Maintenance week – June 4 to June 10

WEEK SUMMARY

 

I am back!! Not really!! But I actually ran a little bit!!

 

I ran twice for a total of 7.27 miles.  Killed it.  Nah, but seriously, sometimes running is going to ebb and flow, and it just feels good to shake off the dust and get back out there.

 

Both runs were pretty uneventful.  One was a four mile run during a lunch break, the other was a few laps around the Capitol with Mini before heading off to Cape May, NJ later that day for a wedding.

 

TWIR

 

First off, Mini is totally a toddler now.  Whenever I look back on this blog for it’s real, unstated, hidden purpose (to catalog Mini growing up through the lens of running), Jess and I will clearly be able to say that May 29th (our anniversary) was the last day Mini felt like a baby and the first day that she felt like a toddler.  Part of it was due to the fact that she took her first steps on May 29th.  But it’s not just that, it’s that she’s already 16 months old, almost 17 months, and so when she started walking, she’s also starting to interact with us a whole lot.  The moment I truly realized she was a little girl and not a little baby was on June 2nd, when we were at Myrtle Beach with family.  There were a box of crackers, and Mini picked up the box, opened the top, reached inside, grabbed the internal tin foil bag, opened it up, and took out a cracker.  That might sound like a mundane task to describe, but it was absolutely incredible to me.  She’s growing up.  She’s learning, testing things out, communicating her likes, dislikes, playing games, playing tricks, throwing tantrums.  It’s all becoming real at an accelerated pace, and it’s so exciting.  I thought I wanted to stop time before.  Now, when she laughs and giggles with me, I really wish that I could extend those moments forever.

 

In non-Mini news, it was an eventful week in DC.  The Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup!  It is the first time in 26 years that a professional sports team in Washington DC has won a championship.  The city was absolutely amped up for it.  On the night of the decisive Game 5, I told Jess that there was just this feeling of inevitability in the air.  She got a little mad at me for thinking I was jinxing it, but it truly felt that way.  That regardless if the team won or lost that night, the entire DC region believed that it was the night that a championship was going to come home.  You could feel it in the air.  I am not a big hockey fan, and not really a huge professional sports fan either, but I do strongly believe in the power of sports to transcend life and be a metaphor for it.  The feeling of destiny and inevitability was something that I’ve never experienced before.  Which is especially meaningful, I think, because I have now experienced professional sports championships in each of the four major men’s sports and a resident of the respective metropolitan area.  Pistons 2004 NBA Championship; Steelers 2006 Super Bowl; Phillies 2008 World Series; Capitals 2018 Stanley Cup (an odd comment, as I write that out, I realize that the NBA is the only one of the four that does not have a “name” for their championship game/series).  It’s kind of cool to have that as a life story, that four of the major metro areas I’ve lived in have won a professional sports championship.

 

Game 5 was an away game, at Las Vegas, but it seems like the entire DC metro area converged outside of Capital One Arena to watch the game on the public displays outside.  Jess and I watched for a bit at Baked Joint, over pizza and dessert, which was really cool.  We went home during the second period, and the great thing was you could literally hear the tens of thousands of people cheering just blocks away with each Caps goal.  With four minutes left in the game, and Caps up 1, and with Jess and Mini fast asleep, I left our condo to head down to Chinatown to watch the celebration.  I’m glad I went down there, hearing the celebration was definitely an experience to remember.  And who knows how long we’ll be in downtown DC?  I’m glad to have experienced it.

 

Other than that, on Sunday, Jess and I went down to Cape May, NJ to attend a dear friend’s wedding.  It was a nice ceremony and Mini got to get all dressed up.

 

Pictures of all of this, below:

 

 

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It’s been a while – Maintenance weeks for the rest of May 2018

Wow.  May was a very low mileage month.  I just checked, and May 2018 had the least amount of miles since December 2016.

 

I was sick for most of the month.  It started off with a weird issue with my tongue, where I pretty much lost all taste in my mouth for a week.  Then I got hit with a big sinus cold and the persistent allergies that caused it.  After that, I lost my voice for a good two weeks, and then developed this lingering cough.  Then, I lost my voice again, and redeveloped the tongue/taste issue.  I finally went to the doctor who said I had some weird strep infection.  Jess looked it up and thinks that I had Scarlet Fever, which sounds like something from The Oregon Trail.  Regardless, I have been on a penicillin course, and that’s pretty much taken care of all of my issues.  Thank you very much Alexander Fleming!!

 

So how do I recap the running?  I’m not going to try.  Instead, I’m going to try and recall a summary of what’s happened in my life, for posterity’s sake.

 

Let’s see.  Jess and I celebrated Mother’s Day, and then her birthday, and then our anniversary.  Mini started walking!!!  She took her first steps on our anniversary, on the rooftop of our apartment as we were eating a take out sushi dinner to celebrate.  She stood up, took two steps towards a chair, and then sat down.  The next day, she took a few more steps on her own.

 

Then, on May 31st, we flew down to South Carolina to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday!  We went for five days and had a great time.  My parents loved seeing Mini in action, walking, talking, grabbing items, and all the things she would eat and explore.  She started walking even more while were there.  She really grew up in the week between May 29th and June 4th.  She doesn’t seem like a baby at all any more, for the first time she seems like a toddler.

 

There are these new tricks she plays with us.  With me, she plays this game where she takes food and pretends that she’s going to eat it but then puts it in her ear and waits for me to say something.  And then she starts laughing.  With Jess, she plays “where’s Mini” all the time.  And she’s dancing all the time to that “Radha” song we play for her.

 

I’ll come back to this post and put some pictures up. When we were in South Carolina, we went to Myrtle Beach for a couple of days, and Mini enjoyed it.  It was a very nice time that we spent with family.

 

On the running front, I’m going to get back into it now.

 

 

Maintenance week – April 16 to April 22

WEEK SUMMARY

 

I did a lot of strength training, HIIT work, and mixed in some running this week.  I ran three times, once on the treadmill at the gym, once with Mini on the National Mall, and the GW Parkway Classic Ten Miler.  The runs felt great, and it also felt like the spring weather is finally here to stay.

 

It was nice to take Mini for her first run with me in a while.  I fed her on a bench at the Reflecting Pool, which is a moment that will be etched in my memory.

 

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TWIR

 

This was my birthday week.  On Wednesday, Jess, Mini and I celebrated in a low-key manner, just like I prefer, with a cheesecake, some dinner, and a nice walk around the city.  Folks at my work also took me out to lunch, which was very nice.  Before and after those days were fairly uneventful.

 

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We had some family in town on Friday and Saturday, so we spent the day touring DC.  As we were out, I decided that in the next few years, I’m going to make it a goal not only to visit every museum in DC, but to do so often, and to try and learn as much as I can from them.  I think we do a good job of taking advantage of all the city has to offer, and I’d like to make sure that I get even more out of them when/if we decide to move.

 

On Sunday, I ran the ten miler, Jess and Mini ran the 5K, and we celebrated with a nice brunch out.

Race Report – 2018 George Washington Parkway Classic Ten Miler – 10 Miler PR!

Finish Time:  1:22:39 (PERSONAL RECORD)

Placing:  783 out of 4207

560 out of 1823 (male)

124 out of 325 (male division)

 

 

The PRs are getting crushed in 2018.  This is my fourth personal best of the year, my second one for the ten mile distance.  These runs are just feeling….good.  I feel like I’m coasting at the 8:30 paces, and feel like I’m pushing it but not too hard at the 7:45-7:50.  I’m not sure what’s causing the uptick in my run quality.  I think it’s partly due to strength training I’ve been doing over the week, and partly due to fact that I’m running less than my marathon training.

 

I really enjoy this race.  The course is fast, and beautiful, and the weather was perfect.  It’s not as crowded as the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, but it does have a decent turn out, and it’s organized very well.  The logistics are a bit tough, and that’s the only downside.  But I’m glad I did it in ’18 and I’ll plan to do it years to come when I can.

 

PRE-RACE

 

Unlike the past two races I’ve run, I actually came up with a plan for this one.  I knew that I had to because of the point to point nature of the run.  Last year, I had the idea of parking my car at the finish line and taking the closest shuttle from there.  It was a great idea in theory, which means that everyone else was thinking the same thing.  I made the shuttle, but the lines were long and I was afraid I’d miss it.  This year, I told myself that I’d plan it out a little bit better.

 

The planning was a bit more complicated because Jess ran the 5k with Mini.  Thus, I couldn’t drive to Alexandria to catch a shuttle.  And also, since the shuttles did not allow for strollers, Jess would have to park at the 5K starting line.  The tricky part is that when you finish, there are no shuttles back to either the 10 mile start or the 5K start.  So basically, that meant that we would have to figure out a way to get back to the car after the race was over.  Running with a baby made the logistics tricky.

 

As for my plan, I decided that I’d take an early shuttle at a different pick up point from last year.  So I got up at 5:30 and Ubered to the Eisenhower shuttle stop at 6:20.  As I left my apartment, the weather looked great, and I knew we were in for a good morning:

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I was in Mt. Vernon by 7, and thus had to wait about an hour for the race to start.  It wasn’t so terrible.  It would be nice to run with a friend next time, though, just to have the company.

 

I had a bit of a panic when I realized that my bib had the coloring of a 5K bib instead of a ten miler.  I was the only one there with an orange bib.  My fear was that my 10 mile time wouldn’t count, but when I worked it out in my head, I realized that as long as they had my name in the system properly for the ten miler, then it’d be alright.

 

It was fairly cold in the morning, so I grabbed a thermal sheet and basically just sat and waited for the start.

 

 

Miles 1-4

 

8:15 min/mile; 8:03; 8:11; 8:15 (GPS watch times)

 

Subconsciously, before every race, I segment the distance into manageable chunks to get through the mental aspect.  As the gun went off and I started running, my mind decided that miles 6-8 would be the toughest miles of the race.  So I was telling myself:  “just get to mile 6, then you’re going to run two hard miles, and after that, it’s just two miles to the finish.”  That breakdown seemed to work well for me, it kept me zen for the first half of the race.

 

The first mile is mostly downhill.  Looking at the stats, it’s a 90 drop for the first 0.7 miles or so.  This can be a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because of obvious reasons of running down hill, but a curse if you have not trained properly to run down hill, because it can kill your quads.  Fortunately, I’ve been doing tons of hill repeats around Capitol Hill, so that second part wasn’t a problem.  When we hit mile marker 1, I was surprised with how fast it felt.   After that point, I decided to just try and keep it at around 8 and see how it went.

 

It stays pretty flat after that downhill until you come up on mile 4.  There’s a hill, but it’s not too crazy, going up about 100 feet in 0.3 miles before leveling off.  I believe that I stopped for water at around mile 3 or so.

 

Miles 5-8

8:22; 7:48; 8:01; 8:25

 

As I mentioned before, my goal was to get to mile 6 however felt comfortable, and then to mentally push through miles 7 and 8 before coasting to the end.  This plan worked out just fine.  After the uphill to get to mile 4, mile 5 was relatively flat.  I looked at my watch when I crossed the half way point.  My previous PR at this distance was ~1:28, so I wanted to see what my time would be after five miles.  I was going much faster than my PR pace, my watch said 42 minutes, so I knew I had a chance to really crush that record.

The sixth mile has a big downhill, dropping about 100 feet in 0.3 miles or so.  So the sixth mile for me was the fastest of the race.  I coasted on mile 7, but then started to get a little tired on the eight mile.

 

Miles 9-10

8:30; 8:22

 

These miles were a little tougher than I thought they would be.  The ninth mile is a really sunny part of the run, and I think that had a lot to do with it.  I was afraid of my pace dropping below 9:00, and I also had this fear that I’d burn out and not finish, so I decided to try and just stay at 8:30 to finish, and not experiment with any crazy sprints at the end.  The last mile starts with an uphill on Union Street by Waterfront Park, but it’s looks (and feels) steeper than it really is.  The mental aspect of seeing a hill at the end of your run is deflating, but it builds your toughness when you get through it.  After that hill, it’s a flat run to the end.

 

POST-RACE

 

I met up with Jess and Mini and some friends.  Jess and Mini did the 5K, and I am very proud of both of them for coming out and getting it done!  We hung out for a bit before I picked up an Uber to get the car.  Then the three of us headed to a brunch place in Del Ray, where I had a massive order of sausage and gravy to celebrate another PR!

 

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Maintenance week – April 9 to April 15

WEEK SUMMARY

 

This was pretty much a week off from running, and a week to recover and heal from being sick a week ago.  I did run one time, a very difficult 3.3 miles on Friday when the weather jumped up to near 90 degrees.  I knew the weather was “spring like” but I actually didn’t realize how hot it had gotten.

 

TWIR

 

This was a bit of a relaxed week for us.  Our regular routine of work and life took over, but nothing too crazy or out of the ordinary.  On Friday, we had our jazz + pizza night.  On Saturday, we enjoyed the beautiful weather, first going on a picnic down to the National Mall.

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And then taking Mini to the Air and Space Museum where they had this really cool exhibit.  It was a replication of the bedroom scene from 2001:  A Space Odyssey.  I’ve always been a very big Stanley Kubrick fan, and I don’t really know why.  I have this theory about art.  It’s not a particularly novel theory, but one that resonates with me.  Art is a way to embed a meaning, message, commentary, etc. about life and our existence in ways that transcends logical, deliberate thought.  So when an artist embeds a concept into a piece of work, and when you see it, and that larger commentary is something that resonates with you, the artistic work will speak to you.  And you may not even know why, it’s something unspoken or deeper than your conscious mind that is attracted to the underlying message.  That’s how I feel about all of Kubrick’s movies.  I’m not even sure if I know the fundamental message behind each of them, but they all speak to me in a way that I can’t put my finger on.  2001:  A Space Odyssey was always like this for me, much like The ShiningFull Metal Jacket, and Dr. Strangelove.

 

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After the museum, we went to the a garden near the Hirshhorn museum, and then headed home.  Funny enough, we walked back home just as the March for Science had started.  I went to this last year, but wasn’t planning to this year, so it was kind of cool to see it happen.  Except that we were exhausted and needed to get home.  We watched for a bit and made are way through the crowds to head back.

 

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When we were walking back, Mini fell asleep.  And she’s such a city baby.  We walked through Chinatown, near the Capitol One Arena, and there was a really loud band playing with drums banging.  Mini was literally right next to the drums and the dude was wailing away on them, and she didn’t wake up at all.  It was just hilarious.

 

Sunday was a rainy day, so we stayed in for most of it.  Had some friends over, got some barbecue in the afternoon, and just chilled at home afterwards.

 

Mini is becoming more communicative these days, and it’s so incredible to watch.  It’s such a mind blowing experience to see her understand what we’re saying and to communicate back to us.  The other day, she started pointing out the “little fish” in a book that we read to her.  It was an amazing moment, and those moments just continue!

 

 

 

 

Marathon training – week 9 (of 12) – Race #5 – Stopped Training

WEEK SUMMARY

I decided to stop training for the Big Sur Marathon.  I’m not going to run this race.  For every marathon I’ve trained for, it was a bit of a struggle to get the miles in at times, but I always found a way back on the wagon.  For this training cycle, too many things were going on for me to be able to put in the necessary miles.  I’m three weeks out, and have yet to go on a run longer than 14 miles.  I know from the Baltimore Marathon that this isn’t a good idea.

 

The real last straw was this week, when I became sick from a sinus cold.  I woke up on Wednesday feeling like I got hit by a bus, and I was out of commission for the next three days.  Ordinarily, you can recover from that and continue training, but when the training was already bare bones, it was time to throw in the towel.

 

It’s ok though, I’m proud of myself for having the discipline to know when I’m not ready.  Now, I need to map out my plan for the ones I’m actually going to run this year….

 

As far as running, I went for one run:  the cherry blossom ten miler.  It was a really nice run, and I actually PRed it, so I guess all is not lost.

 

TWIR

 

This week was very busy, lot of fun though.  On Monday night, Michigan played for the Men’s Basketball National Championship.  They got thumped by Villanova, but still, the fact that they got all the way to the final game was an incredible feat to be proud of.  The game actually started off well for Michigan, they had an early lead, but then things turned against them and didn’t turn back.  It’s all good though, I’ll remember 2018 as having a very enjoyable March because of that incredible run!

 

As mentioned, on Wednesday I got sick–felt like I was hit by a bus.  It turned out to be (I think) a sinus cold, but man, I was out of it on Wednesday and for a good bit on Thursday.  On Thursday evening, I rallied, and we met up with some friends for pizza night.

 

On Friday, Jess and I started this documentary on Netflix called “Wild Wild Country”–a fascinating documentary about this religious cult from India that came to Oregon in the 1980s.  The story was told in a very gripping way.  On Saturday, we had family in town.  We spent the morning at breakfast, and then went to a STEM festival at the Convention Center.  Then, that afternoon, I went to the Kennedy Center to attend a performance of “Between the World and Me” based on the book by Ta-Nehisi Coats.  It was a very powerful performance that left me with a lot to think about.  Then, my friend hurried me to the building museum where I picked up my packet for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler.

 

Sunday was a busy and fun day.  I ran the 10 miler in the morning, walked back home, hung out and rested a bit, and then went back to the Tidal Basin with family to get some blossom pictures.  I can say with confidence:  in 2018, the Purohit family certainly enjoyed the blossoms to their fullest.

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We came back in the afternoon, got some pizza, and hung out until the evening.

 

After a long winter, spring is finally here.

 

 

Race Report – 2018 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler – 10 Miler – PR!

Finish time:  1:28:03 (PERSONAL RECORD)

Placing:  4733 out of 16666

2919 out of 6793 (male)

666* out of 1360 (male division)

*yikes for that number

 

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This race continued my streak of PRs in 2018.  So far, I’ve recorded a personal best time for the 10k, half marathon and now the ten miler.  I’m going to see if I can PR all five this year, just two more left to go!

 

I almost didn’t run this race.  I was pretty sick during the week on Wednesday and Thursday.   Kind of out of no where, a really bad sinus flu.  So I didn’t run at all during the week, and almost blew off the race.  On Saturday, I was still unsure, but the journey to pick up my packet was unnecessarily difficult (and my own fault) and I had potentially put a friend out, so I figured the least that I could do would be to run it.

 

This race was absolutely gorgeous.  Race day lined up perfectly with peak bloom for the Cherry Blossoms, which is not a guarantee every year.  It was a beautiful morning too–sunny skies, not a cloud to be found.

 

PRE-RACE

 

The shennanigans started during the middle of the week, where I was knocked out of commission by a sinus flu.  I took the day off on Wednesday and slept the whole day, and also for a good part of the day on Thursday.  I figured I’d be in no shape to run 10 miles.  By Saturday, though, I was feeling better and thought I could do it.

 

The packet pick up should have been easy for me.  It was at the Building Museum, which is literally like two blocks from where I live.  I put it off on Friday, and then I figured I’d get it on Saturday afternoon.  But I didn’t plan properly.  We had family in town, so I was spending time with them in the morning/early afternoon, and then I went to a performance at the Kennedy Center starting at 2pm.  The packet pickup was ending at 4:45, which meant that after the performance ended, I had to ask a friend to race from Foggy Bottom to the Building Museum for me to register.  I made it, but traffic was terrible and I felt bad for the undue stress.  So, I figured, if I made a friend go through all this trouble, the least I could do is run.

 

The race for Sunday was a bit chilly.  Not bad for running, but a bit tricky to plan for the before/after portions.  Jess and family were thinking of meeting me down there afterwards, so I was thinking that I’d uber down and use the bag check to change clothes, but I decided that it’d just be easier for me to come back.  So I layered up and ran the 1.1 miles to the starting line.  It was a nice way to warm up.  I snapped a few pictures and got lined up.

 

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Miles 1-4

9:17 min/mile; 9:09; 8:46; 8:58 (GPS watch times)

 

This entire race is very familiar to me.  I run it all the time, so I felt like I was running in my back yard.  The first four miles go from the Washington Monument to Georgetown and back down through West Potomac Park.  The race is incredibly crowded.  Especially in the beginning, it’s hard to get in a rhythm.  I’ve learned to just enjoy that and not get all frustrated by it.  It’s part of the experience.  The first two miles went by a blur of bobbing and weaving.  I grabbed some water at a station at mile 3.  When I looked to see I had finished miles 3 and 4 in under 9 minutes, I told myself that I’d push for a sub-9 pace for the race, and thus should push for a PR.

 

When you get to West Potomac at around mile three, you get your first good glimpse of the beautiful blossoms.

 

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Miles 5-8

8:18; 8:27; 8:21; 8:20

 

This is the portion of the race where I decided to turn it up a bit and bank time for my PR.  This portion of the run starts with a turnaround in West Potomac Park and then a trip around the Tidal Basin before heading down through East Potomac Park to Haines Point.

 

Miles five and six felt fine.  I started feeling a little sick/dehydrated/tired at around mile 6.5.  Though the temperature was in the mid 30s, the sun was pretty strong, and I was sweating a lot.  I wore a few layers too, and I was starting to heat up.  I didn’t want to stop and take off my top layer because I didn’t want to toss it and didn’t want to bother tying it around my waste and running with it.  I figured that I’d just push to the finish.  I stopped for water and Gatorade, and that was a good decision because I felt like I needed it.  I was taking cold medicine all week, which is known for dehydrating you, and then I hadn’t run in several days.  So I didn’t want to push any of my luck out there.

 

Miles 9-10

8:56; 8:32

 

Miles 9 and 10 were the home stretch.  It’s a two mile run from Haines Point to the finish line at the Washington Monument.  This was my favorite part of the run because you’re literally running underneath so many of the blossoms.  Can’t ask for a more picturesque view than this.

 

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The race ends on a bit of an uphill, but it’s not terrible.  I checked my watch at mile 9 to make sure I’d break my PR, and when I was assured of that, I just coasted to the end.

 

POST-RACE

Crossed the finish and snapped some post race pictures:

 

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The only part I didn’t like about this race was the immediate finish line was lacking a bit in variety of food/drinks.  I got a bottle of water and then some pineapple cottage cheese.  To each their own, but having cottage cheese at the end of ten miles sounds like the worst idea in the world to me.  They had other snacks, bananas and granola bars, but you had to walk a bit of distance to the bag check area to get it.

 

I was deciding what to do, and thought that it might be a good idea to take off the sweaty base layer I had underneath.  I walked over to the bag check hoping that there would be a changing tent, but there wasn’t.  So then I decided to just sit down for a bit and enjoy the view of the mall.

 

When I was done resting, I thought about calling an Uber, and it wasn’t too bad, like 7 bucks to get home.  But I unwisely thought to walk a little away from the finish line with the hopes that it would take quicker to call an uber.  Big mistake because by the time I walked a few blocks away, the uber prices had surged to 20 bucks or so.  Since I was only a mile or so away, I decided to walk home.  It wasn’t a big deal, but it definitely felt colder walking than it did running.  And I was starving.  I stopped a bakery on the way home for an egg sandwich, and that bakery took like 25 minutes to make it.  So all in all, if I would have taken that uber initially (or better yet, if I didn’t make the decision to walk to the bag check area), I would’ve been home a good hour earlier.  No biggie, just a lesson for next year.

 

Beautiful day, great race, good day for another personal record!