Monthly Archives: June 2008

Bike commuting from Rockville to Tenleytown

In light of the gas prices, my upcoming tri, and my absurdly expensive “commuter” bike, I decided that it was high time I start biking to and from work…..well, at least biking some of the days of the week!  I loaded up my bike (I really need to come up with a name for her) in my car (another thing that needs a name) on Wednesday morning.  After work, I left my car in the parking lot and took my inaugural 12 mile (planned) bike ride home.


Some highlights:

  • The Bethesda Trolley Trail (BTT) is awesome!  It was very easy to get from Rockville to Bethesda.  I thought my biggest hurdle to biking to work would be finding a safe way over the 8 lane highway of 495…note I said “thought”!
  • I got a side stitch in Bethesda when I started biking the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT).  This is the second side stitch this week while on the bike and I’m worried about what this means for my race on Sunday.  
  • I never found the turn off for Massachusetts Avenue.  So I ended up riding the CCT into Georgetown.
  • It is 14 miles from where I work to Georgetown. 
  • The side stitch never went away.  So obnoxious.  The good news is that it’s all downhill from Bethesda to Georgetown!  The bad news is that it’s uphill from Georgetown to my house!
  • I had been on my bike for two hours by the time I made it to Georgetown.  I decided that I had had enough fun for the night, so I caught a cab! Thank you DiDi for my birthday money. 
  • I’m worried that it took me two hours to go 14 miles.  The race is 16 miles.  Of course, I won’t be battling traffic lights, uncertainly of path, or strollers on the trail at the race, it’ll just be other riders, some hills, and myself!

 Things I learned: 

  • I had my heavy purse in my backpack.  There is nothing I need in my purse that can’t be carried in my backpack.  Next time I’ll leave the purse at work!
  • I need to keep an extra gu in my saddle bag for those times that I get lost.   The trip home should have been about an hour.  It was actually 2.  I had some left over carrots, but they are not as tasty as sport beans!
  • I need to make sure that I have water for the ride home.
  • When I take off the front wheel of my bike it will fit in a cab’s back seat!

 Future plans:

  • I want to find a neighborhood route from the BTT to the CCT.  While Old Georgetown has a sidewalk to ride on, I would have preferred neighborhood streets.
  • I think I know the mistake I made for missing my turn off, but I’d still like to drive the Mass. Ave route to see the turn off and to confirm that there are sidewalks.
  • I like the plan of riding my bike home one day a week. I’m not comfortable yet with the idea of riding to work.  There are lots of logistics to figure out so that I’m not a soggy sweaty mess all day at my desk!
  • I need to install the light on my bike.

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Race Reports for 2005

In early April of 2005, as I was metroing home from a night of drinking, I started contemplating the fact that I wanted a life change. I was unhappy with my health as I was overweight, and a smoker, and I didn’t exercise. As I looked up at the a sign advertising AIDS Marathon, I knew that was the exact thing I needed to do! I signed up for the program that night and was still gung ho the next morning! My first training run was April 30. It was pouring rain and I walked a grand total of 2 miles! I was off to a roaring start!

Race for the Gulf Coast
September 17, 2005
Age 26
Results: About 55 minutes

It was about a week after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. I did the race with Vanessa, Navita, Ayeshah, and Dana. These girls were training for Marine Corp, but we were in the same pace group. I had been training with them since May! We got the bright idea to run as far as we could before we started walking. We were currently doing a 1 minute of running to 2 minutes of walking pace. I think we made it about 3 minutes before we quit running. I also had not checked the race map so I did not know the course. After 2 miles, we saw the finish line and started to run it in, only to find out that we still had another mile of a out and back loop. We were pretty sad that last mile! I think we finished in like 55 minutes.

Baltimore Running Festival
13.1 miles
October 15, 2005
Place: 1862 out of 1916 finishers (54 from the end!)

Place Div/Tot: 415/426
Age: 26
Time: 3:45:29
Pace: 17:34

I did not do a race report email but here is what I remember. I spent the night at Melissa’s. I rode the Baltimore metro into town. I tried to ride the light rail to the race start, but I ended up just walking to the AIDS Marathon tent. At the tent I saw my Aunt Wilda, who was there with her grandsons. It was calming to see her that morning! I also met up with LaJuan, Charity, and Stacy. We four were going to do the race together. We had also been training together since May.

I stayed with my girls for the whole race. I believe that we quit running around mile 7 or so. We definitely did not push ourselves, focusing instead on just enjoying the experience. Turns out that Baltimore is much hillier than we were expecting! Some of my memories of this race include:

  • Running past the downtown XXX theatres
  • Charity’s boyfriend calling my cell phone every 20 to 30 minutes to check on how long it was going to take us to finish. He needed to get back to DC to make it to work on time.
  • Stacy convincing a transvestite to give her his pink feather boa at mile 10.
  • Running up one particularly grueling hill to “Eye of the Tiger” being played over a loud speaker from someone’s front yard. They were having a great party and I definitely wanted to join them!
  • Stacy giving me the feather boa at mile 11 and then I ran the rest of the race with it!
  • Crossing the finish line and seeing Melissa and Debi and my cousin Mel with her current boyfriend.
  • Taking a picture with a giant hot air pink balloon bunny.
  • The best part was the long sleeve performance race shirt in blue!
  • The 2nd best was having a beer and cigarette after the race! I was still smoking, but at this point I was smoking nicotine free cigarettes. I would quit smoking on October 28, 2005.

SOME Turkey Trot
Thanksgiving Day 2005
Age 26
Results: About 55 minutes

I did this race with Vanessa and Annabelle Blanche. The only thing I really remember about this race was the cute guy I met during packet pickup that morning. I’m not even sure if we ran any of this race. However, I do know that I got my first long sleeve cotton race shirt, so it was totally worth it!

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Tuesday before General Smallwood

I have not prepared much for this race. I’m a bit nervous about how long it’s going to take me to finish! Here is my very rough estimate of times.

  • Swim-26 minutes for 750 meters. This distance is about half a mile. At St A’s I did 1500 meters in 52 minutes. So, yeah, I’ll just divide that by two to get my estimate for this sprint.
  • Transition 1 at St. A’s: 7:04. It’ll probably be about the same here as well!
  • Bike-One hour and 20 minutes to do the 18 miles. I might average about 13 MPH. That’s what I did at St. A’s. It may be faster. I had a flat to change there. Let’s say I can do 13.5 MPH.
  • Transition 2 at St. A’s: 6:12
  • Run: 48 minutes to do the 3 miles. That’s doing 16 minute miles. At St. A’s my pace was 16:38
  • Overall time: 2 Hours and 47 minutes. Gross. I did St. A’s in 4:41. So I’ll want to do this one in at least half of that. I should aim for 2:20.

Blah. I think the people I’m training with are aiming for 2:30 for their international distance. I really will be embarrassed if my sprint time is more than their international time.

Later in the day:

I did a 800 yard (~725 meters) swim today that took right at 20 minutes. However, when I got out of the pool I was a smidge dizzy! I need to not swim that fast at the race. It will not do me any good to swim 5 minutes faster, if my transition time is increased by 5 minutes of resting!

Also, the bike is actually 16 miles, not 18. So I think the ride will actually take 1:12.

So, the new race goal:

  • Swim-23 minutes for 750 meters.
  • Transition 1: 5 minutes
  • Bike-One hour and 12 minutes to do the 16 miles.
  • Transition 2: 5 minutes
  • Run: 48 minutes to do the 3 miles.
  • Overall time: 2 Hours and 33 minutes.


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