|"Sahara Desert dust!" explains a helpful fellow passenger during the hazy final approach into Austin Texas a few evenings ago. At dawn a crescent moon peeks between clouds. Temps in the mid-70s feel warmer at 90% relative humidity. Selfie pauses keep the pace comfortable.|
Bees buzz under blooming bird-of paradise bushes that hang low over the sidewalk. A sign in front of Paco's Tacos asks whether soy milk is really regular milk introducing itself in Spanish. The Texas Rangers park their motorboat in front of a mobile crime lab. A car labeled "Zombie Transport - Level 6 Threat" is up the street from Zein's School of Bellydance and south of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows lodge. By the highway a cross bedecked with flowers and pinwheels commemorates Francis Minter, who passed away a couple of years ago.
Friend Sarah on a long trip with her daughter texts greetings from 1400 miles northwest. All roads are one!
(trackfile) - ^z - 2015-07-29
"Increment the rabbit count!" Nathan shouts back to Beth and me. He and Kristin trot ahead as we loop around neighborhood streets on a warm, humid morning. Nathan shows us a natural-surface path around the north side of McLean High School. A lady in an eye-catching pink running skirt with ruffles dashes across our path within the first mile. A car honks as it pauses for a dog-walker to cross Chain Bridge Road; the pedestrian curses back. "Maybe he was just saying 'Hi!'?" I tell the angry man. Beth starts with us at 7am. She and I compare notes on common running acquaintances, and laugh together at how serious some race training groups are. Not our style! Bunny total = 3.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2015-07-27
"You had nothing left to live for!" I hypothesize, when Nathan Welch tells of his weight loss during a 3-month experiment with going vegan and giving up alcohol and caffeine. Nathan meets all the requirements for joining the Dawn Patrol: he shows up. Kerry, Kristin, and I entertain him with stories of our recent runs and associated injuries. Humidity is off the charts and we're all soon dripping with sweat. On Great Falls St a new-looking iPhone lies apparently crushed by traffic. But Nathan powers it up and manages to contact the owner, who is thrilled at the news it has been found. I manage not to fall while peering at the Bikram yoga window facing the W&OD Trail at Route 7. Front yard rabbit count = 1.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2015-07-25
"They worship money!" Mary explains, when I express puzzlement at the lack of Sunday-go-to-Church traffic on the mansion-lined neighborhood streets. We meet at Michael Faraday Dr and begin our trek along the Lake Fairfax Trail, but find it rather muddy. A scrawny doe eyes us and runs away at an old golf course near Hunter Mill Rd. Our return via the W&OD horse trail and bikepath is uneventful. Recovery brunch at Taco Bell — yay!
(trackfile) - ^z - 2015-07-23
"We have to enclose some area!" is my only request for the route around Cara Marie's neighborhood. So we walk and jog, divert past a tiny cemetery, and catch up on gossip. The evening is cool as clouds move in from the south. CM is doing well.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2015-07-23
|Fog hangs low over the Potomac as Kerry, Kristin, Willie, and I set off down the Capital Crescent Trail from Fletchers Boathouse. On the odd Friday Federal 3 July holiday the Park Police fail to close Rock Creek to traffic until 8:30am, so we stick to the shoulder and leap aside as cars zoom past. Willie (age 17) is energetic and runs ahead, does push-ups and chin-ups, and finishes 20 minutes before the rest of us.|
We experiment with nutrition and hydration, wade through puddles, and walk much of the final miles. Trail talk includes tattoos, chafing, and less-mentionable topics. I reminisce about past runs on this route, including donuts found on the ground in Bethesda — yummy!
(trackfile) - ^z - 2015-07-21
"... if I ever want a 20 mile warm-up before I do a 10k!", says Beth Masimore. It's her criterion for running a marathon. "Hmmmm — we'll see about that!" I think. We loop around the Pimmit Hills 'hood, enjoying the sunrise, comparing notes on local running clubs, and critiquing the architecture of mini-mansions and more modest houses. Early morning thunderstorms have left the streets wet and some parts of the region without electricity. Sharon sees us start and Kristin spies us as we finish. Witnesses: yay!
(trackfile) - ^z - 2015-07-19
A doe and fawn munch grass by the W&OD Trail as cyclists zoom past. Mary Ewell and I do an out-and-back to the church near the Carolina Brothers BBQ place, with great conversation all along the way. Hip adductor twinges tolerably.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2015-07-19
A Texas-sized summer solstice sun begins to peek through low clouds during the 8th 800 meter interval. Shoes are still soggy-stinky from Friday's thunderstorm run, in spite of sitting outside for a day and a half. Nothing dries well at 90+ percent humidity. Best throw them away before tomorrow's flight back from Austin to DC, lest they arouse the ire of TSA inspectors!
A raccoon lumbers across Susquehanna St at 6:10am and two cats play in the grass in front of Winn Elementary School. Spiral ramps lead to the pedestrian overpass across US Hwy 183. Duck through a hole in the fence near the corner of Tumbleweed and Purple Sage to reach the LBJ High School track. Commence running pairs of laps with a half-lap recovery walk between each repeat.
Resist the temptation to stop prematurely as hip adductors, psoas, and less-mentionable ligaments in the groin begin to twinge during the fifth interval. Is the achiness due to too much stretching, or too little? Too many core-strengthening planks, or too few? Whatever! Stick to Lane 2 just to make life a wee bit harder. Ponder the analogy, "Speedwork is to Racing as ...?" (cf. RunningVersusTraining for one answer — remember a racier metaphor for "Mathematics is to Physics as ..." often attributed to Richard Feynman)
Finish with a burst of energy, and take pulse to find it in the near-180 zone. Wave at the pair of local residents smoking on their front porch while watching the crazy codger. Limp home with lots of walk breaks, pausing to pick up a corroded cent on the street. Transcribe timing data for pairs of laps from the stopwatch: 3:56 + 3:59 + 4:00 + 3:56 + 3:59 + 3:58 + 3:58 + 4:01 + 3:56 + 3:54 — whee! And the dizziness (BPPV) that develops that night? Perhaps from dehydration?
(trackfile) - ^z - 2015-07-17
Soggy Selfie! — intermittent drizzle suddenly shifts to wanton deluge and thunder rumbles at the Texas State Capitol. Groundskeepers take refuge, leaving lawnmower engines running. On East 12th near Perez St a free-range front yard rooster and three hens scurry into the bushes to avoid being photographed. Cacti and sunflowers encroach on the sidewalk. Jets on final approach to Austin airport peek through low clouds. In the University of Texas physics library I leave a puddle on the marble floor as a kind student fills my water bottle from the coffee shop sink. I break my vow against Old Codgerdom and tell her "I attended UT in 1971!" <sigh>
(trackfile) - ^z - 2015-07-15