- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 27, 2005

The holiday season often disrupts my running schedule.

While there is time off from work, that time is filled with holiday obligations that are not on the schedule the rest of the year.

My workouts suffer somewhat because I am trying to work my schedule into other people’s schedules, and somehow my running ends up on the short end of the holiday cheer.

But I do find that this is a good time to segue from the summer/fall season into the winter season.

The winter brings great challenges to our running schedules. Unfortunately, many people curtail their running program or drop it completely for a few months until spring hits.

The shorter days means it’s dark when many of us leave work. My favorite time of the day for running is 6 to 8 in the evening. In the summer, it’s a great time; the sun is starting to set. In the winter, it is black as the night and not so conducive to running outdoors.

Also, my favorite venue is the park, and obviously you cannot run on unlit park trails after sunset unless you have spectacular night vision.

So now is the time to plan your running venues.

For me, Eisenhower Avenue is a good route because it’s well-lit and has a nice sidewalk. Old Town Alexandria is a good spot, too, with its city lights shining. When I don’t feel like dealing with darkness or inclement weather, the treadmill at the recreation center is always a good option.

But on weekends, there are no excuses. Well, there are always excuses, just not good ones.

The key to maintaining your running success to is keep your body stimulated all year. So don’t let the winter freeze up your running program. And never stop at home on the way to your workout or you will never make it back out the door.

Down time — It is strange to see Wilson Komen trail anything but the lead vehicle, but last week he ended up fifth at the Thomas G. Labrecque Classic 4-Miler in West Potomac Park in Washington and third at Thursday’s Alexandria Turkey Trot 5-Miler.

Not to worry, said the 27-year-old Kenyan who trains during much of the year in Washington. He said he is in his offseason and set to depart D.C. for the altitude of Albuquerque, N.M., where he will prepare for April’s Boston Marathon.

You snooze, you lose — The online entry process for the 2006 Cherry Blossom 10-Miler starts at 10 a.m. on Dec. 12. Entries will be taken at www.cherryblossom.org. Mail-in entries will be mailed in early December and may be returned as soon as they are received.

The April 2 race is limited to 10,000 entrants. Last year, online registration closed in just five days.

For an interesting spin, race director Phil Stewart said the 2006 race will feature a 10-minute advance start for about 30 elite women. With no women’s world record for an all-women’s 10-mile race in the books, the first woman across the finish line will establish a world standard.

Upcoming race — Al Morris, the men’s long distance running chair of the Potomac Valley Association of USA Track & Field, said the Potomac Valley Track Club (PVTC) will play host to the PVA USATF 5K and 10K Road Championships on Dec. 17 at Hains Point in East Potomac Park in Washington.

At the same time, PVTC will be conducting its traditional Christmas Caper 5K/10K Run and Race Walk. There is only race day registration.

Christmas ornaments will be awarded to the top three in 10-year age groups (men and women), plus racewalkers.

To qualify for USATF prizes, you must be a member of USATF. You should sign up for USATF membership before race day through www.usatf.org. But keep in mind that your membership will expire Dec. 31 because USATF membership is computed annually.

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