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It’s all downhill from here

March 1, 2010

It’s all downhill from here, in a GOOD way!  I finished my monster 20 mile run yesterday, so now begins the taper period.  I felt great most of the run and my pace surpassed my expectations.

The temperature was in the low forties and it was sunny, so that made the run much more pleasurable.  I woke up around 8/8:30, ate two pieces of toast with almond butter and drank a cup of coffee.  Then I put on my clothes and set up my iPod and Garmin.

My Garmin always takes some time to load up, so I leave it out on my mailbox to search for the satellite while I get ready.  I hit the road, listening to a podcast from “This American Life.” I usually listen to music exclusively, but my running mix is getting a little stale and I figured it would be a good way to distract me for part of the run.

One of the great things about living and running in a city is the plethora of Starbucks.  I decided not to bring any water with me and stop every 4 miles or so.  The first 6-7 miles of the course took me from my house in Columbia Heights, DC to Bethesda, MD and is primarily uphill.  I stopped at 3.5 miles and then at 8.5 miles.  At the second stop I went to the bathroom and ate some Jelly Beans.

Then I headed down through Bethesda, Tenleytown and Georgetown.  I had a beautiful view of the National Cathedral, with ominous clouds in the background.  I really wish I had brought my camera.  After Georgetown I headed toward the Waterfront and ran along the Potomac River toward the monuments.  The crazy thing about this section of the run was that there were a few trees blocking the path.  I can’t believe the effects of the blizzard are still here!

The run by the water was beautiful.  By now, I was at about 15 miles and feeling great.  I’m sure this is partially because from Bethesda to Georgetown is mostly downhill.  I made my way past the Lincoln Memorial, around the Washington Monument and then turned north for my last leg of the run through Chinatown.

At mile 17.5-ish I stopped at my last Starbucks to finish up a granola bar and get more water.  I was still feeling great, but almost as soon as I hit the road again my heart started beating extremely fast so I slowed down.  Also, the last 2 miles were uphill and directly into the wind!  As you can imagine, I struggled with those last few miles, but kept thinking “Only 1.X miles can run that in your sleep!”  When my Garmin beeped that 20 miles were finished, I threw my hands in the air like I had finished the marathon.  Amazingly, my pace averaged 9:00 min/mile!

It really does feel like the hardest part is over and that the race will be the reward for all my hard work the last few months.  I’m not saying the race will be easy, but running with thousands of other runners, having my family cheer me on and the excitement of race day will surely help carry me across the finish line.

The other highlight of the weekend was a Wizards game, which they lost but was an extremely close and exciting game.  My friend got us great seats through a family friend.

Today my legs are feeling a bit achey, but no injury to speak of!  I really feel like I made it!

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