2005-12-17 - Icy Patches

16+ miles @ ~12:30 min/mi

^z's DC/MD Urban Loop East: from home through Walter Reed Annex to Rock Creek Trail, south on Beach Drive to the Rock Creek Park Police Headquarters, east on Military Road/Missouri Ave/Riggs Road to Sligo Creek Trail near East-West Highway, northwest along Sligo under the Capital Beltway, and then home again via Forest Glen Road. It sounds complex but it's actually quite a nice route with a pleasant mix of city and woodsy scenery. The people I greet are uniformly friendly; one lady suggests that I'm Santa Claus in training for Christmas delivery work. Along the way I pick up three gloves and a small cap from among the bus-stop litter.

At noon as I set out the weather is comfortably crisp, sunny and in the mid-40's, but as the afternoon and the miles go by clouds move in and temperatures dip. Ice blankets occasional trail segments, but I tread carefully and avoid a fall. The first six miles flow by at a sub-12:00 pace and a 2:1::jog:walk ratio, but then I start to flag. About mile 12 I'm feeling seriously tired, probably due to mild dehydration, loss of salt, and low blood sugar. There are no water fountains in DC or PG County, seemingly, and today I'm too cheap to stop at a gas station or pharmacy or liquor store to buy a drink. I carry a pint of Gatorade mix in a hand-held bottle, but one sip every quarter hour isn't sufficient. So two hours into the jog I take a Succeed! electrolyte capsule and start sucking on a hard sugar candy that I've had in my pouch since last February's marathon. That seems to help, though I still must cut my pace to about 13:00 minutes/mile (1:1::jog:walk). As the three-hour mark approaches I'm entirely out of water but have reached familiar terrain near my home neighborhood. I start feeling chipper again and trot most of the final miles home.

ScottReiss, musician and family friend, suffered from depression and died by his own hand last Wednesday. I thought of him frequently during today's run, especially on the icy patches.