A lady in a group admires my beard. I show her the icicles formed on it today. "That's real dedication"! she says. "No," I reply, "it's just condensation!"
Gayatri Datta meets me at the Candy Cane City parking lot at 7:59am on a snowy morning with temps in the low 20's. I've jogged there from home, pausing at the Rays Meadow fountain where I discover the dog-water spout works but the human-water fountain is frozen. Gayatri and I jog back up the road to East-West Highway past Meadowbrook Stables in search of Barry Smith and Rebecca Rosenberg. While we do, Barry and Rebecca turn out to be looking for us; they parked in another lot. The main parking area is almost full with cars of an MCRRC group that started its run before us. A quick phone call syncs us all up, and we proceed down Rock Creek Trail and Beach Dr into DC.
The trek today is fun but frigid; tights and double-layer shorts and shirt keep my core and legs warm, but fingers and toes get chilly at times. Yesterday's light snowfall has left a lovely coating on the woods. The creek is frozen in places but flows freely in others. Many runners greet us along the way, but today no cyclists or skaters. After a few miles we meet "The Running of the Bulls" — pit bulls, in this case, five of them tugging on leashes in front of their humans.
We take sporadic walk breaks (but my trackfile recording never pauses) and visit three restrooms along the way. The Garmin GPS shows fine details in its trackfile, including zig-zags I did near the Rock Creek Park latrine; the Runkeeper app on the iPhone blurs them out, but estimates a total distance of 20.91 miles, ~1% higher than the wrist unit.
I'm wearing the Nathan hydration backpack, and deliberate drinking from it maintains my weight steady, ~143 lbs. before and after the run. Gayatri is amused to observe that I eat more than she has ever seen me do before: a Luna Bar, an energy gel, a root beer barrel candy, and half a Clif Bar. We generally run in pairs, unconsciously permuting: Barry+Rebecca, Rebecca+Gayatri, Gayatri+Barry, and the complimentary combinations for me. I thank Rebecca for the "Mini Zen Gardening Kit" she gave me recently.
Lance Armstrong jokes lead to Tiger Woods jokes. I mention asking, "What would Lance do?" when tempted to cut back on hard hill runs. Rebecca tells of a Tiger commercial wherein he says that he practices his swing for hours when the weather is good — and when it's not, he practices his swing for hours. After we get back to Candy Cane City I'm thinking of hitching a ride home with somebody. My left metatarsals are aching intermittently, and the right hip ITB twinges. But I remember Rebecca's story and decide to head for home. At Rays Meadow the Lance question comes to mind, and I take the long way home to add a bonus mile, the only sub-10 min/mi pace one of the day. I think about doing a Mormon Hill climb — but finally come to my senses!
Later that day, at Taco Bell for a recovery gordita, I'm telling comrade Kate Abbott about how my nose was running faster than I was for most of the chilly run. She means to ask, "Did you blow snot rockets?" (and yes, I did) but the smartphone autocorrect changes "snot" into The Other 'S' Word. After I point out the glitch we both laugh. That's trail-runner humor for you ...
^z - 2013-02-08