At 5:30am the Pleiades sparkle like gems overhead—but when I tip my head back to admire them vertigo strikes and my head spins. So I cautiously cut my eyes at the Seven Sisters as I set out from home. The 25-day-old crescent moon in the east casts a shadow in front of me, thin and wavery like Frodo's when wearing the One Ring. My One Ring is running, with its addictive illusion of power. I tread cautiously in the dim tunnels under trees on the rutted gravel of the Capital Crescent Trail until the sky begins to lighten at 6am. A big stag stares at me as I pass within a few feet of him near the Grubb Rd side path.
In downtown Bethesda I refill water bottle and chew a gummy strawberry-flavored Clif Blok while awaiting the arrival of the Bethesda Rebel Runner gang. There are almost a dozen here today, so at 6:40am we head west on the CCT retracing my steps until after the high trestle over Rock Creek. Then down to Meadowbrook Stables we trot. Barry Smith rolls his right ankle rather badly along the way, but after he and Sara Crum and I walk a bit together the ache decreases and he continues with us. I tell him he's being foolish; he laughs. Sam (Samantha Yerkes) carries chalk and leads the way, marking turns with arrows and a big "BRR" on the asphalt.
Back in Bethesda after 6+ miles we regroup at the water fountain. Gayatri Datta and Sara run a little way ahead of Barry and me. Along the way we're startled to see Gayatri's husband Atin, out for a Saturday morning stroll. "Lucky you weren't saying anything scandalous about him when we got within earshot!" Sara tells Gayatri. At Fletchers Boathouse Barry and Sara turn back. Gayatri and I carry on while Rebecca and others recede into the distance ahead. At the Thompson Boat Center we catch sight of the group just leaving. As we prepare to continue we hear a loud pop and see flames spreading on the water near the back of a boat at the dock. Apparently somebody was filling the tank of his outboard motor; gasoline overflowed, spilled onto the river, and caught fire. Fortunately no damage.
As we cross the Memorial Bridge into Virginia winds repeatedly blast Gayatri's cap off until she gives up and attaches it to her velcro fuel belt. Construction along the Mount Vernon Trail detours us onto a segment on the shoulder of the George Washington Memorial Parkway where we trot between jersey barriers, trapped liked marbles in a chute as cyclists speed by. We're disappointed at the Marina not to see any water fountains. At National Airport we navigate the maze of parking lot alleys and find our way to the Metro, then into the terminal concourse where we refill bottles in the water fountain outside the ladies room. I phone Rebecca to report our arrival and discover she's only a few feet away, around a corner with Sam et al. in a Cosi coffee shop. The others sip java while Gayatri and I catch the subway to Bethesda. Gayatri kindly gives me a ride home.
^z - 2010-09-17