Home early the afternoon before the Armistice Day holiday, I don shorts and singlet to visit the bank and pick up the title for our old green car, so we can donate it to charity some time soon. The Matthew Henson Trail beckons: Ken Swab and I saw the first couple of miles of it a few months ago, and Caren Jew rambled a mile farther along it with me last Sunday. The official trail map shows another ~1.5 miles of path beyond that. I navigate out to the new Winding Creek Local Park  at the corner of Dewey & Edgebrook Roads, and remember starting from here with Christina Caravoulias back on 2006-12-09.
Today feels ripe for a tempo run. I start from the water fountain at the junction of Rock Creek Trail and the MHT, just short of milepost 9, and crank out miles of 8:45, 7:59, and 8:36 including several seconds spent waiting to cross major streets. Yellow-brown leaves speckle the trail. Within the first mile I see a pair of small bucks, a one-pointer and a two-pointer, hanging out and acting cool within 20 feet of me. Ten minutes later a three-point stag lifts his head to monitor my passage. Farther along the trail three medium-sized does amble past. After gentle dips and steeper climbs the trail begins to trend downward again. Long boardwalks, then traffic lights at Layhill Rd. The path curves down past young trees watered by big green drip-bags, bark protected against hungry deer by steel grids.
Milepost 13 is at a minor road crossing and, distracted by threatening cars, I miss it outbound. The trail T's into a post labeled "13.4". I zig and zag to each arm of the "T" to add a little mileage, then turn back. Outbound time is ~40 minutes, ~8.9 min/mi. Returning I push a bit, take advantage of downhills, cross streets aggressively when traffic permits, and get miles 7:56 + 8:41 + 8:03 + 8:11 and an inbound total of ~37 minutes, rather faster than I anticipated.
^z - 2009-11-14