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race report: metric marathon

My running club sponsors a Metric Marathon every fall — 26.2K (16.3 miles) through scenic rural roads. I’ve run this race four times, and I really enjoy it. Though everyone I’ve spoken to that has run it always wonders why.

It’s very small (usually around 150 people, but there was a big jump this year, nearly 240!), and very low-key. No chip timing, no T-shirts, no medals.  And because of the distance, you only get the hardcore runners. Usually, that also means fast. Most folks that usually keep me company in the middle of the pack don’t show up for this one. Last year, I feared I would be last as I surveyed the crowd at the start line. I ended up beating only 10 people.

Oh, and it’s not just long. It’s challenging. Most runners are quite familiar with the term “gentle rolling hills.” That usually means “really hilly!” Well, let’s step that up. Paraphrased from this year’s description:

The Metric Marathon is a 26K (16.3 mile) loop course on paved roads through gently rolling hills. There are significant hills at miles 12 and 14.

Now that’s just evil! (Actually, now that it’s fresh in my mind, mile 12 isn’t so bad. But 14 just keeps going. You think you’re at the top, and then you go up again.)

But I still love it!

Since it’s over 16 miles, it really spreads out and can get lonely. But even alone, it’s just such a beautiful course. We run by farms with horses and cows. We pass cornfields cut down for the season.  And for as many wide-open spaces, there are shady tree-lined streets. At one point, I noticed a small creek running along the side of the road.

We had perfect weather — cool and crisp, not a cloud in the sky. But you’ll have to use your imagination, because I didn’t bring a camera. I guess it would have slowed me down, anyway. Let’s just say I did better than I expected!

I haven’t run 16 miles since this race last year.With Goofy training, my long runs have been 10-12 miles every weekend for the last month, and I ran a half marathon Labor Day weekend. I wasn’t really worried about the mileage jump. But I’ve been run/walking most of those long runs, and was planning on running the 16 miles straight. I didn’t know what to expect. I was just hoping to beat three hours — something I hadn’t done since my first time on this course in 2005, 2:57:08.

I accidentally hit the lap button on my watch while trying to take off my jacket so my times are a little off … (I knew I’d warm up fast. It was just so chilly at the start!)

  • 10:11 (Mile 1)
  • 10:20 pace for the next .38
  • 10:06 for the next mile
  • 10:17 pace for the next .62 (manually reset to fix the auto-lap)
  • 10:09 (Mile 4)
  • 10:11 (Mile 5)
  • 10:01 (Mile 6)
  • 10:19 (Mile 7)
  • 9:53 (Mile 8) 
  • 10:19 (Mile 9)
  • 9:59 (Mile 10)
  • 10:08 (Mile 11)
  • 10:11 (Mile 12)
  • 11:18 (Mile 13 – walked through the water stop!)
  • 10:39 (Mile 14)
  • 11:25 (Mile 15 — had to loosen my shoelace; my foot was getting numb!)
  • 10:15 (Mile 16 — much better)
  • 8:52 pace for the last .21

Finish time: 2:47:15. That’s nearly a 10-minute PR!
(And actually, 16 minutes better than I did last year. Woo-hoo!)

I felt great the whole time, and was only a little sore after the race. It was mostly in my calves/ankles, probably because of the hills and the slope of the road. (We had to run in the shoulder; the roads weren’t closed). 

But I wasn’t sore at all yesterday. I recently bought some OxySox and wore them all day after the race. I’m sold!

weekly winners: go navy!

September 27-October 3, 2009

I’ve lived in Annapolis for over eight years now. But I only just attended my first Navy game yesterday. Some friends have season tickets, and we decided to join them for the game and pregame tailgate. It wasn’t the most exciting game … but I had fun, and Navy won in overtime. Yay!

Before the game, it was pretty cool watching the midshipmen march onto the field.

Navy vs Air Force

And then they filled the stands …

Navy vs Air Force

I knew the jets were coming, but they were fast! I’ll have to try to get a better shot next time!

Navy vs Air Force

Navy vs Air Force

Navy vs Air Force

I’m assuming these guys were there because Navy’s opponents were the Air Force Falcons.

Navy vs Air Force

And finally, I’ll leave you with a shot of Jeter. It’s been a while since I’ve had a kitty photo shoot!


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weekly winners and running update

September 20-26, 2009

I didn’t take too many photos this week. Last Sunday I was doing some yard work and tried to snap a shot of this cardinal that was chirping overhead. The sunlight through the trees wasn’t working with me, though!



I initially had grabbed my camera because of this squirrel that kept freaking out.

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Or keep reading if you’re interested in finding out where my legs have taken me lately …

While I run regularly year-round, I’ve recently kicked it up a notch. I’m now officially in training for the Goofy Challenge.

My training partner and I based our plan off of Hal Higdon’s Intermediate II marathon training schedule. The high-distance Saturday/Sunday runs are perfect for what we’re going to do in January — with a half marathon on Saturday and a full on Sunday.

We’ll always skip the Wednesday workout because we also sing together and have rehearsals that night, and there are some weekends where we may not get both days in. But we’ll fit in as many as we can!

We just completed our third week … not completely to plan, but still doing well. I’m keeping a close eye on my weekly mileage to make sure I don’t increase by more than 10% each week.

Here’s how it’s worked out so far.

Week 1
The first week started just after my half marathon (race report still pending), so I took Tuesday off.
Thursday: 4.39
Saturday: 5
Sunday: 10
Total: 19.39

Week 2
I had a meeting on Thursday and couldn’t run. Though about making it up on the treadmill but then decided I didn’t really need the mileage for the week.
Tuesday: 4.58
Saturday: 5
Sunday: 12
Total: 21.58

Week 3
I was thinking about doing a short run on Saturday, but it was a really busy day, and my legs felt heavy and sore on Thursday. I’m guessing the 12-miler on Sunday followed by a kind of fast five-miler on Tuesday tired me out!
Tuesday: 5
Thursday: 4
Sunday: 10.6
Total: 19.6

And actually for Week 3, the mileage was supposed to be lower, with a six-mile run on Saturday and an eight-mile run on Sunday. We just swapped out the Saturday run with a slightly longer Sunday run.

So far I’m feeling pretty good! We’re taking it slow on the long runs, opting to use the Galloway run/walk method. It’s all about covering the distance for this challenge!

virtual race report: fall five miler

It’s time for another virtual race hosted by RunningLaur, the Fall Five Miler!

I didn’t “pre-register” since I wasn’t sure where today’s run would take me. I’m a mentor in a 10K class that meets on Tuesdays. I usually run with the class, but sometimes I end up helping along the course. But it all worked out!

The class ran almost three miles today. I found a couple ladies doing a good pace and ran with them most of the way. I turned back a little bit to make my Garmin hit 3.1 miles — I wanted to at least finish 5K!

After a quick Gatorade break, I joined a fellow mentor to get at least another mile. We didn’t have much time because it was getting dark (no lights on the trail!), but by the time we started about turning back, we were almost at a mile. We pushed it until my Garmin beeped, and turned back to finish my five miles.

The first three were with the class, so I wasn’t really racing. After all, I was trying to stick with our class members!

  1. 9:22
  2. 9:52
  3. 9:46

The last two miles are a different story. My friend is quite a bit faster than me. For the first mile, I think she was taking it easy. But we ran into another (fast) friend on the way back who joined us the last half mile. They pulled away; at one point my Garmin said the pace was 7:45. I can’t do that! I tried, but couldn’t keep up. Still, that last mile is faster than my 5K race pace!

  1. 8:51
  2. 8:26 

Total time: 46:17, average 9:16/mile.

Hooray for fall!

weekly winners: who wants to give me $3 million?

September 13-19, 2009

I went running through my favorite neighborhood again yesterday with my camera. It was a gorgeous afternoon. The cool temperatures and low humidity made for a great run. And I was more envious than ever of the people living in those waterfront homes!

Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge

On the way back to the cars, I saw this guy having dinner. Actually there were two babies, but the other was camera shy!


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