Just $30: Young Alumni Final Push

We have over $25K pledged to camperships!

To help us get over the $30K hump, I’m hoping that we can get 300 young alumni (under 30) to donate just $30! That’s only $1/race! 

If you haven’t yet made a pledge, will you consider helping us get over the final hump? 

Important Note: The credit for the donation is entirely yours! Your name gets credited in the annual report and you get the tax savings – filling out a pledge form simply ensures we can ‘register’ your pledge to camp as part of this fundraiser. 

Here are a few things that Millennials might spend $30 on that should go to helping campers attend camp instead:

– Avocado toast
– Two of anything at wholefoods
– An unnecessary Lyft (Uber) ride
– 3 extra drinks (+ tip) on a night out (or just 2 extra drinks if you’re at the Dreamaway…)
– Anything at LuluLemon (just buy the same thing somewhere else and save thousands…)

Memorial Day 10K: In Memory of My Running Fitness

I scheduled this 10K after just missing my goal of 39:59 a few weeks ago. This would be my last 10K of the campaign and my last chance to break my campaign goal of running sub-40 this year. Here’s how it went:

3 Days Before Race: I don’t feel like running a 10K. I have no confidence. I consider withdrawing completely or running a 5K instead. 

2 Days Before Race: I tell my race rabbit, Murat, how I feel. He says I should just go for it. Who cares if I miss my goal? 

1 Day Before Race: I talk to Coach Matt. He wisely instructs me to forget the time goal and set new goals for the race – more focused on race execution than objective time. 

Okay, cool. I can roll with that. 

Race Goals:
1) Run sub-40 X
2) Run a smart race based on feel and don’t quit too much ?

As Murat would later put it, the latter was a pretty amorphous goal. My professional self would say this goal was not nearly SMART enough, but it made sense to me. 

Pre-Race:
We arrive to a light drizzle and a decent running temperature in the low 60s. It’s a bit humid but heavily cloudy – the sun would not be an issue today. 

We grab bibs. Murat grabs a coffee and I grab a carb-waffle (Hi Savi!, Hi Nick!). We lace up, I rub a series of odd creams on my legs, and we head out for a nice 1.5 mile run at a brisk pace.

I follow that with some drills and a few strides, two pieces of Fruit Run Gum, a swig of Gatorade (Hey, Pepsi, want to sponsor me?) and we are ready. I felt no nerves, slight confidence, and ready to put in some work.

Side note: I was thinking about this the night before the race…I felt absolutely no pre-race nerves. This was a first. Never, in my life, had I truly felt no nerves before a race. I’m betting that it’s largely (75%) the belief that I would not hit my goal and thus I experienced a lack of pressure… but I think a positive side effect of racing so frequently is that racing has become routine. The experience of getting ready and toeing the line is just a normal part of my running during a given week. 

More interestingly… I missed the nerves. I wanted to be nervous… a little nervous. A little nerves gives you some fuel. Hopefully, for my last 5Ks, I will again experience slight, performance-enhancing nerves. That said, I fully expect to regret this wish in the future.

Race:
We get out quickly and don’t waste any time running with the pack. Murat is sitting on my shoulder and I feel pretty good. The rain has stopped. The ground is slick but aside from that the weather is near-perfect.

The course has many twists and turns, making running tangents all the more important.

I resist looking at my watch until it beeps at one mile. I expect to see 6:30.

It reads 6:19.

Okay! That felt pretty good. There are four people ahead of us beginning to glide out of reach. Nobody is too close behind.

The second mile has a few gradual hills. We are running pretty clean when my left foot begins to hurt. It was just a matter of time… I’ve gotten used to my plantar acting up at various moments. Usually, the pain throbs in and out over the course of a run, so I just hope it fades.

My general fitness is more of a problem.

We hit the second mile mark and I expect it to be fairly similar to mile one. Nope. 6:36.

Okay, still 40min pace overall, I can hold this.

The course continues to wind around bends and the wind picks up (I mostly wrote this sentence for the homonym). I tuck in behind Murat and use him to block the wind for me. I am laboring a bit more than I had hoped at this point.

My effort feels comparable to each of the first two miles, but unfortunately, the time doesn’t reflect that same output. 6:46 for mile three.

Half-way done and time to take stock: That last mile felt like a 6:30 but in reality was much slower. If it felt that hard to run a 6:46, there would be no way I could average the needed 6:20/mile pace for each of the last three. Sub-40 is out of the question.

Instead, I shift focus to running a tough race and not backing down too much. Take each mile one at a time.

I take a look behind me and see that someone is about 40m back. I add another goal to the list: Don’t get passed. Finish top six.

I also decide that it’s a good time to release Murat. With the lead pack about a minute ahead of us there might still be time for Murat to chase down the leader.

Murat initially balks at the idea… but quickly changes his mind.

“I might just float up to the next guy slowly and see where I’m at in a mile.”

And he’s gone.

Mile four is solo and doesn’t feel great, but I churn out a 6:44.

The runner behind me is about 30m back. My focus turns to ensuring he doesn’t pass me… both making sure I have enough in the tank to respond to him if he makes a move but also not letting up early and giving him confidence.

I catch the occasional glimpse of Murat ahead in the distance as the miles roll on. As I begin mile five, I see that he’s passed one of the four runners ahead of us and is making his way toward the next two. Yes!

Mile five begins to feel… interestingly okay. I make an effort to push it and not settle, really focusing on maximizing my advantages on the hills. Hills aren’t fun, but they cater to my skillset. I tell myself that I’m much more likely to do well on the hills than my competition.

My effort pays off: Mile five clocks at an improvement of 6:37. Usefully, it doesn’t feel much worse. Just as I hit the mile marker, I can see Murat way ahead. He has passed two runners and is just meters behind the leader. He is gonna get him! Damn.

I feel decent. I could hold this pace.

And I do.

Realizing that sub-40 would require a near-impossible 5:20 final mile, I concentrate on keeping pace. I am tired but I know have a kick left in the tank if I need it. I decide I’m going to hold off on it unless I need to outrace anyone.

With half a mile to go, the nearest competitor has fallen back and is now about 50m behind and is losing ground fast.

Just cruise, baby.

I keep moving hard but make no effort to shift into the next gear. My time will be less-than-ideal and my place is not in jeopardy. No reason to push it.

I coast through in 41:21 (6:39/mile pace). I’m tired but far from exhausted. In fact, I think I could have kept going at that pace for another 1-2 miles if I really pushed it.

Post Race:
My time is good for 6th place overall (197 total), 2nd in the 30-39 age group.
Meh. Okay. Whatever.

Meanwhile, Murat won! He caught the leader with about a half-mile to go and then shut it down for an easy win. Despite staying with me at a 6:35/mile pace for the first 5K, Murat averaged about 5:55/mile for the second 5K for a huge negative split to win. Nasty.

We stuck around so Murat could grab his first place awards (a series of gift certificates to restaurants that he surely will treat me to…) and then roll out.

I feel about as neutral post-race as I did pre-race. I’ll have to ruminate on this one for a bit.

Next up, a 5K in NYC on Sunday, June 10. Join me if you’re in the area. I’m going for sub-19.

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Workout Recap: Brutal Mile Cutdown

Last hard workout of the week:

2 miles easy
1 mile @ 6:45
1min rest
1 mile @ 6:30
1min rest
1 mile @ 6:15
1min rest 
1 mile @ 6:00
1 mile easy

After a long, dynamic warmup and 2 easy miles, it was go-time. I opted to change into my Brooks Asterias for the hard miles, which was a good call. 

My splits were right on through the first three miles – 6:40, 6:30, 6:14…. but finally the heat picked up and my legs gave out on the last mile: 6:25. I almost quit halfway through and was just glad to finish. 

Not exactly a confidence-builder heading into the weekend, but at least it’s finished. My feet hurt a bit, but they weren’t terrible. Ice bath. 

Easy miles this weekend.

$25K Pledged! $5K More to Go….

Exciting news! Thanks to recent pledges, we’ve crossed the $25K threshold! 

If everyone who saw this pledged JUST $1/race ($30 total), we’d reach our goal.
What is $30?

That’s…. 
– A few beers on a night out
– Two orders of avocado-toast
– One overpriced spin class
– Six overpriced “coffee” drinks (let’s be real…. milkshakes) that you don’t need

Have you pledged yet? Can you help us get to $30K?

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Fitness Testing & Speed Workout Recap

I just had my second set of follow-up testing with Steph, Todd, and Mike at the GW Weight Management & Human Performance Lab!

Last time, I was pleased to find that I lost quite a few pounds of unhelpful fat AND gained muscle.

Two steps forward, one step back.

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I still managed to lose another pound of fat, but lost some muscle as well.

This makes sense: My plantar injury has limited my running severely, which meant my caloric deficiency wasn’t where it needed to be. Sure, I was pool-jogging and biking a bit, but those activities are not weight-bearing, so you simply don’t burn as many calories.

All the more reason to get over these injuries and get my mileage back up! I just need to double down and make sure I stay focused on healthy eating. Won’t be so easy with my wedding coming up…

Good news is that I still have enough energy to churn a decent workout:

On the track in a light drizzle:
2 miles easy
7x300m in 1min (5:20/mile pace) w/200m jog between
1min full rest
1 mile in 6:05
1 mile easy

Despite a little slickness on the track, the workout went well. The 300s were mild compared to last week’s 600s, even at a slightly faster pace. I managed to jog-out each 200m without having to walk. Only required one pack of Run Gum. 

After a minute of rest (and some Gatorade), I pushed through a hard mile. The 6:05 mile felt pretty good all things considering. My legs were quite sore, but my breathing wasn’t too bad. The hard mile was supposed to be in 6:20… but I was feeling smooth. 

This was my last speed work as a bachelor! I’ll jog a slow nine miles on Friday, but otherwise, it’s a few well-deserved(?) days of low-key maintenance work until I’m back on the track next week! 

Mother’s Day 4-Miler: Worst Race Yet?

I woke up at 6am and looked outside: Downpour. For a minute, I considered skipping the race. My legs felt heavy despite hours of stretching and foam-rolling the day prior. I planned to run solo and wouldn’t let anyone down if I missed it… 

I decided to give it a shot. If anything, the rain would spoil the competition.

I should have stayed in bed. 

Race Goals
1) Run sub-25 Run a hard race X/
2) Finish top 10 X

Pre-Race
I arrived at the course and the rain stopped despite an ominous forecast!

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I grab my bib and begin to warm up. I need it. My legs ache from a week of hard training and not enough stretching. 

I jog the course for 20 minutes at about 9min/mile pace. I feel awful. I try to run a few strides. I get tired. This is going to be a long one. 

I immediately shift my race goals from running another sub-25min four-miler to just running a hard race and getting in a good workout.

I lather my legs up with arnica gel. I down a full packet of fruit Run Gum and the caffeine kick helps me wake up. Then it’s time to roll. 

Race
I start a few rows behind the start line and plan to ease my way through the pack in pursuit of a 6:30 first mile. The race starts on a downhill, but the majority of the first mile is uphill.

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I settle in and hang just behind a pack of runners that slowly begins to string out over the opening hill. I’m alone and breathing heavier than I’d like.

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First mile clicks by: 6:28. Not bad!

I settle in and execute mile two, which I know from my online elevation mapping is largely flat. My effort feels comparable to mile one, but the lack of any downhill in mile two means that my time slows to a 6:36 for the second mile.

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Not great, but mile three should be net downhill. Maybe I can pick it up a bit? I try, but my legs are heavy, stiff, and non-responsive. My stomach doesn’t feel fully settled (I tried a new pre-race meal today which I will not be replicating) and I just feel….. tired. 

Mile three felt faster… but it was only another measly 6:36. Oh well. Not even a monstrous negative split is going to get me anywhere near the 25min barrier. Last time I ran a four-miler, I anchored the race with a 5:31 mile to close. That was not in the cards today. 

I close decently given how cruddy I feel. The loop course ends with a quarter-mile downhill into a final uphill drag (back up the opening downhill to the start/finish line). I pass a runner on a downhill that I’ve been gaining on for the last two miles. Another runner is ahead and I plan to run him down on the hill, although the slippery asphalt makes sprinting a challenge.

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With about 100m to go, the runner turns around and sees me coming and picks up his pace. I manage to stay close. Just when he figures he has put me away, I launch into a true sprint and sneak by him with about 10m to go. Not that it matters for the chip time, but it was nice to beat someone at the tape. 

I finish in a dismal 26:12, good for 12th place overall out of 604 (10th among men) and 2nd in my age group. The time averages about 6:33/mile – about 19 seconds/mile slower than my four-mile race a few months ago. 

Disappointed and tired, I look forward to a day off. 

Post-Race
The race wasn’t as devastating as it might sound. Sure, I was disappointed with my relative fitness, but I knew that I would run a slow race given how tired my legs felt. I can’t remember the last time I felt this physically unprepared to race. More than anything, I was disappointed that I felt so tired heading into the race.

Hopefully, I can rest my legs a bit and gear up to break some barriers in the upcoming 10K and 5K races. 

Workout Recap: 8x600m

Headed to the track before the heat picked up on Wednesday morning for a tough track workout:

1.5 miles easy
8 x 600m @ 2:08 (5:40/mile pace) + 200m jog
1.5 miles easy

Pretty friggin’ tiring but ultimately a success. I rocked my Brooks Asterias and stashed a piece of cinnamon Run Gum nearby that I chewed on after the 3rd interval. The 200m jog quickly turned into a walk/jog hybrid but ultimately I didn’t have to slow down.

Splits: 206, 207, 207, 209, 208, 208, 208, 208. 

Money. 

More of this work is definitely needed. 

June 10th: 5K in Manhattan!

NYC friends! Join me on Roosevelt Island (you know… that little strip of land between Manhattan and Queens) on the morning of Sunday, June 10th, for the Running of the Balls. All entry proceeds for the race go to supporting research for testicular cancer. 

Amazing race name.

The 5K kicks off at 8:30am… there is a 10K  race as well at a more convenient 10:30 start time… but it may be significantly warmer by the time the 10K gun fires, and I’d much rather run 3.1 miles in cooler weather than grab a little more sleep to run 6.2 in the heat. 

Join me for either one?!

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