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2016-12-02 - Kristin and Kerry - First Ultra

~30.1 miles @ ~15.2 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/two_Bald_Eagles_mount_vernon_trail_2016-12-02.jpg"Bald eagle!" says a passing cyclist near Daingerfield Island. One majestic bird is soon joined by another. We stand in awe as the pair perches close by the Mount Vernon Trail, then takes wing. "Almost as good as seeing unicorns!" we agree. "PFA — does that stand for Pretty Fonda Awesome?" someone asks.

Today the Dawn Patrol makes its farthest journey ever, escorted by kind Dr Stephanie. It's a windy-brisk day, meandering through corners of DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Passing mile 26.2 we pause for fist-bumps: Drs K&K are ultrarunners now. Brava to both!

"Puppies — gotta love 'em!" A young blue French bulldog greets the gang at the bridge over Four Mile Run. Kristin reports that her smart doggie "B/W" is settling down nicely now that he has a cuddly snuggle-doll to keep him company. Kerry is shopping for new Christmas decorations after her pup Sid mistakes ornaments for chew-toys. Stephanie's little Louis remains a Force of Nature, enjoying himself beyond all bounds of decorum.

No aid stations needed today: we enjoy the hospitality of half a dozen Starbucks and the friendly Firehook Bakery. A typo-troubled sign flashes "TRAFFIC INFORCED HERE" and adds the admonition "OBEY ALL LAWS". Holiday lights sparkle along the avenues of Alexandria. The rising sun tints the Washington Monument flamingo-pink.

"They'll still be there when you get back!" Kerry advises against using household chores or work obligations as excuses not to undertake arduous adventures like long runs. Good argument!

Our route proceeds down the Potomac waterfront and across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, after a digression to visit the southernmost DC Boundary Stone set in place at Jones Point in 1791. A goose takes off from the bay at National Harbor like a stone skipping over the water, wingtips leaving a dotted line of ripples. Construction is underway for the "ICE!" show at Gaylord National Resort. "Parka Return Here" reads a sign. The huge new MGM hotel and casino is almost ready to open. Trail talk includes memories of labor and childbirth, analysis of the psychology of hair styles, and debate over what post-run pizza toppings are tastiest.

Back again to our start at Potomac Yard Center we drop off night gear and proceed north to DC. Another bald eagle cruises low above the Memorial Bridge. "Will it fly ahead and perch on Abraham Lincoln's statue for us?" A squad of young US Marines out for a run pauses at the Korean War Memorial and salutes as we pass.

"We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all our citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization." Those words and other inscriptions at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial are particularly moving today. After checking out George Mason's statue we visit Thomas Jefferson and then cross the 14th Street Bridge into Virginia.

Nearing our start but a few miles short of the magic "30" according to GPS, we detour along the southern shore of Four Mile Run and return via sidewalks by busy Glebe Road — tired, hungry, happy, proud. It's a beautiful day full of wonderful memories. Thanks be for friends and health and safe places to share adventure!

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Kristin_Kerry_Stephanie_tidal_basin_2016-12-02.jpg

(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-12-29