13.1 + 200 porta potties

After a miserable and soggy week, the skies burst with blue today. So beautiful.


See that little man on the left? So fast I’m surprised I got a shot of him. DC has the highest population of Ethiopians in the USA, and they love to run the city streets at half the pace of everyone else. I occasionally get to run track with them, too. So inspiring and uninspiring at the same time!

Since I have a marathon coming up, I decided it was time to get into gear and start training. I was going to do 13 today, but decided to do 13.1 just so I could casually mention to people that I ran a half marathon 🙂

My quest began in Rock Creek Park, and went all the way across the Potomac River to Virginia. Fort Man is still going strong.


Then I checked in on my dear friend Teddy Roosevelt. TR Island is my favorite running spot in town.


Highlight of the trip: Discovering a water fountain that actually worked. The government has no soul and turns off most of the water fountains around November and all the bubblers run dry until about April. Something about pipes freezing and bursting all over the city, yadda yadda yadda. But they must have missed one this year! Drink up!


Then back across the river to the National Mall. The upcoming inauguration has resulted in a flood of tourists, helicopters, security guards, and fences…


As well as a massive swamp of porta potties. Over 200, I’d say. Lined up like soldiers ready for battle.


The last four miles took me through Chinatown, which was also full of porta potties, and back home. 13.1 on the dot! Booyah.


I didn’t have any pace in mind for this run other than to keep my pace easy and under 9-minute miles, finish feeling good, and perhaps rack up some negative splits. Looking at my stats, I got the first two goals ticked off, and would say I made some progress toward the third.

Screen shot 2013-01-19 at 6.25.00 PM

Why are negative splits important to strive for? Well, basically, giving yourself a good, slow warmup is the most efficient way to use energy and leaves you with more spirit to finish strong at the end. Many runners “hit the wall” toward mile 22 of the marathon for a number of reasons — one of them is because they started out too fast and wasted all their energy reserves. This Runner’s World article sums it up nicely.

My average pace for the first 6 miles was 8.34; average pace for the next six miles was 8:25, so that’s technically negative!

I don’t know how to factor in the 13.1-th mile since my Garmin only calculates pace per single mile and 13.1 is a strange, stubborn number. Math is not my best subject. In fact, I think I have a headache from those basic calculations already. Thank goodness it’s Saturday night and a glass of wine and good friend await! Catch you later!

  • What was your run today?
  • Do you try to pace yourself for negative splits?
  • Have you ever built a fort?


  1. That path looks so pretty! Too funny about your ‘fort man’ comments, HA! I know that in places that can go below freezing also blow out the sprinklers and require hand watering to prevent pipe explosion from ice expansion. Its happened, and its NOT a fun or easy thing to fix…but water fountains would be nice 🙂

    For pace, I just start slow to warm up and then just maintain a comfortable pace. I’m not super fast and I’m just coming back from an injury, so being able to run pain free is my pace goal (for now)!

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  3. Pingback: sweaty indicators & fort man | minutes per mile

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