St. Patrick’s Day 8k

Last Sunday, I ran the 20th Annual St. Patrick’s Day 8k. This is a race set in downtown DC with great views of the capitol throughout. I ran much faster than I expected, finishing in 32:13! That’s a pace of 6:29 per mile. Here are some pictures:

Sean @ St. Patrick's Day 8k #1 Sean @ St. Patrick's Day 8k #2 Sean @ St. Patrick's Day 8k #3

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The Year in Running

I’ve been running since late July, 2007. I kind of started on a whim, but I embraced the sport almost immediately and now I’m hooked. I like it for the challenge of improving, the thrill of racing, and the great feeling of just looking at the sky or trees while cruising (slowly, at this point) along on an easy run.

What follows is a little history of my previous running experience and a summary of 2007. I wanted to write it down as something to look back at later, and to compare with future results. Feel free to ignore it.

I ran both cross country and track for two years in high school, sophomore and junior years. For both of these years, however, I was not very motivated. I liked racing a lot, but I wasn’t particularly fast and didn’t like running for the sake of running, or even really for the sake of getting faster at racing. So I took weekends off, even when I wasn’t supposed to, and I definitely didn’t train in the off-seasons.

Back then, I started because I had just moved to town and wanted to meet some people. So out I went. I had started running probably a month before practices started, but I was not in good shape. Now, I pay attention to and keep track of how fast I run and how hard it is every time I’m out, but I have no idea what my pace was like back then or how easy it was. I do know that I was always struggling to keep up or go the distance on “easy” runs with the team, and that I was improving constantly through the season. I think these two things together point to the fact that a) I had very little aerobic base and b) a good coach would have noticed this and made me run slower/more. Perhaps at that point in my life I would have just quit rather than work harder. Who knows. Anyways, here are the best times I ran in HS, at least as far as I remember.


  • 400: ~59
  • 800: 2:10
  • 1500: 4:44
  • 5k XC: ~21:00

By the end of the track season I was just running 800s and 4x400s on a second or third string team and my 800 times were getting faster quickly. I think I went from 2:24 to 2:10 in a month or two. The 2:10 and the 4:44 are reasonably respectable times, while the 21 minute 5k is not really impressive at all.

I quit after my second year because I had a pain in my knee that wouldn’t go away. That particular pain came back in the fall of 2006 when I started playing soccer and ultimate frisbee semi-regularly, but I got it figured out with the help of some physical therapists. The solution? Gain some flexibility and strength around the knee, especially in my hamstrings.

So here I am, eight (nine?) years since I ran in high school, and I’m giving it another shot. I’ve been taking it easy to start, and recently got a heart rate monitor and slowed down even more. I’m basically just running aerobically for now and gaining fitness. Seeing how my times at the 5k are already approaching how fast I was in high school, I’m excited to beat every one of my high school personal records. This “having endurance” thing is going to work wonders for my race times.

2007 PRs (full list of races)

  • 3k: 13:02 (6/20/07), 12:19 (7/18/07), 11:51 (8/15/07), 11:31 (11/21/07)
  • 5k: 22:53 (9/15/07), 21:13 (10/6/07)

2007 Notables

  • Longest run: 10.1 miles
  • Miles in a week: 30.2 miles
  • Miles in a month: 114.4 miles (December)
  • Miles in a year: 404.4 miles
  • Races in a year: 9

2008 Goals

  • Run a lot
  • Run the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler

I definitely won’t turn this into a running blog or anything. It’ll still be a very occasional, write something when I feel like it kind of thing, but running is part of my life now, and I’ll post about it every once in a while.

Happy New Year!

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Much faster!

I ran the Tidal Basin 3k again today, and I finished 43 seconds faster than last time. Talk about a big improvement. So my time this month was 12:19, according to the official results. I think I ran a 3k in high school, but I don’t remember my time, so we’re calling this a PR. Go me.

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First Race in 7 Years

I’m a little late on writing this. The race was a 3k and it was on June 18th. It’s called the Tidal Basin 3k (map), and DC Road Runners puts it on for free on the third Wednesday of every month. If you’re in the area you should come out and run with me!

The last time I ran competitively was in the Spring of 2000, so it’s pretty exciting to be getting into it again. I’m pretty slow so far, but I’m actually running regularly and stuff so I should get faster. It will get hotter and more humid over the next two months, though, so Kevin, our resident speedster / experienced runner here at the office, tells me that I shouldn’t expect to improve too much right away. I’m gonna try anyways, obviously.

The really fun thing about it is that somewhere around 35 people from the Fed go out and run this race, since it’s at lunch time and only a couple blocks from work. Some nerdy economists have devised a scoring system so that the three different groups are racing against each other, which keeps it interesting.

Right, my time. I ran 3000 meters in 13:02, which I was happy with and am excited to improve on. I’ll post again after this month’s race.

Update: results.

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DC by Race And Ethnicity

Want to see a map of DC and the surrounding area by race and ethnicity? I whipped this up a while ago with the help of my friend Chris. It’s pretty striking. We’ve got more plans (looking at income distributions, for example), but I’ve been busy, so we’ll see when I get a chance to do more. Geography + census = nifty.

People in DC MSA

The data comes from Census 2000, and we put it together using arcmap. Each dot represents 200 people of a race in a census tract. This means that if there are fewer than 200 people of that race in the tract then there will be no dot. Also, the dot is placed randomly within the area of the tract. The size of census tracts is determined by population density, though, so in DC (pretty dense) a tract is very small. It’s mostly accurate, but not perfect.

I’d like to read about geography and segregation.

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