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2007-12-02 - PHT plus C-and-O Loop

~9 miles @ ~14 min/mi

My phone rings at 8:30am as I'm driving across Chain Bridge over the Potomac River; I fumble and drop it on the floor. A few seconds later I pull into the Glebe Rd/41st St N parking lot and see Mary Ewell, early and wondering where I am. We leave her car and I drive us down the GW Parkway to Teddy Roosevelt Island where the Potomac Heritage Trail (PHT) begins. It's a chilly ~40°F with 5-10 mi/hr winds as a cold front approaches. Leaves cover the rocks and roots along the trail. Today's mission: get Mary's mojo back after the super-tough JFK 50 miler she ran last month!

On 27 Oct during the Potomac Heritage 50k 2007 I experienced this segment of the PHT and found it heavy going. Today the waters of the streams we must cross are lower and the ground is less muddy, but the leaves are just as slippery and the terrain is still rugged. But with Mary's company the distance goes by comfortably, and even the terrifying climb up the shear rock face at mile ~3.8 is not quite as daunting. Before we begin I warn Mary about the cliffs of insanity there, and she doesn't tease or laugh (too much) at my wimpishness. After ~4 miles and ~1:24, including time to powder our respective noses a few times along the way, we're back at Mary's car.

We refuel and cross Chain Bridge to the C&O Canal. A Great Blue Heron glides within a few feet of us beneath the Arizona Ave trestle. At Fletchers Boathouse we detour to view the tunnel under Canal Road that I found so frightening during the PHT50k; today it looks far milder. After ~26 minutes we're at C&O milepost 3. I remind Mary that she's been here before — only 55-80 miles up the river during the JFK and our training runs (cf. JFK 2007 Preparation and Don Quixote 55k Run 2007). Today we both feel stronger, and on the board-flat towpath I challenge Mary to some speedwork. Our next mile is 11:25, but after that we slow to 13-14 min/mi pace as the wind rises and a chill drizzle begins. After spying another Great Blue Heron perched on a Georgetown wall we cross the Potomac on the Key Bridge and are back to my car after a total time of 2:25 for the 9+ mile circuit.

Mary fishes for sympathy by continuously bemoaning her slowness — I tease her back, reminding her of her recent JFK and today's brisk 11:25 mile. Both of us are chilled at the end of the run and, independently, get a case of the shivers in our respective cars on the way home. Both of us recover via hot showers. Apparently the body needs help to shift from running-metabolism to resting-metabolism.


(correlates: WikiGonzalez, SecondLargestInvestment, SeeingStars0, ...)