2006-01-02 - Mount Vernon Trail

5+ miles @ 10:30 min/mi

A little after 8am on this Monday holiday Comrade Evan and I rendezvous in downtown Alexandria and point our toes south toward the Mount Vernon Trail. The miles commence to flow by far faster than I expect. Could the near-freezing weather, the sporadic light rain, the pleasant natural scenery, and the excellent conversation be conspiring to speed me along? Or has yesterday's blitz 5k recalibrated my legs' default turnover? For whatever reason we find ourselves at MVT milepost 8 after roughly 10 minutes. Then markers 7 and 6 swim into our ken after a brisk 10:45 and 10:25 respectively. I capture GPS coordinates for the landmarks; see the map with clickable pushpins at DC Metro Area Trails.

Shortly after post #6 I turn back. Speedy young Evan continues south, to blast out and back an extra pair of sub-8s. Without witnesses I do a solo mile in a startling-for-me 9:30. Astounded by that readout I start taking longer walk breaks. As my hands become overheated an unmentionable part of the male anatomy now starts to feel frostbite. I take my gloves off and attempt to stuff them into my shorts for added insulation, but the gloves fall through to the trail whenever I try to run again. Alas, there's far too much traffic on the George Washington Parkway and on the MVT itself for me to do anything other than suffer, or risk arrest for public indecency. Wary of Commonwealth of Virginia law enforcement, I choose to suffer.

After finishing my fifth mile in 10:55 I commence an extended cooldown stroll until Evan rematerializes and pushes me back up to speed for a final sprint to our cars. There we part ways, as I drive along the southwestern border of Alexandria and locate six more DcBoundaryStones — markers placed at one-mile intervals during the 1791-92 survey which established the Federal City. See my Google map of the stones, with clickable thumbnail photos and GPS coordinates.