Sweat washes sunscreen into my eyes. The trek down the Metropolitan Branch Trail begins from home at 9:30am. I'm taking the first day off work in a long time; at last I'm approaching use-or-lose territory in the office leave ledger. Temperatures are properly spring-like after a chilly spell, and soon the sleeves are rolled up. No water fountains are working along the route, so I sip cautiously from the single bottle I carry and nibble a Clif Mojo Bar.
Construction blocks a street at Catholic University and forces a detour around a couple of blocks. The mural on the wall outside The Dance Place is repainted: sadly, the comely high-kicking lady that I loved is replaced by a less-eye-catching motley crew. I pause to photograph the new artwork, then accelerate to sprint in honor of Stephanie Fonda's 8:17 at mile 10 near the NoMa Metro station. The Garmin wrist GPS clocks me at 8:11, but Runkeeper is offset and says 8:01.
At Union Station I wander indoors for a few minutes and finally find a working water fountain to refill my bottle. DS Merle texts me and DS Robin phones to suggest a lunch at Jerry's when I return. The shortest route home is up Massachusetts Avenue. In the center of Mount Vernon Square the Washington Public Library donated by Andrew Carnegie is worth pausing to photograph. Behind the benches outside the southern entrance are the words "A VIVERSITY FOR THE PEOPLE". High above the door it says "THIS BVILDING A GIFT OF ANDREW CARNEGIE", "WASHINGTON PVBLIC LIBRARY", and "DEDICATED TO THE DIFFVSION OF KNOWLEDGE". Beneath them the inscription reads "SCIENCE - POETRY - HISTORY". A beautiful structure!
Pauses at traffic lights are minor, but now I'm starting to feel seriously dehydrated. A young woman runs past as we climb Meridian Hill and vanishes into the distance. Walk breaks begin at five minute intervals, then stretch to include anything that looks like an ascent. Metrobuses tempt me to catch a ride. I ponder the possibility of entering a church or knocking on a front door to beg for water. But at last the tall apartment towers in Silver Spring come into view, and I decide to keep on hiking home. My weight is down 4 lbs. Note to self: carry more water!
Runkeeper splits are 9:35 + 10:28 + 8:48 + 9:12 + 9:27 + 10:38 + 9:11 + 9:42 + 10:41 (taking photos at The Dance Place) + 8:01 (blitzing!) + 12:00 (seeking water in Union Station) + 9:41 + 11:49 (taking photos of the Carnegie Library) + 9:50 + 9:57 + 10:45 + 9:56 + 10:49 + 12:05 (increasingly dehydrated) + 12:49 + final fraction at 11:47 min/mi pace. The Garmin data is similar.