Maintenance week – December 18 to December 24

WEEK SUMMARY
Christmas week!  I went for one run, a five mile run in Alexandria, VA on Friday.  I had the day off, so I dropped Mini off at daycare and went for a quick run before picking her back up and heading home to pack for our trip to Rochester.  It’s actually the first time I’ve ever ran in Alexandria, but I plan on running there more.  One interesting future run would be across the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge, where all three DMV jurisdictions come to a point over the Potomac River.  Kind of cool and unique to be able to do that.

 

Anyway, one run for 5.1 miles.

 

TWIR

 

This was Christmas week, and Jess and I had a great time visiting her family in Rochester, NY.  We left on Friday, stayed overnight in Williamsport (home of the Little League Hall of Fame) and got to Rochester on Saturday morning.  The timing was perfect, because it snowed like 4 or 5 inches right after we got there.  On Saturday, we took Mini to see Santa a local mall.  She hated it.  Pretty much cried immediately after we put her on Santa’s lap.  I don’t blame her.  It must be a weird experience for a kid.  On Sunday and Monday, we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas in the way it should be spent, with family relaxing and eating a lot.  Now we’re back in DC, hanging out and spending some quality time together until the new year and new beginnings in 2018.

 

Some pictures:

 

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Maintenance week – December 11 to December 17

WEEK SUMMARY

 

I got back into it a bit this week, running three times.  The weekly mileage is still relatively low, but I did have a long run on Saturday.  Total miles for the week were 13.36 over three runs.  My initial, and nerdy, plan was to run consecutive days with lengths in prime numbers–1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13 and then back down.  I did the 1 and 2 part, skipped 3, and then did 10.36.  Go figure.

 

Anyway, on Saturday morning, I was intending to go for about 7 miles, but decided to get 10 done.  I felt great, and haven’t been sore the next day.  This week is one where I’m going to try and get a regular amount in before Christmas.  Some pictures:

 

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So, 13.36 miles over three runs.

 

TWIR

 

Christmas season is in full effect, and this year I’ve been more excited about it than years past.  I’ve been excited to experience all these new holidays again with Mini, and it’s made Jess and I want to start some new traditions of our own.  We put up the tree and the stocking, and earlier in the week went to city center to check out the large tree they have there.

 

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On Friday, we had pizza night + jazz with a friend at Baked Joint.  It’s becoming a favorite end of week tradition for us.  On Saturday we spent time with Mini’s cousins that live nearby.   That evening, Jess found out that she passed her national board certification.  It’s a big accomplishment, something that takes three years and a lot of hard work.  We celebrated a little on Sunday, but are planning to really do it up the week after Christmas when we have some more time.  On Sunday, I took Mini to Freer/Sackler Museum again to view some asian art.  Otherwise, it was a nice mix of a relaxed and busy weekend.

 

Oh, and we’re in the middle of sleep training Mini.  She always had been a good sleeper, but as she changes, her sleep patterns have changed too, and we’re working to get her to sleep comfortably through the night.  The first night (Saturday) was tough.  Mini has started to roll over and sleep on her stomach at night, which is always panic inducing for some reason, but totally safe at this age from what I read.  The second night (Sunday) wasn’t as difficult.  I think in a day or two, she hopefully should be adjusted.  Then it’s just a matter of sleep training for me, or at least to try and get more than sleep segments longer than 2-3 hours.

 

 

Maintenance week – December 4 to December 10

WEEK SUMMARY

I went for one run this week, which was the EOD Warrior Dash Half Marathon.  I ran this one so that I could complete the feat of running a 5K, 10K, 10 miler, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon after Mini was born and before the end of the year.  Mission accomplished.

 

This also was probably my longest trail run.  I almost always run on the street/pavement and hardly ever run on trails.  I kind of liked the trail running, it was nice to go through nature like that with the snowy scenery.  Maybe I’ll try more of it in ’18.

 

So, one run this week for 13.1 miles.

 

TWIR

 

The biggest news of the week for me–my mom is cancer free right now!  I went down to Charleston on Friday for her latest scan, and basically she has no evidence of disease.  Her last scan had the same status.  It’s amazing, how far she has come, and I’m thankful and look towards others with a measure of humility and hope that other families have similar positive outcomes.  It’s such fantastic news, and great way to end a very good year!

 

I feel like I want to renew my focus, or perhaps dedicate more focus, to finding ways to give back.  Generally, yes, but also specifically to people and families who are battling illness.  One of the reasons I’ve registered for so many races this year is because it’s a built in way to combine a hobby of mine with charity.  The money always goes towards a good cause, and I get to do something fun with it.

 

In my previous experiences, I’ve found volunteering to be a mixed bag.  With the right group and organization, you can really feel like you’re doing something.  Casey Trees in DC was like that when I volunteered there last year.  In fact, after typing that very sentence, I went to their website and registered for a tree planting session on Jan. 6th.  Other times, though, when I’ve volunteered, I feel like the group had been poorly organized, and you kind of feel like you’re either wasting your time or that you’re in the way and not really helping.  All of this is to say, I don’t want to help just to make myself feel better, I want to find a more concentrated, focused goal to find a way to give back.

 

Anyway, that’s that.  My flight back from Charleston was delayed by 6 hours, so I didn’t get home until late Friday evening.  On Saturday, we went to a brunch at a friend’s house to celebrate the holidays and had a great time.  On the way back home, we drove to the Mall, and took some pictures of Mini experiencing her first snowfall:

 

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On Sunday, we went to lunch at Union Market.  We need to go there more, because that place is awesome, and the food is fantastic.  We had some dosas, Italian food, and nikuman (the Japanese version of Bao). I have a goal to try and cook more at home in 2018, maybe I’ll try to make some home made pork buns.

 

 

Race Report – EOD Warrior Holiday Dash Half Marathon – PR!

Finish time:  2:06:29 (PERSONAL RECORD!)

Placing:  85 out of 162

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With the year is winding down, I was looking back at the races I did this year and I realized that since Mini was born I have run races at all the standard distances except for the half marathon.  And so I set out to do a half before the end of the year.  And then, just as I type this, I realize that I actually had run a half marathon about a month ago (the DC Half and Half, though not an official race), so maybe I never needed to run this.

But I’m glad that I did.  I’m always glad that I go out for a run.  It may feel painful to go through the process, just like it’s sometimes painful to go through the process of writing, but when I’m done, I’m glad I did it.  It was a cold morning, fresh off the first winter snow.  Even up until the race, as I sat in my car to keep warm, I thought about going back home.  But I didn’t listen to that devil on my shoulder, went out and ran, had a great conversation with a stranger, and set a personal record.

PRE-RACE

I saw this race and kept my eye on registering.  I was traveling to South Carolina on the Friday before for an appointment with my mom, and so I waited until Saturday to register in case something came up.  Thankfully, the appointment went very well, my mom is still cancer free (!) and so I went forward with registering.

I snowed briefly on Saturday, and since this race happens on a trail, I was a little concerned about the conditions.  That, and I haven’t really run very much at all recently.  Ironically, the last two longish runs I’ve done have both been in very cold weather (below freezing).

Anyway, the race started at 8:30 in Georgetown, and I headed down there by 7:30 to pick up my packet.  It was cold.  The thermometer on my car said 34 degrees, the windchill was 29.  I sat in my car and debated coming back home.  But then I figured that, at most, I’d be done in 2.5 hours, so why not just run the thing.  Kind of weird logic, I know.

I stepped outside and snapped some pictures, but even as I walked over to the start, I thought about turning around.  The mind is a powerful thing.

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My goal was to try and PR, but really to keep under at 10 min/mile pace.

Miles 1-4

10:02 min/mile; 9:31; 9:27; 9:18

The course is pretty straight forward.  It’s an out and back along Capital Crescent Trail which later turns into the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal Towpath.  The trail was a little slippery for the initial mile or two.  And it was pretty muddy.  But the scenery was beautiful.

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Miles 5-8

9:31; 9:32; 9:51; 9:32

Right around mile 5, I started chatting with a fellow runner.  And we ended up running the rest of the race together.  Experiences like this are exactly why I love running in races–I always seem walk away from every race with a positive experience and interaction.  She was running this race to complete 100 miles of race running this year.  Which then got me to thinking, how many miles in races did I run this year?

If I don’t count the DC Half and Half, the answer is 90.3 miles of racing.  If you do count the H&H, it comes to 100.3 (I ran only 10 miles of it).  So technically, I guess, I too was trying to pass 100 miles of race running this year too.

Miles 9-12

9:31; 9:32; 9:51; 9:51

As mentioned above, the race kind of went by quickly from here because I had a running partner to chat with.  When we got to the end of mile 12, I was actually kind of surprised that we were almost done with the race.

Miles 13-end

10:00; 1:01 

Once I recognized we were at the last mile, the race felt long again.  I guess I had spent the whole morning dreading the race, and then for most of it, I had unexpectedly forgot that I was really running.  And when the finish was coming up, my legs started to feel heavy again.  But from the glances down at my watch, I knew that I was going to PR, so I felt great.  PRing a half marathon in the snow, nothing like it!

Post-race

After sprinting to the finish, I collected my medal, which was a kind of cool bottle opener.  This was a pretty small event, so there wasn’t much of a formal finish, but it was still well done. I grabbed some of the snacks and water laid out, said goodbye to my race friend, and headed back to my car.

As I drove home, I started to think a lot about some of the perspectives I gained through the year, and how this race was a bit of a microcosm of that.  I decided to put my own negativity and nay-saying behind me and go for a run in the snow.  I reached a personal best, had an unexpectedly great experience, and had a nice conversation with a one-time stranger.  All in all, a pretty good run.

Maintenance week – November 27 to December 3

WEEK SUMMARY

After I looked at my numbers for November, I decided to assess what year-end goals were in reach.  1000 miles is not in the cards this year, and that’s ok.  I’m at right around 650 miles right now, and if I push a bit, I can maybe get to 750 by the end of the year.  That’s pretty much a 10K every other day.  Let’s see how it goes.

 

So I went for my first run of December on Saturday morning.  It was right around a 10K, the usual spot in DC.  It was a cold morning, around 35 degrees, so I didn’t bring Mini along this time.  But I did get some spectacular sunrise photos.

 

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And I capped this all off by seeing Marine One on my drive back home

 

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So, one run this week, 6.36 miles.

 

I am planning to run a half marathon, though, next Sunday.

 

TWIR

 

This last week kind of went by in a blur.  The three of us were sick for a little bit with a cold, and so we were fighting that off after the Thanksgiving break.  On Friday, I went back to the gym, which was nice after a two week hiatus.  Otherwise, I don’t really remember too much from the weekday, other than the usual life blur.

 

The weekend was very nice.  On Friday night, Jess and I took Mini to Baked Joint for pizza + jazz.  Mini seems to love hearing the music.  It’s a fun family tradition for us.  After putting Mini to bed, we rewatched “Get Out” which certainly held up to the incredible impression we had when we saw it in theaters.  On Saturday, I rose early and did my 10K.  Jess had some things planned in the afternoon, so Mini and I went to the portrait gallery.  We saw a few exhibits, most notably was the exhibits on “Famous Americans” where various character actors were staged next to their portraits to tell their story.  We stayed to listen to the guy who played Bobby Kennedy.  He did a great job, so I did feel bad when Mini looked at him and screamed in a terrified way as he started talking about his assassination (pure coincidence–I think?).  It was the first time, I’ve had to cart away a screaming baby from a public performance.  What a year of firsts!

 

We hung out in the courtyard for a bit afterwards, and this is a goal of mine to do more in 2018.

 

That evening, we headed to a friend’s place to watch Clemson clinched their third straight college football playoff berth with their domination over Miami.  It’s unbelievable.  Still hard to believe that they have had a run like this.  I truly am going to look back at these years as the best of times!

 

On Sunday, our brother-in-law was randomly in town, and so we met up with him and other family to attend a German Christmas market in DuPont circle.  It was actually a big disappointment, I thought, but we enjoyed the company we had.

 

So, the weekend was pretty action packed.  I’m flying to Charleston on Friday for an appointment with my mom.  Fingers crossed for continued good news!