The guy lying on the restroom floor next to the bicycle is sleeping (or dead, but I hope not) and the stalls have no doors, but there's plenty of toilet paper for which I give thanks to the National Park Service. It's about 7:30am on 12 August 2006, Ken and I are on Hains Point in East Potomac Park, and something I ate yesterday (maybe the garlic bagel with jalapeño cream cheese?) has come back to haunt me. But a few minutes later, happily exorcised, I catch up with Ken and we continue on today's run, a Marine-Corps-related training regime to help Capitol Hill folks prepare for the MCM. Further details of that "Iwo Jima Jog", and other training runs during the past few weeks, follow.
Christina has been weightlifting but not running much, and plans to do the Annapolis 10 Miler next month as well as several shorter races. So I trot eastward from home to meet her for an early Saturday morning training session starting at the Sligo Dennis Avenue Park. At my suggestion we experiment with alternate minutes of jogging and walking. It feels absurdly slow to her for the first two miles downstream but turns into a comfortable pace during our return trip, net ~13 minutes/mile. We chat about houses and jobs, take a wrong turn once, quickly recover Sligo Creek Trail, and along the way encounter almost a dozen folks who know Chris and greet us. Back at the park Christina shares watermelon with me, I pour water over my head, we take rides on the kids' swings in the play area for a few minutes to cool down, talk to a lady with a cute baby, and then part ways. During my jog home I try some "speedwork" by following a fast runner between markers and manage a 4:09 half mile before exhaustion sets in.
Comrade Ken calls me Saturday evening and proposes a 10 mile Sunday morning. I point out that I've gotta do the family laundry first, and it's going to be humid and hellishly hot, so we compromise and converge on Meadowbrook Stables at 9:15am. The temperature is already in the mid-80's and I soon wilt as we head north from milepost 1 on Rock Creek Trail. I survive until Cedar Lane, where at mile marker 4.75 Ken proceeds onward while I crawl back to the fountain to wash down a Power Gel packet and await his return. At every opportunity along the way I refill my bottle with "Dog Water" from the tap on the side of the fountain, and pour copious amounts of liquid over my head. When we're almost back to the stables a passing cyclist takes a tumble; we pause to check on her, and find that she's ok. "Did you see the deer that knocked her down?" I joke.
I slam on the brakes as the rising sun glints off a giant spiderweb spun across the trail, and manage to stop before I plunge my head into it. (The scene reminds me of the "Far Side" cartoon, with a web blocking the bottom of a playground slide and one spider saying to the other, "If we pull this off, we'll eat like kings.") It's the first cool day in a week, and I'm on the way from home to Rock Creek Trail, on which I jog a few miles upstream to Cedar Lane, then take to the sidewalks there to Old Georgetown Road, downtown Bethesda, and home again via the Capital Crescent Trail (Georgetown Branch). I go slowly with walk breaks every minute, but still feel tired and have some rubbing between toes on each foot. It's the morning to get out: along RCT I meet a fellow Boy Scout father and fast marathoner, Philippe (cf. WelcomeToTheClub) out jogging with his wife; at the Cedar Lane fountain MCRRC President Craig Roodenburg greets me.
Christina continues her training for the Annapolis 10 miler, today with me in a slow jog that more than doubles the length of her longest recent run. We meet a little after 6am at Sligo Dennis Avenue Park and proceed upstream, slowing to a walk whenever we see a rabbit (of which, fortunately for me, there are many). At trail's end, Wheaton Regional Park, Chris leads me to a nice paved path from the old ice rink downhill behind the ballfields. She points out landmarks as we converge on the "Run for Roses" race course (see course map), and I challenge her to do the whole 5k certified route with me. We've already gone 3+ miles so it's not fair, but no matter; as RfR's Race Director she can scarcely refuse, eh? We take it easy and enjoy the scenery at Brookside Gardens en route, resulting in mile splits of 13:01 + 14:39 + 14:58 plus 1:28 for the final leg. The return journey to our cars takes another ~45 minutes, during which Chris tells me about the time she and her fellow runners were attacked by hornets in the middle of a 15k race — ouch!
We begin at 0645 near the Iwo Jima Memorial, which I snap pictures of while a cheerful crewcut leatherneck leads Ken and Co. in stretching. Katie and Jasmine play leapfrog with us, taking turns in last place during the run. I pause to photograph The Awakening, a strangely evocative sculpture emerging from the Earth, and later get a shot of a great blue heron in the Tidal Basin. Ken and I detour to see the WWII Memorial but then sync up with Katie for the final mile, which gives us a chance to chat with her and offer encouraging anecdotes; she's training for her first-ever marathon and seems slightly nervous. Back at the starting point after 110 minutes for 9+ miles we drink, and then at Ken's insistence run down to Memorial Drive and back to add a mile and make the logbook look prettier. Fastest measured split en route was 10:13 between MCM mile markers 18 and 19.
The Annapolis 10-miler is looming, so Christina and I meet at Sligo Dennis Ave. Park before dawn to put more time-on-feet into her logbook. We trot downstream at ~12:30 pace, ecstatic over the mid-60's temperature. At the one hour mark we've reached Sligo Creek North Neighborhood Park, just short of New Hampshire Ave. After drinking from the fountain and sucking down a gel packet Chris does a hopscotch dance on a chalk-drawn diagram that decorates the paved path. Near the old Blair High School track there's a fluorescent-orange BRIDGE CLOSED barrier where a span across the stream has been demolished. Some scalawag has edited it to read BRIDGE IS NOT CLOSED, so we pause there to take photos. Back at the cars we strategize for the coming fortnight, and then I head for the laundromat to wash the past week's worth of family dirty clothes.
(cf. HalfBeast (4 Jan 2006), GoldenTicket (6 Feb 2006), PawingTheEarth (12 Mar 2006), MarchApril2006JogLog (16 Apr 2006), TheAvenue (17 May 2006), DeathlyCold (5 Jun 2006), SpongeBath (29 Jun 2006), RemindMeNeverTo (23 July 2006), ...)