Santa’s Motorcade

Yesterday I did my first long-ish run (everything’s relative, depending on whether you’re training for a marathon or just maintaining fitness between training cycles).  I ran 5 miles pretty much pain free, and my average pace was 9:49.  Also, every mile was under 10:00.  Success!  I love it that an easy pace for me now falls under 10:00/mi naturally, whereas a year ago that would have felt fast.

Since the Annapolis Half two weeks ago, I’ve cut way back on my mileage, but that wasn’t really planned.  For a few days after the race, my left calf, the one that cramped up, felt really sore.  I also was having knee, hamstring, and hip issues on my right side, telling me two things: I have some overuse issues, and I haven’t been doing proper stretching and strength training since, oh, July.

On the Wednesday after the race, I went for a short run and felt okay but still sore in places and didn’t want to push it.  From Thursday through Saturday, I was visiting family for Thanksgiving and didn’t even bring running stuff, taking it as a good opportunity to rest and eat and drink and spend time with family.  On the Sunday after, I tried to run and it hurt too much so I just walked.  And then this past week I just got busy, and only ran one morning before work.  That NEVER happens.  I figured the extra rest was doing me good, but I started to get alarmed that the more days I didn’t work out, the easier it was to fall out of the routine.

Even yesterday, I didn’t particularly want to get out of my nice warm bed to pull on layers of running clothes and face the fact that it is now December.  But once I did, of course, I was so glad I did.  It was cold but sunny and I warmed up quick, doing a nice loop around the Mall and White House and downtown.

The highlight?  Seeing Santa’s motorcade.  No kidding.

I was paused at a crosswalk at 17th and L NW in downtown, and heard sirens.  Police on motorcycles were approaching, so I knew it was the President’s motorcade.  I stood and watched all the motorcycles fly by, then the group of black cars and SUVs that always follow.  The first was a Bentley, which was unusual, and I thought maybe a head of state is visiting.  Then an SUV, then a car with some people waving.  WTF?  The Obamas don’t wave; they are usually hidden in one of the cars and you never know which one.  These weren’t the Obamas, anyway.  Then, another SUV with the window DOWN and Santa and some other people inside waving and smiling at me.  What?  I sort of waved back, then the next SUV had the sniper sticking out the window, as usual in the motorcade.

Afterwards I was like, so was that Santa’s motorcade?  Only in DC does Santa get a motorcade.  But since the sniper was there, Obama must have been there too; there must have been some kind of event going on yesterday with two of them.  One of those weird “only in DC” moments.

I also came face-to-face with Nancy Pelosi earlier this week.  So, it’s been a good week for me and political celebrities.

Anyway.  I decided to set some goals for the rest of December to round out the year and keep me on track while I’m in between races.  My next race isn’t until the Rock N Roll DC National Half-Marathon in March, but I want to maintain/improve my fitness before I need to start training for that in January.  I’m going away for about 11 days over Christmas and I’m not planning on working out much then, so between now and Christmas I want to keep running but also work on strength and stretch exercises to improve my alignment and core strength and make me a better, stronger runner.  I am working on lots of hip/IT work by doing things like leg lifts and clamshells, plus doing ab work, planks, and hand weights to get a stronger core and stronger arms.  I really would like to make my back stronger; any ideas for back workouts I can do at home?

Here’s my plan for the next three weeks or so:

  • Run four days/week, including a long run of 6 miles, then 7 miles, then 8 miles
  • Hit 800 miles by the end of the year (I just have about 30-something miles to go so I can definitely do this)
  • Do strength work at home three days/week
  • Bike commute to work at least 2 days/ week, ideally 3 or 4 (the cold and dark make this more challenging, but I want to keep it up through the winter because I love it)

Totally do-able!

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