"So you got up, put on your shoes, and ran 20 miles — like it was nothing special! Wasn't that your goal nine months ago?" I ask Stephane Fonda after we finish this morning's circuit down Rock Creek from Candy Cane City, then back via the Capital Crescent Trail through Bethesda. Stephanie admits that it was one of her fantasies late last summer. Brava!
Our cool, drizzly day's planning begins at 5:33am when I text a few early-bird friends the message, "run plans today?". Stephanie reports that she opened her eyes, saw my words, and smiled. She had hoped to do a solo journey, testing out new Hoka One One zero-lift highly-cushioned shoes. Her longest prior trek in them was only a couple of miles, so today is a stretch by a factor of seven. Audacious, eh?! Stephanie is recovering from bad illness last week and stressful-long days at the office. I did ~22 miles yesterday (see 2013-05-18 - Sligo Creek - Northwest Branch - New Place Loop). It's a stretch all around.
From the start we deliberately hold the pace back, aiming to keep an average of just under 12 min/mi. Wisteria blossoms hang over Rock Creek, as they did yesterday along Northwest Branch. Chipmunks scurry away at our approach. At the Thompson Boat Center crowds of crew competitors walk around us as we refill hydration backpacks from the garden hose. Ponytails, male and female, catch eyes; I cite my long-ago poem on the topic (SevenManes). We subsist on a skimpy diet of mini Heath Bars, Succeed! electrolyte caps, energy gels, and fragments of Clif Mojo or Luna bars. Conversation is, as always, lovely.
Near the bank of the Potomac I see a wee Loch Ness Monster — Nessie's Bairn? — pop its long neck up to look at us. It resubmerges before I can photograph it. At mile ~16.5, McDonalds in Bethesda on River Road, I divert to buy a senior coffee, then must sprint to catch up with Dr Fonda. When we get to Jones Mill Rd and I start to cross against the light a car zips around the corner. I throw up an arm to block Stephanie and we leap back, narrowly averting disaster.
When Stephanie's GPS reads 20.00 we commence walking, in honor of dear friend Cara Marie Manlandro, who used to refuse to run another step once her GPS reached the day's goal. We do break CM's rule, however, and jog a bit further down Beach Dr near the end of our loop, to ensure that our overall pace stays safely sub-12 min/mi. Debate and banter ensues over which of us is more Obsessive-Compulsive, today and in general. Stephanie drives me back home via the Silver Spring Food Coop, where I buy fancy coffee beans for a friend's daughter's wedding gift (and weeks later, still owe Stephanie $69+ in reimbursement). Post-run digital scale readout shows a dehydrated 139.9 lbs.
Runkeeper grants us a bonus half-mile or so, probably from glitching at the Dalecarlia and Wisconsin Av tunnels when the GPS satellites are out of sight, for an estimated total of 21.26 miles. Garmin says our distance is 20.64 mi.
(cf. 2012-09-23 - Rock Creek CCT Loop with Stephanie and Gayatri, ...) - ^z - 2013-06-09