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2004-05-16 - Rock Creek and Sligo Loop

14+ miles @ ~11.5 min/mi

161 minutes: A never-before-attempted circuit, from home to Rock Creek Trail, then 6 miles upstream to Randolph Road, east through Wheaton via Veirs Mill & University, south on Sligo Creek Trail to Forest Glen, and west again to Che^z ... an unanticipated journey, made pleasant by relatively cool weather and good conversation along the way. The emerging "Brood X" of cicadas make an extraterrestrial whirr as I pass by the woods.

I plan to do only half a dozen miles, carrying Paulette's digital camera and taking more photos of trail mileposts --- but it starts raining at 8am as I prepare to set out, so I abandon that scheme, grab a water bottle, and just go jogging without a goal. After joining RCT I meet half a dozen packs of MCRRC members on their Sunday morning long run, and am too embarrassed to take most of my early walk breaks while they can see me. Approaching Connecticut Avenue I catch up with Ruth (a young cancer surgeon, in training for her fourth marathon, Vermont in a few weeks) and we chat for the last half hour as she finishes her ~13 miler at Ken-Gar Park ... about speedwork, nutrition (Ruth eats kiwi fruit before her long runs), and in her words, the "privilege that it is to run a marathon" ...

I'm feeling good now, so I carry on rather than turn back for home. In the woods of north Kensington ultrarunner Ron Ely catches up with me and we talk as he finishes his ~20 miler (he's preparing for a hundred mile run soon) ... he was at the 50k HAT Run in late March (and finished ~2.5 hours ahead of me there) ...

After Ron turns back at RCT milepost #8 I'm on my own. The sun comes out so I try to find the shadier side of the street as I climb to Wheaton and cross from the Rock Creek (Potomac) watershed to the Sligo (Anacostia River) drainage basin. A water fountain at Wheaton Forest Park provides a welcome refill (and head-dousing to cool my fevered brow). The return jog down Sligo Creek is uneventful.

At home I reward myself with a breakfast of champions: a bottle of beer and a bowl of instant mashed potatoes ...

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