Running Logbook

2019-06-29 - MCRRC Little Bennett 10k XC

~6.4 mi @ ~10.1 min/mi

"Maybe you should hope they switched babies at the hospital?" Roadkill jokes with Sam Young, son of former-rival Tom Young. We visit pre-race, then exchange fist-bump greetings during out-and-back segments; the Youngs finish far ahead. Today's MCRRC "Little Bennett 10k" cross-country scamper goes well: not too many people fall down, the trails are lovely, and aid station ice water counters heat and high humidity. "Where's the Black and Tan?" - "Did you forget to bring the bottle opener again?" Course marshals and runners exchange banter.

"We Got the Beat!" by the Go-Go's plays on the oldies radio station en route to the race and in Roadkill's head throughout, with the mantra "Happiness Is". Post-race Don Libes introduces his NIST colleague, physicist Heather Chen-Mayer.

Result: 80th of 128 finishers, behind 64 men and 15 women, 3rd of 4 in the age/gender group, total time ~1:04 - faster than in 2017, but this year's course is easier, with more gravel road no stream crossings. Second-place in the 65-69 year male cohort is 8 seconds ahead. More hillwork needed, and more weght loss - STAT!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-07-18

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2019-06-28 - Paraprosdokian

~5.5 mi @ ~12.6 min/mi

"I was born ready — but that was a long time ago!" K2 quotes Roadkill, who disavows the saying. Dawn Patrol discusses paraprosdokians, surprising sentence-twists like those of Henny Youngman ("Take my wife — please!"), Aristotle ("On his feet, he wore — blisters."), and Will Rogers ("I don't belong to an organized political party — I'm a Democrat."). Keymaster recommends one-liners in the style of Mitch Hedberg ("I haven't slept for ten days — because that would be too long."). We speculate that Category Theory underpins all humor. Then again, Category Theory underpins everything, so why not?

"Pride Month!" celebrates the rock in front of McLean High School, where baseball fields bring back memories for K2 of her daughter's softball practices there — and the web of connections among the girls on the team, who now have gone their disparate ways to college and still keep in touch. Sweet!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-07-17

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2019-06-26 - Nottoway Park

~6.7 mi @ ~11.2 min/mi

"I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too!" Keymaster quotes stand-up comic Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005), in the context of linguistic nuance, implication, and surprise.

"I used to run!" replies Roadkill, past-imperfect-tensely. Today's Dawn Patrol duo finds new cut-throughs and begins a survey of paths in and around Nottoway Park in Vienna VA, with meanders past shadows ("Is that an entrance to Plato's Cave?"), down dead-end streets, and beside community gardens. Hanging rings encourage feats of strength; we refrain from trying the climbing wall, since the sign says "ADULTS ONLY".

Neighborhood streets lead to wall art on the backside of Taco Bamba and eventually the W&OD Trail, where Keymaster dodges an oncoming train (mural). We detour to inspect the Caboose Brewing Company facility and close our loop via American Legion Post 180 where the rising sun glints off a decorative (or is it live?) surface-to-air missile. (cf prior Dawn Patrol visit 2018-06-01 - Steamy Week) Two big deer nibble as we pass by.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-07-15

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2019-06-24 - Bayesian vs Frequentist

~5.3 mi @ ~12.8 min/mi

"No Free Lunch theorem" - "Pigeonhole principle" - "Shattered sets" - "Curry's paradoxical combinator" - The jargon is strong this morning, as Keymaster attempts to explain theoretical foundations of machine learning to Roadkill, who tries to map mind-altering new concepts to old. K2 simply smiles, an appropriate Zen commentary on the entire enterprise!

"That looks just like my grandmother's home - but many times larger!" Dawn Patrol explores the lovely-quiet neighborhood cuddled between Scotts Run Nature Preserve, the Capital Beltway, and the Potomac River, where sprawling mansions take dominion over slovenly wilderness. A new eagle statue spreads its wings above a courtyard.

"Eat our Bubbles!" reads graffiti on the local swim club driveway, beginning trash talk to visiting teams before they even get out of their cars. A rabbit freezes, then dashes away; a deer strides through the brush.

"Bad luck is followed by good!" K2 reports that her kids observe Regression Toward the Mean in their travel misadventures and recoveries therefrom. Roadkill explains why a Bayesian in trouble would pick a random person to beg help of, rather than accept aid from a self-selected Samaritan. Keymaster spies a fox, or thinks he does. When multiple cats are then seen in a nearby yard he concedes that some probabilities need adjustment. "So with what confidence level are you a Frequentist?" Hmmmm ...

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-07-14

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2019-06-23 - Time Travelers

~11.2 mi @ ~14.9 min/mi

Union Hardware Van Gogh Starry Night"The bartender says, 'We don't serve time travelers!'" Ken begins telling a joke. We converge in downtown Bethesda and head first to Union Hardware, where Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night" is recreated on a wall via 1,250 doorknobs and handles. Then the Trolley Trail takes us north by northwest past NIH. G-ji and K2 discuss the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. Danger Man tapers for next weekend's Missoula Marathon and the highly competitive Beer Run that precedes it. Ken tells of "La Soupe aux Choux", a comic French film (1981) that inspired costumes he and R2 witnessed at the 2013 Marathon du Medoc.
"Peace, Love, and Happiness!" suggest the rocks that a garden gnome carries atop his head. Front yards feature cone flowers and other brilliant blossoms, a curvy avenue of pinwheels, statues of pigs and dinosaurs, a live woodchuck, and two speedy bunnies. Ken finishes the joke: "A time traveler walks into a bar."Lawn gnome peace love happ

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-07-12

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2019-06-22 - Hayaku

~14.0 mi @ ~15.0 min/mi

front yard rose"Hayaku!" says Sakurako. It means "Faster!" in Japanese. Cyclists politely warn as they zoom by along the Capital Crescent Trail. In the Dalecarlia Tunnel the mini-shrine continues to prosper. R-Squared leads today's trot, and tells K2 about the Marathon du Medoc in France (oysters, cheese, wine, etc. every km - tempting!) and the Polar Bear winter indoor marathon in Ohio (211 laps - maybe not!).

"I'll be there in 45 minutes - if there aren't too many flowers along the way!" Roadkill promises. There are lots of blossoms, and 3 fast rabbits on Leland Street. He nevertheless arrives in time to snag iced coffee to share.

"May Peace Prevail on Earth" wishes a front-yard pole, in Amharic, English, Hebrew, and Spanish. Danger Man begins his taper for next weekend's marathon in Missoula Montana.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-07-11

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2019-06-21 - Maternal Search

~5.3 mi @ ~14.4 min/mi

"Are you my Mother?" asks the coltish young deer, all alone as she follows Dawn Patrol from a safe distance on the hillside.

"No! And watch out when you cross the street!" K-Rex tells her, maternally. We approve the recent repavement job in Langley Forest, explore a bit of the path at the end of Whann Avenue, turn back, and meet a US Geological Service woman hiking in to check flood gauges and other sensors along Dead Run.

"Bloom!" declares a pompadour-pink sign. Is it a Joycean allusion to the protagonist of Ulysses? Or a command to passers-by, demanding that they flourish? Earlier this morning a gray fox with white-tipped tail crosses the street. K2 recounts how it was seen once with a rabbit in its jaws, wide-eyed and wondering what to do next.

"People open up to you about their fears and feelings — is that your new(est) Superpower?" We discuss how to help an organization that has room for improvement in performance and morale. Everybody's kids are fine; ice cream is in our future; the world is all right. Now, to invent that Time Machine and go back to repair the past!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-07-10

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2019-06-19 - Five Stacks

~8.6 mi @ ~12.8 min/mi

"We must Marie Kondo our minds!" KeyMaster suggests that decluttering isn't just for worldly possessions. Dawn Patrol inspects suburban sculpture, Metrorail track switches, and a bamboo-grove panda family along Great Falls Street. Grass is dewy, humidity high, running garb soon sweat-soaked. Dark-roast cold-brew iced coffee at Starbucks is a blessing. (A contrarian opts for hot blonde joe.) In a front-yard garden a grazing deer pauses to watch us pass by.

"Five stacks: For Others to Love + Seen Better Days + Lifelong Memories + First Bachelor Pad + Needed Next Week", lists K2, sketching her sorting system for stuff. Could that help organize a healthy brain too?

  • Share
  • Forget
  • Cherish
  • Eventually
  • ASAP


(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-07-08

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2019-06-16 - Self-Discovery, Skills of Mind, Generosity of Heart

~12.2 mi @ ~12.6 min/mi

"Self-Discovery, Skills of Mind, Generosity of Heart," reads the bumper sticker on a car at mile 9 — mission statement of the Field School in DC, and not a bad motto for Dawn Patrol either! K2 leads the way from Fletchers Cove Boathouse downstream. Alleys of Georgetown provide a cobblestone surveillance detection route to iced coffee at Starbucks.

"We saw a Great Blue Heron yesterday," says Roadkill, a quarter mile into today's run."And there's one now!" replies K2, pointing at the big bird standing in the waters of the C&O Canal. And then, a quarter mile later, "There's another!" and a quarter mile after that, "Look, another!" Time to pause for photos and appreciation. A few steps later, "Deer ahead!"

"Nice rack!" Roadkill comments, then apologizes, as we admire velvet-covered antlers that the stags are growing. The pace of nature discovery slows after the first mile; we spy one doe and one more heron.
"Grow their Circle of Concern?" We brainstorm ways to encourage better medical testing among young people. Maybe instead of peer-pressure or self-protection, remind them that they can help their friends and family be healthier? Likewise pattern inversion can suggest ideas for corporations to apply data-analytics to help employees, and vice versa. And maybe category theory can generate new jokes and meta-humor? "If a light sleeper sleeps with a light on ...".

"Less first-person singular?" After all, in a note from oneself the words "I think" or "In my opinion" are often a bit redundant. First-person plural is better, and maybe even that can be minimized? Hard not to have a viewpoint, though! Monuments stand dense on the mall — Lincoln, Korean War, Washington, DC War Memorial, Jefferson. A happy horse nibbles hay in a Park Police van."Fat & Greasy Citizens Brigade" reads the sign on a Georgetown churchyard fence. Roadkill is ready to sign up! Later research reveals that it's a DC theater company and a Shakespearean allusion. "Maybe after I lose another 19 pounds?" We wish Happy Fathers Day to dads running with baby carriages along the Mount Vernon Trail.

"Both elegant and genuine!" Qualities to strive for, and lovely feedback to receive. It's so hard to see ourselves as others see us, and to accept kind comments. We discuss the value of complementary skills in a group; Roadkill remembers an old science fiction story ("Pandora's Planet" by Christopher Anvil) where both an alien civilization and humanity discover that they each need the other. Young runners dash past.
In the final cooldown mile: two of the first Great Blue Herons that we saw two hours ago, still fishing in the canal waters. And on the way home, by chance Roadkill drives past the Field School on Foxhall Road NW.

"Self-Discovery, Skills of Mind, Generosity of Heart"
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool Washington Monument

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-07-07

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2019-06-15 - Dragon Ball

~13.9 mi @ ~14.1 min/mi

"Uh, $10?" Trash transmutes into treasure at a yard sale when somebody asks for a price. Roadkill trots northwest, pausing for pics of Kensington lawn art and greeting 1 deer and 2 bunnies en route. R2, Danger Man, and Sakurako converge at Ken-Gar and head upstream. A pack of cyclists politely zoom by; they pause to catch breath at the top of The Silencer, a long steep climb. "Will you sell me that bike?" asks Roadkill. "Anything is negotiable!" replies the owner.Kensington lawn art Dragon Ball
Sakurako and Barry and z on Rock Creek Trail mile 10 mosaic"Great Blue Heron!" A majestic bird launches into flight over Rock Creek, startling Sakurako. At the decorative plaza we pause for a photo with heads askew to confuse face-recognition AI. "CWRU stands for Case Western Reserve University," explain a fast pair of cross-country racers as they pass. Back at Ken-Gar the ladies sensibly declare victory and the boys add a couple of bonus miles including hill work. Roadkill exercises his self-control by stopping with a GPS display of 13.99 miles.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-07-05

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