Thursday, March 31, 2011

Race advice from guest reporter, Wiley Dunlap, WRWR TV

(before reading below, imagine my voice getting louder and more intense as it progresses)'s all about the"W".. and it's all about you...there's no feat you can't accomplish....remember.. this is a RACE!.. the most pure of all competition... when you look to your left..and then look to your right.. there is just one thing to do..WIN.. they are people like you..all with different stories of how they got to this point..and none of that matters..cuz when the finish line approaches, you're the one who wants it're the one who has put in the hours of training.. and you're the one who will NOT fail.. it's very simple..JUST WIN!

(this may or may not have been the same speech given to a group of 8-12 year old boys and girls before a relay race)

side note to those who can fund him: this is part of my "Just Win" ad campaign that i'm working on for gatorade or nike..whoever pays more

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dear Reader, let us travel back in time... back before nine miles... before eight... even before seven. Let us return to the week before our seven mile run to something that seemed even more daunting to me at the time: a five mile run on a school night. A Wednesday, in fact.

Photo credit: Scott Ableman
Pretty, no?

This was the turnaround point of our five-miler. We were to run from the Connecticut Ave entrance to Rock Creek Park to halfway down the promenade surrounding the Kennedy Center, then turn back. Simple.

Except: Daylight Savings Time was not yet upon us, and by the time we had all gathered that evening, twilight was already falling on Woodley Park. And everything was seeming... much more forbidding than usual.

But! We would forbear. For we were four-strong, and the path well-traveled, and, well, we had five miles to do. I figured that as long as we stayed together we were unlikely to be stabbed (much more likely cause of fatality as it turned out: merciless, zooming bikers! or, fright caused by other runners who for some reason like to dress all in black and then charge at you out of the darkness)

And lo, the ground, it was rough, and the wind, it was windy, and darkness covered the land. We ran under the many echoing bridges and across the many winding streets that feed into the park. Eventually we emerged to run along the banks of the Potomac towards the beacon of the Kennedy Center through the kind of wind that roars in your ears.

And we got there, turned around, ran back, and arrived at the top of a hideously long and steep hill victorious over our five miles! And then we saw the vice president's motorcade, because that's DC, friends-and-neighbors.

The end.

However, I have one smaller, more personal association with that night. And well, it is Spandex.

Before this year I had stubbornly stuck to treadmills, the thought of running outside just too embarrassing to consider. Even after we started running outside, on my part it was with great self-consciousness and a strong dependence on running as part of our group rather than by myself.

As I was getting ready to run that evening, I realized that almost all of that self-consciousness was gone. That I felt like I should wear whatever would optimize the running, regardless of how stupid it looked. Hence, Spandex.

Yesterday after our 3-mile taper run we went to Dick's Sporting Goods to pick up our matching shirts for the race (all running teams shall have matching shirts! thus spake the law of running teams!), and I am thrilled to be the owner of a new look-at-me-isn't-this-the-orangest-thing-you-have-ever-seen!, drifit t-shirt (after all, the Foundation's color is orange). I've started to run without my posse in the surprisingly lovely parks of Wheaton, and feel comfortable even in our awkwardly-tiny gym at work.

And yes, on Race Day there will be Spandex.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hain's Point II: Revenge of the Penninsula

My friends, you remember our first tale of Hain's Point back in February. Good times, a nice day, a reasonable 3-mile distance to cover, good cheer...

March 13th was... different.

1) No Coach. Elizabeth was off chasing leprechauns at the Four Courts Four Miler (and yes, she did beat the leprechaun, because she is that awesome). This was our first long run without her, which was actually kind of a big deal. I think we had all gotten used to her support - her expertise on area running trails, her complete faith that we could finish all of our runs and finish well, her good cheer in the face of our most grumpy, don't-wanna-run mornings.

Nope. Our band of three was on our own.

2) Weather? Not so nice. Hain's Point has a reputation for being ridiculously windy, and now, we experienced it. Hand-numbingly, nose-runningly cold wind, with an overcast sky following a week of rainy days (more on the rain later...)

3) 3 miles? Nope. Double it. Then add two more. I know I'm being dramatic, but for serious, y'all. Eight miles is far. And yes, Chelsea did bring a playlist of Eminem for the occasion, and I wore my best hoodie, but spirits were pretty daunted. And due to certain logistical challenges we were having a hard time working eight miles into a workable route that would both begin and end at Chelsea's car.

So, geniuses that we are we just decided to run all the way around Hain's Point, back to the Jefferson Memorial, and then run all the way around it again.

Geniuses. I'm telling you.

Our first time around went pretty well. I do like me some Jefferson Memorial, and, as I said in my first Hain's Point post, at least the thing is flat. Due to all the rain, the Potomac was lapping right up around the edges of the narrow peninsular park, but otherwise things were going pretty well.

Then we came around the second time. We were right at the tip of the peninsula, and had just turned around to return to find that as we ran the water had continued to rise behind us. Significantly. The swollen river now covered the running path and road, by several inches in some places. And here we were: 1) Needing to get back to Chelsea's car and 2) Needing to run another two damn miles.

So, what to do? I'm sure that there was a smarter option that none of us happened upon, but at this point we were all pretty tired and tunnel-visioned, so we just... kept going. Trying to avoid the floodwater as best we could by running through the marshy grass at the center of the peninsula for about a mile before making it out of the worst of the high water.

It was ridiculous, challenging, and surreal. And our feet got really, really wet.

But. But! 8 miles, you guys. Success! Also? Geese.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

8-Pick A Mate

So the whole "ten mile run" is becoming less of a "goal" and more of a reality. Kate, Kristen and I are off to attempt 8 miles around the national mall...yikes-wish us luck!!

Our coaches, Beth and Steve are running in the 4 courts 4 miler this you guys beat the lephrechan?!?!?!