|"Beware the black mud!" warns Jennifer Hotchkiss, as we trot along a soggy horse trail this morning. Or maybe it was Marlee Chavez, Rosario Josefina, or Melina Shifflett? I'm so horrid with names!|
After photographing the race's start and pausing to put phone in plastic bag it's lonely until, at mile ~1, I catch up with four members of "Moms Run This Town". They're running in matching shirts, taking frequent walk breaks on what is the first ultramarathon for some. We chat about families, trails, the Manassas Battlefield Park, hydration, funny-significant personal stories, and a host of other topics. One meets such nice people during an ultra!
|It's the second "Ran It With Janet" 50k — see 2015-06-06 - Ran It with Janet 50k-ish for last year's report. Today is warm and humid, thankfully cloudy.|
At the end of Lap One we're back at the start/finish area, mile ~10. The ladies pause to refuel and change gear. I trek onward and do the second loop solo, with pauses to read historic markers.
|Shoes and socks are saturated and I'm thinking about swapping in backup ones at mile ~20, but as I arrive at the pavilion comrade Ken Swab is ready to head out. So I skip the equipment switch and join him for a final circuit of the park. We finish in just under 7.5 hours.|
|Ken lectures on the Compromise of 1850 and offers highlights from The First Congress, a book by Fergus Bordewich. At the site of "The Rock Fight" (Second Battle of Manassas, 30 Aug 1862) I throw a stone at him, but miss. We detour to inspect artifacts and memorials, pause to photograph flowers and canons, and just enjoy the day.|
Many thanks to Janet Choi and her cheerful, enthusiastic volunteers for a wonderful unicorn-themed event!
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-06-24
"Met with silence!" says Kerry, breaking the fourth wall after a long pause. Somebody (guess who?) has just suggested adding extra mileage on a sultry soon-to-be summer morning. Perhaps not today!
A rising sun glints off Tysons Corner glass. We debate the Nature of the Good and review a summer margarita recipe: lime and pineapple juices, triple sec, tequila infused with jalapeño. High-energy Kristin pulls us up the hills along Lewinsville Road.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-06-22
|"Want me to massage your thighs now? ... oops! You're not Tom!" When the young gentleman turns around I discover my mistake; apologies are accepted with laughter. Before this morning's MCRRC Memorial Day 4 miler friendly rival Tom Young and I banter about tight leg muscles. Important Safety Tip: after a race lots of folks look the same from behind!|
At 0635 a big front-yard rabbit watches me jog by on the way to Barry's home. His neighbor Mary Bowman drives us to the race and kindly offers coffee. Her description of a half-marathon yesterday (at a pace near my PB) and her Boston Marathon last month explains her nickname: "Fast Mary"!
|Big puddles decorate the trail, the boardwalk is slippery, and weather is cool but humid. Mile splits by the GPS = 7:31 + 7:56 + 8:20 + 8:42 with downhill start and corresponding climb to finish. Total time: a hair under 33 minutes, significantly slower than in 2010, 2012, and 2014.|
Please sir, I want some more ... speedwork!
Official results: 119/324 finishers, 92/168 males, 8/20 in the male 60-64 age bracket, gun time 32:59.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-06-19
"Never run up a hill that has a name!" So Barry and I decide to name all the hills in his neighborhood. A pint of egg drop soup plus a veggie spring roll are perhaps suboptimal for lunch, half an hour before setting out on a humid-hot afternoon jog. Headless deer carcass rests on the shoulder of University Blvd. In front of Glen Haven Elementary School we pause at the Scene of the Crime, 14 years ago: my very first-ever road race, the MCRRC "Super Sligo" 4.2 miler held on 2002-03-30 - my, how time flies! At General Getty Neighborhood Park we pose for photos in a toy pirate ship.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-06-17
"Carolee! Is that you?" Surprise encounter: an office T'ai Chi buddy on Rock Creek Trail, totally out-of-context. Turns out she lives not far away; we exchange info in hopes of future training runs together. Barry hangs with me, Gayatri and her friend Sakurako go onward, with Ken and Don and Rebecca farther downstream. I arrive late, park by the road, and intercept the group before it spreads. Barry sets out early from his front door, and is now six miles ahead of me. We take our time on a warm and humid morning, meandering and attacking hills, debating whether it's truly a "repeat" if one does only one of something. "Then how about Zero?"
Barry demonstrates Meb Keflezighi skipping drills. Don joins us and explains "Duff's Device", a loop-unrolling computer programming trick. Two big deer peer at us as we approach. "You take out the one on the left; the one on the right is mine. Attack!".
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-06-15
|"Michael Wardian? I worship you!" The bearded cyclist waiting for the crosswalk light to change admires my shoes, which match his. He admits that Hoka is one of his sponsors, and shyly reveals his identity only when I ask. After he pedals away the next few miles are occupied by my blathering to Drs K&K about what an extraordinary athlete and Nice Guy that he is. (cf. Michael Wardian)|
Orange dawn at 0530 soon turns into humid-hazy-hot Code Orange air. We trot west along Four Mile Run, with detours to inspect stonework and ponds, flowers and fish. "What's that in your pants?" asks Kerry, innocently. Kristin laughs and reveals a bottle of experimental elixir: "Deathwish" coffee blended with protein powder and vitamin B12. A robin hops away, big worm dangling from its beak. At a new trailside playground bike repair tools chained to a post clang like wind chimes when shaken.
|Weenie Beanie is open at mile 0 of the W&OD, but we refrain from indulging. The Bluemont Junction bypass is unlabeled, so the Custis Trail takes us into Rosslyn. A chipmunk scurries ahead, then turns back for home. On Theodore Roosevelt Island a big deer stands close by the trail, then flees as we approach; another one watches us from thick brush. After a pause for selfies in front of TR's statue we cross the Roosevelt Bridge and pass by the Kennedy Center and Saudi Embassy. ("Want to knock and ask for a glass of water?" "Maybe not.") School tour groups crowd around the Lincoln and Korean War Memorials. Martin Luther King Jr's monument is awe-inspiring.|
Diet Pepsi from the Jefferson Memorial refreshment stand at mile 16 helps us cool down. Jets rumble low overhead on final approach to National Airport. At the Potomac Yards finish line Starbucks iced coffee begins the rehydration process.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-06-13
"Competition categories for this race are based on self-identification," I tell a runner who asks me before the start, "and I self-identify as a 90 year old tortoise!" The MITRE McLean fun-run today reverts to the old short course that hooks through Westgate Park, avoiding construction on sidewalks used for the past two years. Gusty winds send pine needles into faces as we duck under low-hanging branches. A few dozen walkers do one lap; the "5k" event has a few dozen more participants. Time ~24 minutes makes the top quartile, mile splits 7:32 + 7:59 + 8:05 by the GPS, distance ~4.9 km, about 30 seconds slower than the 2013-05-15 - MITRE 5k Fun Run.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-06-11
"Just Cambodia!" Dr K2 tells of her daughter's summer plans, to teach and tour almost as far from home as one could imagine. The Dawn Patrol pauses at mile 1 to pet a fat gray cat ambling down Anderson Road. We meander around Pimmit Hills, sharing weekend news, cooking projects, puppy updates, and long-run plans. Peonies and roses blossom in front-yard gardens. Kerry and Kristin notice a new cake shop on Route 7, with macarons on display. Alas, at 0630 the doors are locked.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-06-09
"Freedonia, as in the Marx Brothers?" I ask, glimpsing a sweatshirt on the Capital Crescent Trail early this morning.
"No," the wearer replies, "Fredonia, as in the University!"
A soggy rabbit flees. Don and Rebecca lead the middle 10+ miles at a brisk pace. Conversation covers macarons, red velvet cake, coffee addiction, crossword puzzles, and current politics. We visit a DC Boundary Stone (NW9, dated 1792) and loop through Rock Creek Park. Don's daughter Kenna has just graduated from Georgetown (yay!), and Don's mom is in town; she does a walkabout on the CCT as her son atones for party food yesterday. Rebecca kindly gives me a Hüma brand chia-based energy gel. Other fuel for today's trek includes a mini Heath bar and a pre-run brownie plus cup of coffee.
"... And admit that the waters / Around you have grown / And accept it that soon / You'll be drenched to the bone ..." plays heavy-rotation on the mental 8-track as drizzle continues. Frisky feet random-walk north along Rockville Pike, turning off for a mini-tour of the Stone Ridge girls' school. Then home, via Cedar Lane and Rock Creek Trail. The Mormon Temple hill offers a chance to enhance the GPS elevation profile. Walk breaks ensue.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-06-07
"Permanence, Pervasiveness, and Personalization!" After a couple of miles I recollect the three P's of resilience that Sheryl Sandberg quoted (from Martin Seligman's "learned optimism") in her lovely-wise UC Berkeley commencement speech one week ago. Cold rain drenches Amber and me during our brisk trot along the Mount Vernon Trail. We dance around puddles and give thanks for the gift of running with a friend.
Gray waters of the Potomac are a perfect match for wet asphalt at the Jefferson Memorial; at first glance, the river seems to have flooded our path. Two geese arch their necks in parallel to hunt for bugs in the wet grass. A mallard duck hunkers down. Jets roar overhead every two minutes as they take off from National Airport. Dr A describes The Golem and the Jinni, a novel by Helene Wecker; I summarize Roads to Infinity, a math book by John Stillwell that I'm trying to read.
GPS mile splits: 8:28 + 8:17 + 8:33 + 8:51 + 9:10 + 8:53 + 8:50 + 8:56 + 8:41.
(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-06-05