2005-12-24 - Recce Run

11+ miles @ ~11:45 min/mi

On Saturday morning Comrade Ruth and I meet at the Greenbelt Youth Center and preview the George Washington's Birthday Marathon by doing one major loop around the course. Temperatures are near-freezing as we start but soon warm into the lower-40's. Both Ruth and I carry newish GPS units and have a good time messing with them en route. We first walk to the finish line and take latitude-longitude coordinates there, then stroll to the starting line and do likewise.

Then we're off, chatting as we jog about a variety of themes with the main focus on past running experiences. Our first few miles flow by too quickly, but soon we increase the frequency of walk breaks and settle in to a more sustainable pace. Our splits for the first nine miles are 11:05, 10:57, 12:21, 11:29, 11:13, 11:48, 11:29, 12:02, and 13:12 — that final slow segment including some significantly rising terrain along Powder Mill Road. I take waypoints at each course marker: start 1 2 turnaround 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 finish

Shots at a nearby target range intermittently disturb the peace, as do cars that zip past and force us to the shoulder of the road. Hundreds of geese feed on an open field in the agricultural research center. I get too warm and doff my outer windshirt, exposing a Boston baseball jersey that perhaps provokes at least one passer-by to honk, though whether s/he's pro or con the Red Sox remains uncertain. Ruth and I each swallow a "Succeed!" electrolyte capsule at the one-hour point, and neither of us suffer from any leg cramps. At the end of our first lap sanity prevails and we decide not to attempt a second.

Ruth is sharp-eyed: along the way she spies a shiny-steel 1/2-inch wrench, a brightly-plumed but recently-deceased woodpecker, and a fine-quality sewn-leather glove. We pick up two out of three — guess which two! (^_^)