Training for Ten

reflection of runner in window
“You say you hate running, but you’re out there consistently, day after day.”
“Well, I’m afraid that if I stop, I’ll never do it again.”

I was excited for 2020. A new year, a new decade– I could put the 2010s behind me and start afresh. I was emboldened by my progress with the 10K and decided that this year, I would tackle 10 miles. I signed up for two race lotteries, and somehow had gotten into both of them. I started training in January and felt confident and strong.
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My First 10K

MCM 10K medal
Five years ago, I embarked on this thing called running. I’ve continued to run since. This year, I made a promise to myself to try to run a 10K, just to see if I could.

I started training in September. I’ve been running 3 miles a couple days a week all this year, so it was just a matter of slowly ramping up to 6 miles, right? It turned out that it was not as simple as I had thought it was going to be. I was not expecting to have a problem with metabolism– I lost weight in my first two weeks of training and was worried that I was losing too much too soon. It took me a few more weeks to figure out how to modify my diet so that my blood sugar wasn’t bouncing between extremes. Despite what my stomach told me, I was in no position to eat whatever I wanted– moderation and a variety of foods were the best course of action.

The physical part of running was actually the easiest part– the hardest part was the mental game. The training program I used had me alternating between walking and running to start out with, and my mind kept whining at me, “Can we walk now? huh? How about now? Why aren’t we walking?” I had to will my mind to shut up. Once I got into longer stretches of running, my mind then kept telling me to quit after 3 miles. “This is all you can do– stop,” it would say. “No,” I said to myself, “I have more to run.” “Aw, come on, you’re getting tired. Stop.” and on and on. I was getting annoyed at my mind.

Finally, the day came for the race. I picked a big one to start– the MCM 10K. I figured it would already be cool by then and that I would run in crisp fall weather. Nope– it was warm and it rained the entire race. But you know what? Working against the rain proved to help me– I was so focused on the weather that I didn’t realize how long I had run until I looked up and saw the 4-mile marker. I felt surprisingly good.

Unfortunately, I got over-confident and went a little faster than I should have in mile 5, and then hit the wall as I approached mile 6. I grit my teeth and pushed the rest of the way across the finish line. The finish was not as strong as I would have liked, but I finished. I did it!

Five years ago, if you had told me that I would be running a 10K, I would have said no way. But I proved to myself that with persistence and steady work, I can achieve whatever I set my mind to. The trick is to keep going.

Tour de DCPL X

Tour de DCPL 2019 flyer

DC Public Library’s Tour de DCPL is in its tenth year! This free, no-drop bike ride is a great way to learn about the DC Public Library system and some of the history of the District, as well as a great time to tour the city with other library-loving bicyclists (or bicycle-loving library supporters).

Highlights for me this year were the temporary location of their makerspace, the Fab Test Lab, their DC history archives, Washingtoniana, and their bike bookmobile (aka the Library Takeout, or Library on the Go-Go). And a special guest appearance by my friend, Mr. T in DC!

WABA was there this year to lend a hand with making sure the ride went smoothly. And the DC Library staff did an excellent job in managing traffic as well. It’s always a pleasure to see David, Maggie, Bobbie, Tammeric, and the other staff on these rides.

I’ve been doing this ride every year since 2014*, and I’ve now been to every branch library except for two.** I was asked what year was my favorite ride– I’m hard-pressed to think of an answer, since I’ve enjoyed them all.

The Flickr set is here.

*I’m not sure why I didn’t blog about it last year, but I did take photos.
**Georgetown and Chevy Chase– I somehow missed those on previous rides.

Bike to Work Day 2019

Bladensburg Pit Stop
I went to three pit stops this year. The first was at my local, where I saw Sam from Friday Coffee Club, my next door neighbor, a good friend of mine and riding pal from work, and finally was properly introduced to a gentleman whom I pass by every day on my commute. I love the biking community.

The other two stops were a bonus– just riding the trail and enjoying the spring morning. I’m not feeling like doing work today.

More photos on Flickr.

On Community and Loss

50 States Anacostia Pit Stop
Photo: Kevin, Mary, and Dave on the 50 States Ride, 2013.

I was getting ready to go for a run last Sunday morning. I opened up my Strava app and was ready to record when I glanced at my friends’ posts. As I scrolled down, nearly every title had something about a tribute to Dave. Uncomprehending, I didn’t know what these titles were referring to, so I went over to my Twitter feed to get an explanation. I then found out that Dave Salovesh was killed by a speeding driver the Friday before. I sat down in my room and started crying.
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