jess and I are going out there as a family trip, and I’d like for us to be able to enjoy all of it, including Sunday, and I don’t want to be too wrecked after running it.  But I do think I can complete it decently, and since we’re going all the way out there, I’d like to knock out CA before needing to travel back for it.  Now seems as good as a time as any.  So, all this is a way of saying, the goal for next week remains to stay on the plan, with some modifications likely due to a trip to SC we are taking.




A few firsts this week.  For me, my 10k PR.  For Mini, it was her first time in the pool.  We dipped her feet in on Saturday, and though she seemed confused as hell as to why we were putting her in a gigantic tub of water, she kind of liked it, or at least tolerated it.  Other highlights of the week, we hung out with a friend, tried out a new Hawaiian spot in DC and also a new sushi spot.  Started, but haven’t finished yet, the movie Moonlight.  We are planning to travel to SC this upcoming weekend.

Race Report: 2017 Lawyers Have Heart 10K – PR!

Finish time:  51:10 (PERSONAL RECORD!) 

Placing:  492 out of 1694 (overall)

389 out of 917 (male)

127 out of 264 (male division 30-39)


I'll remember this run as my first (and hopefully not last) PR since I really started keeping track of my races.  I now realize how great a feeling it is to hit a PR on a race.  I kind of went into the race teetering between pushing for a personal best or pulling it back and just running a steady 6.2 miles.  My marathon training schedule called for a 6 mile run that day, so it would have worked alright if I just ran at a steady pace.  But I had missed a good number of runs earlier in the week, and the morning of the 10K, I decided that I was going to go for it.  I was pretty happy with the end result, though I still do have ambitions of breaking 50 soon.




The race had a 7am start, and I was too busy with work during the week to pick up my race bib on Friday so I had to plan to get to Georgetown at around 6:15 to get everything set.  Last year, I ubered down there and barely made it on time.  This year, I decided that I would actually run to the start line, mainly because I decided that I was going to try for a PR, and I figured that I could use the easy warm up before the race started.  After a 5am wake up, I decided that I'd actually run from my common starting point in Potomac Park near the Lincoln Memorial instead of running from our condo.  So I drove down there at around 5:30 to do the 1.5 mile run to Georgetown.  It was an absolutely beautiful morning, and I snapped this beauty on the way to the race.




I made it to the start line, grabbed my bib, warmed up a bit and just kind of hung around until the start.  Here's a picture towards the water of other runners getting ready before the run:




Miles 1-3


9:15 min/mile; 7:54; 7:50


My previous PR was 52:06 at this same 10K back in 2015.  That amounts to about a 8:24 min/mile pace.  So my plan going into this race was to use the first mile to warm up at around 9ish min/mile and then hit every other mile at around 8:15 and I should be able to break it.  In hindsight, this was too conservative.  That first mile is always tough, especially in a race when you're bobbing and weaving, but I do wish I would have tried a sub 8:30 throughout to get to an under 50:00 end.  As you'll see, that first mile was the only one that was over 9, all others were right around 8, and I think I could have sustained starting off faster.  Once the first mile ended, I decided that I'd just pick it up.  I threw away my "under 8:15 goal" and put it in my head to stay under 8 mins the rest of the way.


Miles 4-6


7:52; 8:02; 8:05


I slowed a bit on the back half of the race especially after some of the hills towards the end of the course.  I started feeling pretty fatigued right around mile 5.3 or so, and had to mentally tell myself to push through that last mile to get to a PR.


Miles 6-6.2



For the last mile or so, I was trying to pace with this dude who was running right along side me since mile 4.  He seemed to be doing just fine, and I had delusions that if I stayed with him and sprinted the last quarter of a mile or so, I could maybe break 51.  With about 0.3 miles to go, he took off and I tried to stay with him, but he just got ahead.  We weren't racing each other or anything, in fact, he probably had no idea that I was using him as a pacer, but in any event, following him actually pushed me to finish strong.  I crossed at 51:10.



I got my medal, which was actually pretty cool this year compared to years past, and sat down in a grassy patch to cool off.  By then it was about 8 am, and it was starting to heat up a bit into what would ultimately turn out to be a 90+ degree day.  I wandered the area and ran into some former colleagues of mine from a previous employer.  It was good to see them–we caught up for about 15 minutes or so, and then parted ways.  I walked back the 1.5 miles to my car parked near the Lincoln.  It was a nice walk, I made a conscious effort to turn off my phone, put away my music and just enjoy scenery and be in the moment.


It was a fantastic morning for a 10K PR.

Marathon training week 5 (of 12) – Race #4

This week’s theme:  “Get away from the screen”




I ran only twice this week, a seven mile run on Wednesday and a 14 mile on Sunday, but after the Sunday run, I feel this renewed energy.  Before that, I was debating on whether I should give up and switch down to the half marathon in San Francisco.  I missed a few runs over the week because of life, and I was not wanting to get out there on Sunday.  The alarm went off at around 5am, and I forced myself to get out the door, telling myself that if I didn’t go for the run that day, I wouldn’t be doing the full marathon in SF.  Like so many other runs, the first two miles of that were dreadful.  But then something clicked.  I turned off my headphones, and decided that I’m going to hit the longest run of the year and spend every moment of it being present around me (not locked into listening to music).


It was incredibly meditative for me, to spend those 2+ hours out there like that.  I have realized that having this block of time to myself is becoming so important.  Admittedly, I find myself having more and more screen time, and I am going to make it a goal of mine to spend my long runs away from my headphones and to myself, maybe next time I’ll leave the phone at home too.


So, this week, it was 21.23 miles on two runs:




And of course, the pictures, Wednesday first, and then Sunday:


Wednesday, by the Potomac:



Sunday, including a picture to replicate a scene from House of Cards:





Let’s try to get back on, around 50 miles planned.  I am traveling to South Carolina, though, for a long weekend, so I am hoping to get the miles in there.


TWIR (This Week In Running):


It was another great week, the first full week of the summer.  It was a short work week b/c of Memorial Day, and we had some fun events at work on Wednesday.  Jess and I (and Mini) started the new season of House of Cards.  We also had dinner on our rooftop on Thursday night:




On Friday night, we went out for pizza night at the local bakery and then had a late evening with Mini on the National Mall, as it was Astronomy Night on the National Mall.  A bunch of amateur astronomers set up their telescopes and we took a look at Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon.  We went to this event last year, and I imagine that we will be taking Mini every year that we can as long as we are in the area.




That bright object to the left of the moon that looks like a star is actually Jupiter.  Pretty cool.


On Saturday, Jess and I ran some errands, got some ice cream and dinner with Mini.  On Sunday, I went for my long run and later that day the three of us grabbed sandwiches from Taylor’s and went to Teddy Roosevelt Island for a mini picnic.




In the evening, we stopped by a friends house for some pie, and came home in the evening to watch some more House of Cards and also Game 2 of the NBA Finals.