Spring Back Yard Burn Trail Race Report

Thinking of my race this past Sunday, all things considered, I’m happy with my performance. I wasn’t going to do this race originally because it is in Northern Virginia and was a bit of a drive. Thankfully, my buddy Chris had already signed up for the race and since someone else was doing it, it was the push I needed to sign up and run.

I made it to the race site around 8am that morning for a 9am race. The weatherman said “Sunny and 60” was the forecast, but when I stepped outside, it was FREEZING. Thankfully I brought extra clothes with me and was a kinda (but not really) warm while signing up.

This race had a 5 mile option and a 10 mile option as well. I signed up for the 10 mile option because I needed to get my long run in and I figured, if I’m paying $50 and driving 60 minutes, I might as well make it worth my time.

After a short warm-up run, I stripped down and headed to the start. After a short wait, we were off. We started off running on the street and the turned into the trails.

The first two or so miles of this race snaked along the river and were mostly flat. I stayed in a pack of people and we trotted along. Around the 2.5-3 mile mark, we started heading out of the valley and up the hill. Twisting and turning, twisting and turning, we eventually made it to the top.

After coming back around to the start, we went back out onto the trail. It was a rather interesting trail, it seems well suited to mountain bikers. We crossed multiple streams (and being the immature person I am, I jumped in each stream with both feet, splashing everyone around me), bridges, rock gardens, and muddy sections.

In my second lap, I was trailing a guy for about 3 miles, staying behind him, and not letting him out of my sight. Eventually either my lack of fitness or the fact that I did a hard ride on the trainer the day before caught up to me with two miles left. He accelerated up a hill and I just could not respond. I tried to keep him in sight until the finish and crossed the line in 1:11:17.

Overall I was quite pleased with this race. Very efficient, fun, and well run race. My fitness is nowhere near I would like it to be, but I am quite pleased with the effort. I’m making progress, I just need to stay consistent.








Where have I been? Good question. The past few months have been marred with inconsistent training and lots and lots of eating. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I needed a break after the marathon. I needed to rethink how I approach things. After this extended period of time off, I’m ready to get back out there.

So, I’ll start updating on a more regular basis and hopefully I can be more consistent and meet my goals for this year.

By Terry Decker Posted in running

Boston Qualifier or Bust… Bust?

So yesterday I ran the NCR trail Marathon.  The NCR trail is the on the old Northern Central Railroad.  The Northern Central Railroad used to stretch from Baltimore through York, PA then to Harrisburg, PA.  Now it is a crushed stone path that runs to the state line and then extends another twenty (20) miles until York, PA.

This was supposed to be my “make up” marathon, to make up for the fact that I didn’t finish the Chicago marathon.  I signed up for this marathon the day after Chicago thinking that I could qualify for Boston using this marathon.  As the days grew closer to the marathon, I thought that I was as prepared as I could be.

It was a chilly 35 degrees at the start as we lined up at the start.  The race started at Sparks Elementary School and was almost all down hill until we hit the trail.  After starting out downhill, it was hard to get into a good rhythm and into the 6:50/mile pace that I wanted to run.  After a couple of miles I finally got into it.  First five (5) miles were 6:15, 6:37, 6:52, 7:05, and 6:43.

As I went through Monkton and the water stop at 5 miles, I still felt fine.  My legs were a bit tired, but nothing out of the ordinary.  We headed back into the trail and I felt that I had a great pace setter in front of me and We were just cruising.   I had never been that far up the trail, and after we ran past White Hall, it was all new territory.  I didn’t know what to expect or where the turn-around was gonna be.  I saw Molly and our dog Layla at Parkton which was about mile 11.  She was jumping up and down and the dog was going nuts (which is typical for any other day).  I felt good and told her that I was doing just fine and I kept going.  The next few miles until the turn-around few past (6:43, 6:50, 6:44, 7:01, 7:16, 6:26, 7:06, 7:11, 7:06).  After the turn around, my legs started to tire.  I didn’t think anything of it, so I just kept pushing forward.  Around mile 15 my legs started to talk to me.  At first they were just saying, “Hey, we are sore, slow down.”  By mile 16, it was, “No really, we are tired and sore, slow the fuck down.”  I saw Molly just after 16 and told her that I was fading pretty fast, but I kept going.  Around mile 18 or 19, my legs screamed, “THAT’S ENOUGH, TIME TO WALK.” And I did just that.  I started taking walking breaks about every 20-30 seconds or so.  This worked for a bit but I couldn’t keep my pace up and the Boston qualifying time started to look like a bleak possibility.

As I was run/walking my way down the trail, my legs were now chanting, “Stop now, rest, rest, stop now, rest, rest…”  I really wanted to stop.  It was cold, I was shivering at this point, and I was in considerable pain, but I kept yelling (yes, out loud), “Come on, come on! Fuck you legs!” and I pressed on.  In miles 23, 24 and 25, everything fell apart.

We got off the trail around mile 24 and I just couldn’t do anything.  I had to walk most of the time, only running on the down hills.  Even at mile 25 I couldn’t muster up the strength to run because my legs were super sore and cramping with every step.  I jogged it in the last 200 meters or so and crossed the finish line while being cheered on by Molly and the dog (who subsequently jumped up and hit me squarely in the nuts).

When I finished I thought that I would be disappointed but honestly I wasn’t. Not at all.  My goals for this race was to 1) Finish; 2) Qualify for Boston; or 3) break 3 hours.  I only accomplished #1.  And I’m happy.  I’m happy that I tried to do something that I probably wasn’t prepared to do.  I’m happy that I tried to do something that, even though I started to doubt myself around mile 13, I still went for it.  I left it all out on the trail.  I gave it all that I had.  It just wasn’t enough.  But eventually it will be.  More training, less bad eating, more dedication, less weight, blah, blah, blah, and I have it.

So was this a bust?  I don’t think so.  Did I qualify for Boston?  No.  But am I proud of what I did yesterday.  Yes.

Brain dump

I had the day off on Monday for Veterans Day and I completely wasted it.  I was nothing but lazy all day.  I usually am pretty productive and Monday I just had no motivation to do anything on my honey-do list (courtesy of Molly).  I did absolutely nothing but sit on my ass and watch tv. Around 2pm or so I finally got out the door and brought the dog out to the park so she could run around.  It’s incredible how happy Layla gets when she is off the leash and running around in the park.

Layla at the park.

After I came home, I got back on track and did some chores and made it out the door to run.  Another beautiful day and another great run.  8 miles in about 64 minutes.

After the day off my week just got REAL busy at work.  Sometimes its really difficult to have the motivation to run after a long day at work.  Some days it’s a true struggle and some days I win and sometimes I lose.  Tuesday I lost.  I try to not feel that guilty about it but the guilt of missing a run so close to the marathon really set in.  Unfortunately, Wednesday was more of the same.  Another really busy day, another walking zombie when I got home, another missed run.  I tried to make up for it on Thursday and I nailed my last marathon paced run.  I felt great throughout the run and my legs really didn’t tire too much.  I had planned on running 1 mile warm-up, 10 miles at marathon pace (6:52), 1 mile cool-down.  Miles were 6:52, 6:40, 6:42, 6:38, 6:41, 6:41, 6:48, 6:35, 6:37, and 6:41 for a 6:42/mile average.  Really pleased with this run and very happy it went well.  Big confidence booster.

The rest of this week went well.  Friday came and went with a quick 7 miler which, surprisingly  I was not sore.  I’m taking this as a good sign of my legs and their ability to recover.

As I sit on the couch and write this, I’ve come back in from an easy 8 miler that circled the park twice and ended up near the new dog park (which looks awesome).  I love running in this city sometimes.  When there is no one around the city just becomes yours to explore.

Next week is the marathon and I’m nervous.  I’m nervous that I’ll not do as well as I hope to.  I’m nervous that I’ll feel sore before the race or that my legs won’t have any speed in them or that I’ll generally not do well.  I always get nervous before marathons.  I’m not sure why it is just marathons, but it always happens.  Hopefully if this marathon goes well, I won’t get too nervous for the next one, whenever that will be.

My food choices were good this week.  I still have a huge problem with eating snacks at work.  My co-workers all have chocolates or candy or whatever at their desks or in the lobby and I have low self-control when it comes to these kinds of candies.  If you ask Molly, she will tell you that I am a huge chocolate-a-holic.  I struggle to deny myself these little treats.  And honestly, it would be fine if I had one or two, but I don’t have one or two.  I have to have FORTY.  Well, maybe not forty but I do stop counting after ten. I see one Hershey’s kiss and after opening it an eating it, my mind goes into overdrive and I have to eat them, as many as I can, and all at once.  I swear, if someone saw me while I am eating all this chocolate, I believe they may think I have a serious problem.

I started to ease off the treats by the end of the week and on friday I didn’t have any and I’m pretty pumped about that.  Other than the pizza on Saturday night, I think I did pretty well.  I’m still not losing the weight I want to, so maybe I need to make some more changes.