"Feeling really really tired," reads the text message sent at 4:35am from my running comrade. We had planned to drive together to the Takoma Metro and run down the Metropolitan Branch Trail together, refuel at friend Clair's home, and run back. At 4:36am I reply, "Me too! Want to sleep in, start late, go slow? Or skip today?" After I promise not to mock, the buddy (who shall remain nameless) returns to bed. A quick check of Sunday morning DC bus schedules suggests an alternative solo plan: run from home down the MBT to Clair's home and take the bus back. Major track work means that trains aren't running to Silver Spring today.
So begin, 5:39am on a warm, humid morning. Take it slow, walk the hills and try to maintain an average pace by the GPS of about 12 min/mi. Lose the MBT route after a wrong turn in Takoma Park. Follow Blair Rd and then Riggs Rd into the Ft Totten metrobus area, and recover the scent. Admire the façade of the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University, where an inspiring list of words appear along the top edge of the building: justice, charity, freedom, etc. Arrive on schedule at Clair's lovely home. Greet husband Mike, eight-month-old daughter Sophie, dog Quigley. "Can Clair come out to run?"