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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A Sunday

I had a great day today! I didn’t end up going to Philly last night (we decided such a short trip might not be worth it) but as a result of my early-turn-in got up early this morning and went on a hike with Jenny. It was pretty neat: the Billy Goat Trail branches off of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath on the Maryland side of the Potomac river, just upriver from DC and downriver from Great Falls Park. Whew, that was a mouthful. It was fun. As you can see on the map, we wandered around a little bit.

After I got home I grabbed my bike which had flat tires and walked it down to Cleveland Park, where the gas station has an air compressor. After filling the tires I locked my bike up and got a slice of pizza from Vace. I ate my delicious piece of pepperoni then went for a four mile run through the zoo and up Rock Creek to Tilden Hill. I like this route, but that hill at the end always kills me. Ack. Finished by riding my bike back up to my place.

Finally, Stuart called me and then he came over and we got dinner at Nanny O’Brien’s in CP. We walked back to my place and rented Rocky Balboa from the Red Box. Fun stuff!

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Today marks 150 miles run since I re-started

150 Miles in 4 months


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Life goes on

Hello World! I had a great weekend.

On Saturday I ran in the New Orleans Rebirth 5k, my first 5k since high school. I finished in 22:53, not as fast as I wanted to, but still not a bad time. A bunch of friends ran with me which made it great fun. We fielded a team, and Amy joined at the last minute but apparently it didn’t get recorded correctly — if it had we would have won all the team categories pretty handily. Yay us.

On Sunday, I went sailing on the Chesapeake with a couple of friends. Two of us (not me) had sailed a reasonable amount in the last few years, one of whom sailed a bunch this summer. I had sailed a little bit when I was a kid. Our fourth had never really sailed much. We were not what one would call “experienced.” Despite that, or perhaps because of it, we had a good time and managed to get around fine without using the motor. Trial and error! I hope to get some more sailing in this year and to keep it up next year. It’s a really nice way to spend time on the water.

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Another Wednesday, Another Race

And another PR. Go me! My friend Andy wasn’t at work yesterday so I ended up starting out with some people who were running faster than I planned to. End result: a 19th place finish and time of 11:51. Oh and that person I beat by 2 seconds, Lamont Black, is an economist who I work with. He’s pretty mad that I beat him.

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MIA again

So I’ve gone MIA again. Apparently, I’m not very good at keeping up with this blogging thing. I’ll try harder. Maybe.

Anyways, here’s an update:

  • I’m going home to Oregon for two weeks tomorrow. Lots of old friends and family. It’ll be fun! I’m hoping to go camping at Crater Lake. I might even remember to take (and use) my camera this trip, something I rarely do.
  • I’ve actually continued to run regularly! I’m surprising myself here: almost 50 miles in July.
  • Last night was our last ultimate game of the season. Unfortunately a tough loss which knocked us out of the playoffs, but we’ll be back strong for Fall season. I do love the frisbee, but it’ll be nice to have a couple more free evenings a week for a while.
  • Both of my roommates are moving out (one last week, one next week) and are being replaced. I’ve met one of the replacements already and she seems cool. I’m excited about the new people, but I’ll miss the old ones.

I guess that’s it for now.

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Ottawa: My Full Saturday and Less Full Other Days

I went to Ottawa for this weekend plus Monday. Why? Because I’m a Canadian who is out of touch with his country and it seemed like a good place to get acquainted with. I did end up learning a lot about the city and country while I was there. I have some pictures that Ryan gave me, too, but I’ll post them later.

Saturday was a very busy and decadent day. Let me tell you about it.

It started out around 8:30 in the morning when Jazz, Ryan, and I went for a short run around their neighborhood. I have been starting to get into better shape recently, and this one felt pretty good. I’ve included the route here and you can zoom out to see where they actually live.

Before I get into what happened next, let me deal with an example of strange differences in the way Americans and Canadians talk. Americans take showers, where Canadians have them. I don’t know why this is different, but it is. So we all had showers, and then we headed for the bus station to go downtown. Turns out Ottawa has a great bus system, and I made full use of it all weekend.

Our first stop was the Canadian National Gallery, which besides looking cool has a neat exhibit of Renoir landscapes going on right now. I didn’t even look at the permanent collection, something I regret, but I guess it just means I’ll have to come back sometime.

After the museum we walked a couple blocks to a restaurant that we had a coupon for, and I bought lunch for all of us. Jazz and I had New Orleans-style pasta, which was good, and Ryan had a wrap, which was not so good. Meh, I liked mine. Jazz had a craving for dessert, and I wanted coffee, but the restaurant’s dessert menu didn’t quite cut it, so we took off. Fortunately, we were in the middle of the Byward Market, a busy market district right near Jazz’s work, so she quickly led us to a cheese shop that happened to have imported chocolate. As she was buying a fancy chocolate bar I noticed a stack of little bars next to the register with a sign saying “Lebanese Baklava.” I always like trying new things, so I asked “what’s the green stuff?” because the bars had green stuff all over them. The answer, “crushed pistachios,” sounded good, so I got one and it was delicious. Then, as if we needed more, we stopped at a busy outdoor cafe to get coffee and while we were waiting some crazy triple chocolate dessert bar caught Ryan’s eye so we ended up with coffees and our (my) third dessert of fifteen minutes. I only had one bite of the bar and it was very rich. I couldn’t believe that they ate the whole rest of it between them.

After lunch, we decided to walk down to the Ottawa Bluesfest, which we had purchased tickets for earlier. We could have stayed on the Ontario side of the river, but the walk is quite nice on the Quebec side and I wanted to at least walk in the province so I could say I’d been there. So off we went, across a couple bridges and along the Ottawa River for a nice walk. Lots of bugs, though. I remember hearing stories and jokes about Ontario Mosquitoes when I was a kid, and they were definitely based in reality. Lots of bugs.

I had noticed on Friday that Manu Chao was Saturday’s headliner at the Bluesfest, so I suggested that we go to that. Turns out it was a big festival and there was nonstop music at 4 stages all day Saturday. It was a very cool scene. Here are a few of the highlights:

We stopped at the Black Sheep stage to see a band whose blurb in the brochure made them sound cool, Jetplanes of Abraham. They’re a six-member Ottawa band made up of musicians from several other local bands. A neat sound, for sure. I like Canadian indie bands.

After that we wandered over to another stage and saw a band I’d heard of before, Mute Math. They were very crazy, lots of percussion, and really fun to watch. Highly recommended if they come through your area.

For dinner I ate a Jamaican patty, which I’d never heard of before, and a samosa, making it almost the cheapest meal of the weekend, and a good one at that. They had a bunch of local restaurants running food booths and the prices were actually pretty reasonable.

Finally, Manu Chao played. The place had really filled up by 9:00 and we pretty much resigned ourselves to seeing it from far away. Ryan and I attempted to get closer, however, and managed to get within 200 feet of the stage for a little while. I’ve never been to such a big show before, and the amount of energy in the show was quite amazing. Everybody within a couple hundred feet of the stage was dancing. Not that many Canadians understand Spanish, either — the energy was coming from the music and the crowd itself, not necessarily from the lyrics and showmanship. I really liked being part of the show. Also, the amount of weed smoked all over the crowd at the beginning of the set was impressive.

Like I said, I’ll post pictures soon, and maybe write something about some more general impressions I got from the trip. It had been a while since I’d been to Canada and I’d forgotten some things about it.

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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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Science And Cartoons

Cartoon of National Wildlife Preserves

A while ago my friend Elizabeth sent a facebook group invite around about some group for independent science. I joined after letting the invite languish for a week or so. It turns out I made the right choice. The Union of Concerned Scienctists is running a contest:

This spring, creative minds throughout America took the opportunity to show off their artistic and comedic talents in support of independent science by entering the 2nd annual Science Idol: the Scientific Integrity Editorial Cartoon Contest. We received hundreds of compelling cartoons and our panel of celebrity judges helped narrow those entries to 12 great finalists.

Check out the finalists for yourself, but this one is my favorite.

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LAPD vs. The People

Ben points out a couple of videos posted on LAist that are definitely worth watching. Crazy, crazy stuff going on on May Day.


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