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2009-01-18 - Goose Creek and the WOD

~6 miles @ ~12 min/mi

"Look at that!" Mary Ewell points as we cross the bridge high above Goose Creek. At first I see a pair of great blue herons flying silently upstream below us, a dark shadowy one just behind the leader, wings flapping out of phase. Then suddenly I realize: it's one bird, perfectly mirrored in the still water.

Our run begins about four miles earlier at a landmark of ancient Ashburn: Partlow Brothers' country store on the W&OD Trail near milepost 28. After a mini-debate in the chill wind on the propriety of wearing gloves, hat, and jacket—all of which we eventually doff—we head west past the quarry overlook. Flocks of joggers and occasional cyclists zip along the pavement. We follow the parallel horse trail and enjoy its gravel surface. Whenever I pause to water a bush or tie my shoes Mary runs away from me. I sprint to catch up. "You told me to keep going!" is her excuse, amid protestations of how slow and out-of-shape she is.

At the Two Creeks Nature Area we take an unplanned side excursion on a winding forest trail. Another great blue heron, or maybe the same one, glides above Sycolin Creek. During the return journey our pace slows slightly. I grant Mary a quota of one "I'm sorry!" per mile, and she exhausts her balance before we get back to our cars. "Sprint - Walk - Sprint - Walk," is how she describes our pattern of gentle speedwork on the rolling hills.

^z - 2009-01-24