Running With Pepper

Potomac River Run

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Falls Church,VA,USA

Member Since:

Mar 02, 2008



Goal Type:


Running Accomplishments:

2010 Ocean City Half Marathon: 1:41:49

2008 Marine Corps Marathon - 3:40:59

2009 Clarksburg 5k - 20:05

2008 Jingle all the way 10k - 42:36

2009 Cherry Blossoms 10 Miler - 1:14:43


Short-Term Running Goals:

Run a sub 3:20 Marathon

Run a 1:30 half marathon

Ensure my heart doesn't explode while running, biking, hiking, and exercising. Live long and prosper.

Long-Term Running Goals:

Keep on running and not become a lard-a$$.


Pepper is my dog, thus my namesake. Used to run quite fast in the USMC (15:30 3 miles was my best) but stopped running when I got out. Now, it's much tougher and I generally cycle more than I run. However, I still compete in races because it's run and I can be a wee bit competitive.

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Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 0.00 Year: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Race: Potomac River Run (13.1 Miles) 01:48:30
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ok, so here is all how it worked out. I got up quite early (4:45 am) so I could make sure I had enough time to have a cup of coffee, eat, and relax before heading out the door at 6:am. Of course, Pepper was not too happy that I left without taking him out, but oh well....he has apparently gotten over it. Now, onto the race...

The Potomac River run is a relatively small race (less than 1000 people) that starts in Belle Haven Park just south of Alexandria, Virginia and it follows the Mount Vernon trail heading out to George Washington's home....I assume that anyone can guess what it's called. Although I didn't do any prior visual recon on the course, I did do some reading up on it and it's involves some rolling hills, plus a few larger ones. Here is the link in case anyone is interested. Anyway, because I didn't sleep well last night, I was already at a disadvantage heading into this thing. Also, I haven't run as much as I should have lately (right shin splint) and felt that I may have been a tad-bit unprepared for this one. Either way, I did learn a few things along the way.

1. They really needed more port-oh-johns there as they only had 2 for all those people!

2. The schwag wasn't good at a shirt, but that's about it. For 80 bucks, I kind of expected more.

Anway, here we go.

The temp was about 62 degrees at game time, but the real killer was the humidity. It was about 75% humidity for the race, which didn't help the fun. Started off the race right at 7pm and tried to let the main pack get going before me. That was my first mistake because of the narrowness of the trail overall and the fact that on large portions of the trail, it's bordered by river-created swamp land. I hadn't had much of a chance to warm up prior to the race, so the beginning was my warm up. Because of the crowds, I finished the first mile in 9:15...not exactly what I wanted, but due to crowds, not all that bad.

Heading into mile 2, I continued to build the momentum and move through the crowds and eventually passed the marker at about 18:00...improving, but not there yet. I felt good as I continued to run and got into a really good rythm as syncronized my breathing with the Marine Corps Cadence that I was singing in my head.

As I continued to head out to the turnaround point, my pace continued to let me gain ground on the time I lost while in the main pack, and that's also when it started to thin out. While this happened, I also lost track of my times as I was keeping them on my watch, so all I can give is my half-way split later on.

Right around 3, the course started into the rolling hills I mentioned before. The consisted of gentle ups and downs, with a few steeper ones thrown in for good measure. At one point, because of construction on the path, the course veered onto some woodchips, which were not conducive to running on at all. After the chips, we headed directly up a steeper hill and then moved down into steeper hill, then back up another steeper one. Eventually after getting through the smaller hills, it flattened out, then descended back along the river banks. That lasted for what I estimate to be about 1 mile, then we moved back up a long gentle grade that lasted until the turnaround point. I hit the turnaround at about 51:15...give or take a little bit, and headed back the other way.

As I continued and headed past mile 7, I started to feel the fact that I didn't train all that hard for this race. My legs started to burn a little, and I started to lose energy, especially when I hit the hills again. Also, this is when I started to feel the temp go up, as well as the nasty DC humidity kick in. At the aid stations, about ever 1-1.5 miles, I consistently got gatorade and water. The hills weren't all that bad, but when I hit the woodchips, I had to walk for about 30 seconds while we ascended the hill they were on. I figured that it was only 30 seconds, and running on them would probably done more harm than good.

Coming out of the hills, I felt good as the electrolytes in gatorade began to kick in. Heading into about 4 miles left, I continued to stay in a nice rhythm and found some other runners I used as pace setters. This unfortunately, is where the stomach/intestinal issues came into play. As I continued the run, I repeatedly began to feel a sharp pain in my left side, right where my intestines are. I would relieve that pain, as most of it was gas, but it would continually persist until the end of the run. At the time, I didn't know what the culprit was, but now, I do. It was unfortunately the italian dinner I had at a new restaurant last night (not going there again). Now, I can typically take plenty of pain, but this really threw me through a loop as I was running. I just feel bad for the unfortunates behind me. I continued to run, and crossed the finish line in 1:48:30 (unofficial time). I'll update this entry when I actually receive the official time.

Overall, I didn't feel as bad as I predicted I would after the run. The real killer was the humidity, as well as the intestinal issues I had towards the end of the run. I feel like I did a pretty good job, considering the circumstances, and have identified some good and bad things to take away from this. First, more sleep is needed on the night before the run, although I was primarily not because I wasn't trying to sleep. I just couldn't sleep when I tried to. Second, no more eating at Anthony's! Even with the limited training I did for this race, I still feel like I ran pretty well overall. That's a good sign as I'm going to get into training for a fall marathon quite soon. It looks like my sub-4 hour marathon is well within reach, and loftier goals may be in order. Now, if I can just get this intestinal thing work out, I may actually have a good rest of the day.

(Brooks Infinitis 107.7 miles)

Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Got up early due to the time change and decided to run around the neighborhood. Out in Riverside, CA, I'm not all that familiar with the area, but am all too well familiar with the terrain/climate. Missed it in fact...quite a bit.  Ran about 4 miles for 30:28 including a reall big/long hill. The hill may move it to 3.5, but good nonetheless. Man I miss the west coast!

(Brooks Infinitis 112.7 miles) 

Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Just starting back up in my training for the Fall Marathon. Ran an easy 2.5 miles on the track in 18:09. Felt pretty good, but I'm not used to the humidity like I was last year. I should be good in about a week.

(Brooks Infinitis 115.2 miles)

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Still ramping up to up to 25+ miles a week. Felt really good tonight and decided to give it a go for 4 miles. Nice easy run in the neighborhood across the street. Finished the run in 30:18. Let's hope I feel as good as I do today in the future runs.

(Brooks Infinitis 119.2 miles)

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