Marathon training – week 1 (of 12) – Race #5

Last year I signed up for the Big Sur Marathon lottery, and I got in.  So even though I have already run California, I decided that I’m going to train for this race.  From all accounts, it’s a bucket list run, and I’m on this new(ish) kick to do those things as much as I can, because nothing in life is guaranteed.


So I’m going to enjoy the hell out of training and running.  Number 5 on the way!



I ran three times this week, for a total of 22.12 miles.  I did go on my longest run of 2018 to date–a 11 mile run on Sunday.  I was feeling a bit sick this week.  Mini has been sick, and we’re in this perpetual cycle of sick, recovery, repeat.  Jess encouraged me to do the 11 miler, which was intended to be 13, and I’m glad I did.  I feel like if I didn’t, I would have decided not to train for the race.


I’m trying to incorporate more hill workouts into my running, because Big Sur is a freaking beast.  I think the total elevation gain is 2182 feet, including a brutal 600 foot climb from miles 10-12.  So I need to train hills like crazy.  Unfortunately, DC isn’t terribly hilly, but there are some opportunities to get some hill work, especially down Mass Ave towards the Embassies.  That’s where I did my 11 mile run.  Looking at the chart, it looks like there’s a 300 foot elevation climb for about one mile.  Which doesn’t compare to the monster climb, but it’s a start.  Maybe I’ll try repeats on that?




So yes, 22.12 miles this week.




Most of our week was spent taking care of Mini since she had a minor cold.   She’s better now, though, and we’re glad for that.  Neither Jess nor I have been sleeping much, but that’s ok, we’re in the weeds of it right now.  Mini sure is on the move though.  She started crawling just a few weeks ago, and now she’s cruising all over the place, standing up, falling down, rolling over, laughing the whole time.  In one of the most heartwarming moments of my life, on Saturday, Jess came home from the gym and Mini pushed her toys out of the way to crawl over to her as fast as she could.


Saturday was a good day.  It was cloudy and rainy, and so we spent the day inside watching TV, playing with Mini, and relaxing as a family.  We got some amazing BBQ food.  Pretty much a perfect day.  Sunday was great too, saw some friends, and then I went on my long run.




Maintenance week – Jan 8 to Jan. 14 & Jan. 15 to Jan. 21


There has been a lot going on these last two weeks, so I haven’t been able to summarize.  I’ve been sick over this past week and so has Jess and Mini, so I haven’t been able to run or exercise.  I may be coming down with the flu, but hope not.  Let’s see.  Two weeks ago, I did run three times for a total of 18.06 miles.


I’m hoping to get back in it by the end of this week, but we’ll see how this goes.



Lot of great stuff happening with Mini even though she’s sick.  She started to crawl for the first time, which is a moment I will always remember.  And about a day or two after that, she’s started to stand up.  So she’s accelerating at such a fast past.  Otherwise, the weeks have been a bit of a blur of work. family time, sleep, and sickness.  And it’s been cold as hell, but looks like it’s thawing out.



Maintenance week – December 25 to December 31



This was the last running week of the year.  It’s always tough to come off the Christmas break (and associated downtime + goodies) and get back into the swing of things.  But I had a mind to top 700 miles this year, so I pushed a bit this week.  I ran three times, the first one being a painful 2.5 miler, and the second being the coldest run of the year for me.  In the end, I got to 700, and I’m excited to go into the new year with a new goal in mind.


So, three runs, 16.56 miles.



This week was perfect for family time with Jess, Mini and myself.  We wrapped up our relaxing Christmas break in Rochester and headed back to DC on the 26th.  I worked from home most days, and was able to spend a lot of quality time together.  The new year always starts with a fresh energy, so it was good to wind down the year together.


On Friday, Jess and I went out for one of the few times since Mini was born, and we made the most of it for sure.  We also met up with some college friends during the day on New Year’s Eve.  In between, we carved out time to ourselves.  Mini is starting to scoot around a lot, and she even looks like she’s about to start standing up soon.


I’m looking forward to 2018.



Maintenance week – December 18 to December 24

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.




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:



Maintenance week – December 11 to December 17



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:




So, 13.36 miles over three runs.




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.




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


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.




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:




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.



Maintenance week – November 27 to December 3


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




So, one run this week, 6.36 miles.


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




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!