"We only run when NOBODY is looking!" Dr Stephanie and I follow the Heisenberg Quantum Training Plan today, emphasizing walking as we ramp up mileage and toughen feet for upcoming ultramarathons. During the first 1.3 miles we observe 13 (thirteen!) bunny rabbits but not Schrödinger's Cat. At Randolph Road our wavefunctions collapse into a Dunkin Donuts where iced coffee adds momentum and energy at the cost of time waiting in line. Weather is lovely-cool and low-humidity. Social Distortion's 1990 punk-rock song "Story of My Life" plays out loud, with its perfect chorus:
| Life goes by so fast|
You only wanna do what you think is right
Close your eyes and it's past
Story of my life ...
Conversation is delightful and diverse, including an opening-hands gesture to symbolize "Let It GO!", the R Programming Language, a forehead-tattoo that reads "Poor Impulse Control", a friend's Audacity Lab, recommended readings in modern Scandinavian literature, factors to facilitate hypothesis generation, the film "Blades of Glory", mantras sacred and profane, and the metaphor of a rate-limiting process. We circle Lake Needwood, greet friends as they zip by ("We must WALK while you're watching!"), pause for selfies, spy a bicycle submerged in Rock Creek, and quietly share stories as only runner friends can. Stephanie's right Achilles tendon twinges for the final five miles, perhaps warning that a sudden increase in distance has risks even for an experienced 100 miler veteran.
Today's yet another perfect day ... it goes by so fast, and we only want to do what we think is right ...
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-07-25
"Bunny Eyes!" Kristin puts the team on High Coney Alert as we enter Tysons Pimmit Park. We're at mile 4 and have already spotted 16 rabbits plus 2 likely-but-unconfirmed glimpses. Amazing!
It's a day of miracles and wonder, in a world charged with the grandeur of God. We share joy for the blessings of friendship and health and nature and life and love. Child-of-morning Dawn is beauty incarnate, pastel pink clouds splashed across a baby-blue sky. Kerry is back after exhausting travel and reports that her kids tucked her in and kissed her good night. Kristin's son just celebrated a birthday, happy in no small part due to her unseen preparation between midnight and 3am. In his words: "Mom, today is the best day EVER!" It surely is.
We take the natural-surface trail along Pimmit Run with stops for photos at freeway underpass graffiti, hesitation to find our way at water crossings, and nervousness about potential poison ivy and ticks. On Route 7 we pause at Peet's where kind Kerry insists on getting iced coffee for everyone. Passing the local library, still sipping, we're greeted by a morning exercise group doing push-ups in the parking lot. "Where are OUR drinks?" one asks, and smiles.
It's a "bumper bunny day", final total count =21. Thank you!
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-07-23
|"... and then my real nightmares began!" Today's therapy-trek involves much mindful listening by one of us, as the other (guess who? yep, c'est moi) recounts traumatic events of the past weekend. But by the time we find Kerry's Cut-Through #3 and emerge from the woods all's right with the world again. That's the magic of the miles!|
A fox crosses the road as pink dawn begins. New homes under construction look lovely but seem poised dangerously close to flood-prone streams. Kristin has early meetings and can't join us and text-messages encouragement in absentia as we run for her. A bronze front-yard statue of beautiful mermaids is rather easy on the eyes. No stumbles happen on the natural-surface trail through the woods, despite mud and roots and rocks and hills and a stepping-stone passage over Turkey Run. On behalf of The Team, kind Kerry catches early morning cobwebs in the face. She spies a huge redheaded woodpecker as it flits across the street.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-07-21
Two tiny rabbits are dancing in the middle of Knowles Avenue as I drive to this morning's run. They leap into the air together, scamper around one another, and pause. I stop, creep forward, back up. Bunnies stare, then dash out of the street and across a yard to hide in the bushes.
"You're not in Taper - you're in Denial!" Rebecca and I scold Barry, who confesses that his hip is complaining in language not fit for mixed company. The Missoula Marathon is two weeks away, and he missed the deadline to drop back to the half-marathon. We commiserate and trot upstream along Rock Creek, then turn onto the Matthew Henson Trail. ("Hip hates hills? Happy Henson!" Rebecca alliterates.) Traffic on Veirs Mill Road stops politely for us at crosswalks. "Maybe they don't want to run us down on a Sunday?"
Back at the parking lot Rebecca and I demand that Barry end the madness — at least, while we're in line-of-sight. We send him home with movie recommendations for the afternoon, then do an out-and-back south, picking up the pace to ~10 min/mi and coaching ourselves "Up! Up!" on the climbs. Kind MCRRC training group organizer Brian Murphy awards us each a banana when we finish.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-07-19
|Front yard Coney Count = 14 on a humid trek around the local extended 'hood. At dawn a pair of deer, one with stubby velvet horns still developing, munch grass by Beach Drive. Amy and I discover bright new totem-pole artwork in front of the Strathmore music center on our way to meet Stephanie. Then it's her turn to lead us along the Bethesda Trolley Trail. Packs of runners (MCRRC training groups) salute us as they head north. Conversation is delightful -- we share family news and summer plans, frustrations and sympathies, tattoo tips and long-term aspirations. Amy gently twists my arm to join her in the Richmond Marathon in November. Hmmmm ... good prep for "The Scottish Race" in December?!|
|Back at home base Amy heads for the gym with 7+ miles logged, a perfect start to her ramp-up. Stephanie and I trot upstream along Rock Creek to KenGar and greet friends (Hi, Gayatri, Barry, Keith, Gerald, Mike, Sharlene, Bob, and more!) as pace groups return along the trail. Streets of Garrett Park are lined with nice-looking lawn chairs, a drum set, tiki lamps, a trampoline. "One person's trash is another's treasure!" Stephanie closes her loop with 10+ miles. We give thanks for the day and vow to run together more often.|
|Refill bottle from a garden shop hose: Eau de Kensington 2016, a rubbery vintage with notes of copper and a chlorine nose. Half a block later, suddenly realize that something's missing. Backtrack to pick up the phone! Final leg of the journey includes more walking along side streets, past yard sales and the neighborhood swimming pool.|
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-07-17
"Perfect day for rambling!" the fellow walking his big dog tells us. Kristin wears her singlet inside-out. Maybe that makes for low temps and comfy humidity? Last night's Unicorn Oracle Card advises, "Try Something New!" So we trot toward the sunrise and climb long steep hills in the Franklin Forest community. Two big fawns still covered with spots stare, then bound away in search of mommy. Two rabbits munch grass. "A day of duos!"
A small Statue of Liberty holds high her torch by a driveway. Across the street a man in a garish night robe greets us as he fetches in the newspaper. At the corner of John Marshall Dr and Williamsburg Blvd we pause to debate the route. "Left or right?" Kerry wonders.
"No idea!" is the reply. And no matter! At East Falls Church Metro we climb stairs past commuters to the W&OD Trail and return via a leaky water fountain. On Great Falls St a lady asks if we've seen her little white dog. "Ozzie! Come here, Ozzie!" Total bunny count = 4.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-07-16
"Like an aurora: a curtain of light!" Sunbeams on a side street ripple between tree branches and scatter from morning fog. Kristin points; we pause to admire. Puddles linger from yesterday's storms, and breezes trigger sudden showers from leaves overhead accompanied by a perfect simulation of the sounds of rain. Two bunnies nibble an already-trimmed lawn. Later we spy a third, plus a big deer that retreats behind a house. "It's looking for dessert!"
Statues of mermaids and cattle decorate front yards. Multiple mansions, mini- and mega-, sit in varied stages of construction. Kerry discovers a covert cut-through gravel path between Mackall Avenue and Heather Brook Court. We emerge onto the Ridge Drive loop. "Let's take the long way home!" Kristin brushes a hand against a soggy hedge and uses the water to cool her brow.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-07-14
"Head, Heart, Hands, Health!" The 4-H Club's national conference center's green lawn demands a detour to inspect the grounds. Sharp-dressed young people politely glance past a sweaty runner as they head from dorms toward Sunday breakfast. On hilly Leland Street four brave bunnies nibble clover. A skittish chipmunk dashes under a parked car to escape. "Vermin Supreme for President 2016" says a sticker on a Bradley Lane traffic sign. Exfair Road, a short street with an ugly-sounding portmanteau name halfway between Exeter and Fairfax, features an awesomely beautiful glass-fronted home.
Rebecca beeps and waves as she drives past to park. Barry and Ken soon arrive and we ramble down the Capital Crescent Trail, chatting and dodging bicycle traffic. Pace slows (first four miles solo were a brisk 9:49 + 9:43 + 9:09 + 9:40). It's a cheerful crisp day!
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-07-13
"Klondike Bars!" Ken offers to share his "Original" variety; I wolf down a Peanut Butter Cup one solo. (Thanks to Robin Z for the impromptu aid station!) We find ourselves in the midst of the MCRRC "Run for Roses" 5k and cheer the runners as they race by. Dr Betty Smith pauses to give Rebecca a hug. Race Director Christina Caravoulias offers us snacks, and course marshall Don Libes makes us pose for photos.
The morning begins at Barry's home, where he and I set off at 0630 for early mileage up Sligo Creek Trail with detours onto nearby pathways. We meet Ken and Rebecca at the Sligo-Dennis Avenue Recreation Center. Downy goslings and their long-necked parents waddle away as we approach Wheaton Regional Park. The weather is awesome cool and comfy. Downstream again K&R turn back when we reach the Beltway; Barry & I continue to the track at Silver Spring International Middle School, where one lap (1:47) is more than enough. The return trip includes stretches and step-ups on park benches.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-07-11
"We choose Freedom!" Kristin and I follow aptly-named Freedom Lane and enjoy long hills and front yard flowers in bloom. A squirrel skitters across the hood of a parked Cadillac. After last night's thunderstorms the dawn is cloudy-cool with light breezes.
Our ramble takes us via the W&OD Trail past East Falls Church, through Benjamin Bannaker Park and then Tuckahoe Park where construction has apparently shut down the water fountain. We remember coming here from the opposite direction nine months ago (cf. 2015-09-14 - Buongiorno Kerry) and resolve to visit again. Kristin pauses to pet puppies, who return the love with enthusiasm.
Three rabbits and two big deer salute us. A huge fallen tree by the sidewalk displays nailed-on wooden decorations. Lawn signs recommend "SAY NO TO SUNRISE" (opposing a new nursing home project) and "SUPPORT THE GIRLS". That last advocates for a charity that collects bras and feminine products to help the homeless. Nice!
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-07-09