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2005-12-26 - Winter Wardrobe

14+ miles @ ~11:20 min/mi

Inspired by sunlight glistening on bare tree branches in Rock Creek Park, I compose a haiku as I jog this morning (cf. Winter Wardrobe). After yesterday's rains the temperature settles into the mid-40s but feels much cooler with intermittent wind gusts of up to 30 mph. I dither before setting out and eventually decide to leave my camera and GPS behind — probably a wise choice, since I have enough trouble as it is juggling my bottle of Gatorade when I take items out of my fanny pack.

My intention is to do a ~15 mile Northwestern DC Loop — southbound on Rock Creek Trail and Beach Drive to the Park Police Hqs., westerly on Military/Western/River Roads, and then homewards via the Capital Crescent Trail — but I turn the wrong way as I leave my neighborhood and belatedly discover that by taking the Georgetown Branch I've cut off a mile from the course. That inadvertent shortcut turns out for the best, however, as a blister begins to develop on the bottom of my right foot after a dozen miles. Earlier in the journey my legs start to get chafed from a seam on my shorts. I consider experimenting with wearing the shorts inside-out, or perhaps backwards, but refrain since I'm next to busy River Road in Bethesda. So I run bowlegged and eventually the cold air numbs my inner thighs.

My pace is as brisk as the weather. The first five measured miles flow past at ~11:15 min/mi. At the one-hour mark I take an S! electrolyte cap. I slow a bit on the DC sidewalks and at occasional traffic lights. But when I arrive at the CCT with five miles to go I'm energized by three hard candies and a Clif Shot. I finish with splits of 10:33, 11:57, 10:06, 11:55, and 11:35 for an average again of ~11:15. It is not a coincidence that lady runners pass me during both of the sub-11 minute miles.