Running Logbook

2019-05-05 - Beach Blanket Superhero

~10.5 mi @ ~15.7 min/mi

beach blanket superheroes"Damp socks yesterday, a sopping wet towel today — what will I discover tomorrow?" Pippi Roadkill is a thing-finder, this morning snagging a soggy old Marvel superhero beach blanket abandoned by the roadside. Lugging it is good weight training! Pink flamingos dance menacingly across a front yard; a bronze garden statue depicts a girl and boy reading. The Ken-Gar parking lot is full, so G-ji parks upstream and runs to the rendezvous. A warm-up walkabout rediscovers a hidden cut-through at Edith Throckmorton Park, where Roadkill slips and almost falls on a wet log. Danger Man, tracking their motion, arrives.

"Flood alert!" The trio tiptoes through puddles as rain rattles on the leafy canopy above. We share race plans, offer healthy diet tips, and commiserate over injuries. Back again at Ken-Gar, Roadkill rejects an offer of OJ — "My new regime allows fruit but not fruit juices!" — and splits a banana.

"This isn't a connector path, it's a waterfall!" Drainage from Howard Avenue makes the climb from Rock Creek Trail slightly treacherous in spots. But all's well that ends well (enough)!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-05-23

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2019-05-04 - Meet Vixen

~9.5 mi @ ~14.4 min/mi

"There's always a cut-through!" says Vixen. "Go ahead and find it — we'll wait!" So Roadkill climbs the fence and creeps behind the French Immersion School. Around the corner, there's the path! "Allons-y!"

It's a humid morning of robins and rabbits, soggy socks and dewy grass. A cloth banner en route to the rendezvous exhorts: "Wage Hope". At Candy Cane City G-ji introduces Vixen. We run past the stables, greet a Galloway training group, then meet up with Danger Man. In the road-closed zone of Rock Creek Park busy construction workers build a new gravel base for Beach Drive. We dodge a peleton of cyclists on Western Ave, where G-ji finds a dime and a nickel, and visit DC Boundary Stones NW9 and NW8. Neighborhood lanes take us back to Leland St where a lovely-curvy wooden sculpture stands not far from a classic lawn-dog-flower-basket ornament. Danger Man reports on his Big Sur International Marathon experience last weekend; Vixen and Roadkill compare notes on Pasadena California. "Très bien!"

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-05-21

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2019-05-03 - Think Better

~9.2 mi @ ~12.5 min/mi

"Manic Monday?" Roadkill reports hearing the Bangles tune on the car radio, and launches into a chaotic explanation of the Metacognitive Mafia's latest plan for world domination. No secret: it's simply a scheme to nudge everybody toward better thinking, and thus make the universe a safer, kinder place. <<insert fiendish cackle>> K2 listens patiently as her mantra is quoted back at her: "What can I myself do, right here and right now, to make this situation better?" (Hmmm ... perhaps sketch a causal flow diagram of feedback loops, time delays, and leverage points?)

"She said this has been the best year of her life!" Such a happy thought — and rather than cynical allusions to "Glory Days" a better musical accompaniment would be "These Are Days" by 10,000 Maniacs, with its lovely-poetic: "And as you feel it, you'll know it's true that you are blessed and lucky." Yes, and ...

"Oooh, gotta give chase!" says Roadkill as Scoot Faster zips by, his slow warmup matching Roadkill's 5k race pace. At 0-dark-5:49am they sprint together for a few steps. Miles later K2 leads Dawn Patrol on a 1:52 lap at Langley High School track, surface slippery with morning dew. Cut-throughs between neighborhoods are muddy.

"It's Freaky Friday!" booms the Cooper Middle School public address system. "Don't ask what the acronym 'WOW' stands for in 'WOW Wednesday' please," suggests someone. Oops!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-05-20

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2019-05-01 - Support Vector

~5.4 mi @ ~11.6 min/mi

"Anaphora? Is that a Grecian urn?" Roadkill emulates a troublesome professor on a final oral exam committee and interrogates E.R. about computational linguistics. "And could you explain a support vector machine — to a 4-year-old?" E.R. does a fine job as we dash 2 fast miles to the coffee shop, then explore the neighborhood as we sip java.

"Eureka! E.R.'s cut-through #1!" Dawn Patrol considers wading across the creek to Bryn Mawr Park before discovering a hidden pathway between Emerson Avenue and the shopping center. After inspecting a little free library and an enigmatic iron sculpture ("rusty turtle?") we take K2's cut-through #1 past McLean High School. "Are those hearts?" - "No, it's a baseball!"

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-05-18

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2019-04-29 - Stippled Sunrise

~4.8 mi @ ~11.4 min/mi

"Hackamore?" K2 explains bitless bits of horse tack in response to Roadkill's equestrian questions about the difference between a halter and a bridle. "And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim", says Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem "Pied Beauty". Dawn Patrol admires stippled "skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow" and gives thanks for dappled things. Four deer stare and then retreat into the brush by Lupine Lane. A new gray blockhouse stands across the street from stately conventional mansions with manicured broad lawns. "Their owners must be driven crazy when they look out their front windows!"

"Almost a hole in one!" E.R. recounts an extraordinary golf event yesterday. Skeptical Bayesians speculate whether he was pranked by a friend, hallucinated, or actually hit an awesome shot that landed within half a club-length of the pin. Odds favor the final hypothesis. We trot by the Stations of the Cross, straighten ornamental birds perched in a tree near a little free library, and finish in time for early-urgent phone calls. After a good run with friends, all's well in this fickle, freckled world!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-05-16

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2019-04-27 - Wind and Sun

~11.7 mi @ ~14.9 min/mi

Wind"I love the smell of paint! Do you feel high yet?" Solvent fumes waft from the industrial park. G-ji and Roadkill divert to inspect artwork and check out a coffee warehouse-outlet where chia seeds are on deep discount sale.
"Tomorrow? I thought the race was today!" We can't run as bandits with friends, and instead circle Rockville on the cherry-blossom-bestrewn Carl Henn Millennium "Trail" aka sidewalks with stripes. Bright sun's warmth alternates with gusty wind's chill, both of which are depicted by arty house decorations. Thomas Farm Community Center is 10 minutes shy of opening when we arrive, so we orbit the neighborhood and take photos at the Mile 0 marker.Su

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-05-15

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2019-04-26 - Potomac Trek

~14 mi @ ~14.4 min/mi

Martin Luther King Jr memorial"We didn't take a wrong turn, we took a different turn!" E.R. offers an optimistic perspective on unanticipated detours. Starting at Potomac Yard the Dawn Patrol follows Four Mile Run to the Mount Vernon Trail and proceeds northwest. Martin Luther King Jr approves of the adventure, as do Presidents Lincoln, FDR, and LBJ, whose memorials we visit.
"Training for Life, and for Lunch!" - the answer to a questioner who wonders why we're out today. A visit to Starbucks in Georgetown adds major GPS glitches to the trackfile distance estimate.Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting PoolAircraft on final approach to National Airport swoop low overhead at Gravelly Point. K-Rex and K2 dash ahead with E.R. as Slow-Twitch and Roadkill pause to inspect vegetation near the Potomac River. Keith Knipling gives a shout-out as he bikes upstream.
"AREA CLOSED"? It doesn't say that on the side of the barrier from which we arrive! Trail talk includes technical issues of epidemiology and linguistics, plus lots of lessons-learned from mistakes. "Don't do what I did!"Georgetown construction barrier

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-05-13

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2019-04-24 - Justice like Tinted Glass

~4.7 mi @ ~13.1 min/mi

"With fingernails that shine like justice / And a voice that is dark like tinted glass!" Roadkill tries to remember the best similes in Cake's song "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" as he and K2 admire vintage-retro dresses in downtown McLean shop windows. We sip iced coffee and discuss Edward Gibbon, Thornton Wilder, and the beautifully structured prose of some authors. Creative energy can work miracles; a child's schoolwork may some day become a keepsake-journal to share memories with future generations.

"Runs on Sunshine!" K2 sees a sign inside Starbucks and requests a Roadkill selfie in front of it. We shake our heads at the coarsening of public discourse and proliferation of foul language in sidewalk conversation. Alizarin crimson clouds glow low in the east.

"Good morning, again!" Scoot Faster greets us for the second time as we finish. A few miles earlier he zoomed past us near McDonalds, and now he's out walking the dog. A huge empty flowerpot beckons from the roadside where it awaits today's trash pickup. Carpe Urna, Roadkill!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-05-11

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2019-04-22 - Backronym

~7.6 mi @ ~12.6 min/mi

"'Posh' does NOT come from a passenger ship acronym 'Port Outward, Starboard Home' as folk-etymology suggests", E.R. notes; he recently read The Man Who Knew Infinity, a biography of mathematician Ramanujan that repeats that incorrect claim. K2, the only one wearing a headlamp, leads Dawn Patrol for the first mile until gloom lifts. We pause at McDonalds for hot coffee on a cool morning. Geese feed on a football field.

"Bats? Whether or not, let's say that they are — it adds drama to the report!" Winged silhouettes dip and flutter overhead. Cars pause politely on off-ramps for us to cross. A pack of other runners gathers at a street corner as we approach.

"Can we take them?" Roadkill wonders. "They're twice our number, but we're twice as tough!" Now that E.R. has signed up for the Columbus Marathon in October, K2 and Roadkill commence greasing the slippery slope and suggest that he run Richmond with us a month later. Why not?

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-05-09

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2019-04-21 - You Are Loved

~20.1 mi @ ~14.2 min/mi

U R ❤️'d"You must love your self. Then things will begin to get better." Slow-Twitch shares words of great wisdom from an online health forum. Weight, blood pressure, cholesterol? Just numbers. Self-care is crucial. So is helping friends, and widening the circle of concern. At mile ~17 a sidewalk stencil reminds: "U R ❤️'d". Easter blessings to all, today and every day!

"Swordfish!" G-ji shares a recipe for a delicious meal as she and Roadkill meet in Ken-Gar and jog upstream along Rock Creek. Multiple mini-packs of cute dogs are out for strolls on leashes. During our return along the Matthew Henson Trail we spy three pencils, a pen, and a pair of chocolate candies on the ground. Roadkill dives and snags them, his only fuel of the day. A mile later we're delighted to meet Slow-Twitch and join forces for bonus miles. Cherry blossoms puddle in the streets. On the solo homeward trek Roadkill pauses to admire the Ernest Park eagle, sakura trees blooming in the background. Bunny count = 1, in a Kensington front yard.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2019-05-08

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