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2017-10-21 - Baltimore Marathon

26.2 miles @ ~11 min/mi

Baltimore Zoo raven at mile 4Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

As 2500 runners gather for the Baltimore Marathon, little do most of us know that within the first mile we'll pass within a block of Edgar Allan Poe's grave site. While we await the starting signal we're virtually all oblivious to the fact that we're standing within two blocks of Babe Ruth's birthplace. Small world!

The race today is Part One of an experiment in running two marathons on two days in a row. Marathon Maniacs' Maryland Ambassador and comrade Barry Smith lures me into this event several months ago — and then chooses the 5k for himself. Smart man!

And It's All Good! Early on Saturday morning Barry kindly drives me to the race. We pause for photos with other Marathon Maniacs, then go our varied ways.

As we stand near Oriole Park at Camden Yards pre-race a familiar voice calls out: it's Phil Hesser, ultrarunner-buddy. Others introduce themselves and chat. Then suddenly, we're off! Unlike in mega-marathons within two minutes we're across the starting line.

The course climbs northwest from near the harbor to Druid Hill Park where it enters the Baltimore Zoo. A volunteer ornithologist holds a raven perched on his fist — selfie time! Likewise near the exit from the zoo, when another volunteer displays a kookaburra.

After a meander in the highlands it's a long downhill again, back to the Inner Harbor area. We reach the turnaround at Under Armour's waterfront headquarters-campus, close to Ft McHenry of "Star Spangled Banner" fame. Then back around the harbor, across tricky-footing on a cobblestone traffic circle, and — déjà vu — memories arise from 2014-10-18 - Downtown Baltimore Ramble when by chance I was jogging through the marathon three years ago here. Small world, again!

Baltimore Zoo raven at mile 4
Baltimore Marathon medalClimb northwards again, circle Lake Montebello at miles 20-22. Give Succeed! electrolyte capsules to a couple of ladies who are cramping up. Then push the pace on the final glide-slope to the finish.

Cross the line in 4:47:42 net time, for an overall average pace of 10:58 min/mi. Official place 1219 of 2500, 773rd male of 1488, 5th of 29 in the 65-69 male age bracket. Splits from the timing mats:
    -   6.0 miles - 01:06:48 - 11:08 min/mi
    - 10.0 miles - 01:51:59 - 11:11 min/mi
    - 12.5 miles - 02:17:21 - 10:59 min/mi
    - 18.8 miles - 03:25:54 - 10:57 min/mi
    - 21.3 miles - 03:54:34 - 11:00 min/mi

Splits from the watch: 10:56 + 11:48 + 11:19 + 12:17 + 20:21 (two) + 10:48 + 10:29 + 21:10 (two) + 11:46 + 10:51 + 11:26 + 10:27 + 10:59 + 10:36 + 21:54 (two) + 12:36 + 10:54 + 23:30 (two) + 11:46 + 9:15 (?!) + 11:36 + 11:00.

Then find my way to the bus station and ride Peter Pan home. For some reason I have a row of seats all to myself. Hmmmm ...

Tomorrow: the Marine Corps Marathon!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-11-19

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2017-10-19 - Croissant Moon

~5.6 miles @ ~11.8 min/mi

"Croissant Moon!" observes Kristin as the Dawn Patrol stretches post-run. The thready 2%-illuminated arc fades into the sunrise low in the east, just below sparkly Venus. "Where's the nearest bakery?" asks Cait. Warm pastries would be welcome after a brisk run in chilly weather! We survey early Halloween decorations in Pimmit Hills and share some Bad Family Nicknames. Kids do sometimes say the dearest-darnedest things!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-11-15

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2017-10-15 - Rock Creek Trot

~12.5 mi @ ~13.4 min/mi

"Philatelists want to stamp out numismatists, to coin a phrase", puns Ken. He and Emaad trot ahead of Barry and Gayatri along Rock Creek Trail. The morning is cool and hyper-humid. Banter includes Big Pharma and the opioid crisis in small-town America ("Why do you think he was called 'Opie' on the 'Andy Griffith Show'?"), injuries ("On a pain scale of 0 to 10, how's your foot?"), and upcoming birthdays and races. We cheer running groups as they pass. Caitlin spots us and texts as she and her husband drive by. Hill repeats are therapeutic on the KenGar neighborhood side trail.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-11-13

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2017-10-13 - Weenie Beenie and Mount Vernon

~20.9 miles @ ~12.7 min/mi

"That's 0-for-Friendly!" observes Kristin, after the first four cyclists swoop by without returning our "Good morning!" greetings. At 0538 the dynamic Dawn Patrol duo meets at Potomac Yard Center and begins with a brisk trek upstream along Four Mile Run. At Mile Zero of the W&OD Trail we visit the one and only original "Weenie Beenie" and pause to study the menu. Not much vegetarian fare!

Backtrack, and at ~0700 join Eileen. As the sky brightens, proceed down the Mount Vernon Trail to mile marker 6. Gulls and herons decorate the Potomac River; skeletons climb up the outside of a townhouse in Alexandria. Back at Four Mile Run, Eileen heads north to log additional miles. Brava!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-11-11

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2017-10-11 - Ballet Fatigue

~6.6 miles @ ~12.7 min/mi

"I'm all Nutcrackered out!" says Molly, having seen far too many children's recital performances of the Tchaikovsky ballet. The Dawn Patrol rambles past McLean High School, does a segment on the track, and continues via cut-throughs into nearby neighborhoods. Intermittent drizzle slowly ramps up toward light rain. Kristin recaps Sunday's Army 10 Miler and sketches out plans for a potential long run on Friday. As we pass our starting point at mile 3.8 Molly peels off. Kids await school buses in the gloom. We greet dogs guarding their homes and admire tropical plants in front yards.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-11-10

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2017-10-09 - Monday Dawn Patrol

~4 miles @ ~12.8 min/mi

"Like Oz!" Kerry describes magical-wonderful sights at a weekend equestrian event near Asheville NC that she attended — followed by a wild night drive up a winding mountain road, a flat tire, a foggy return trip in a big pickup truck, and even more adventures. And it all ends well! Ditto Kristin's tough Army 10 Miler yesterday, where despite heat and humidity and dense crowds the run is fun and fast. Brava! And this morning, gloomy drizzle turns into solid rain as the Dawn Patrol meanders through Pimmit Hills, sharing and enjoying. And it all ends well!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-11-08

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2017-10-08 - Home Run

~12 miles @ ~12.2 min/mi

"... aimed directly at a picture of Max Scherzer that stands more than 500 feet away on the right field concourse!" Ken quotes Thomas Boswell's description of a titanic home run at last night's baseball game, then goes on to recount the pitch-by-pitch story of the 8th inning that he witnessed. Barry and Rebecca trot alongside. The remnants of Hurricane Nate make for a hyper-humid warm morning with intermittent light showers. Following the Capital Crescent Trail we ramble to the DC line, then turn back.

"Look!" Barry spies a huge red-brown fox crossing the CCT; we pause to admire it as it lurks near Little Falls Branch. Earlier on the way to Bethesda a friendly 1.5-foot-long eastern garter snake slithers across Rock Creek Trail toward a swamp. Further downstream half a dozen deer saunter in the opposite direction seeking a suburban garden buffet.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-11-07

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2017-10-07 - Virtues and Flourishing

~12.2 miles @ ~15.3 min/mi

"Every time I finish a 100 miler, I shed something!" Dr Stephanie observes. Perhaps like a snake, shedding its skin in order to grow? We philosophize along the Seneca Creek Greenway Trail. Virtues are praised: intelligence and generosity; energy and equanimity; patient kindness, passionate love and personal growth; spiritual beauty and wise judgment. So few people possess more than a few. We resolve to make more time to cherish those who deserve our respect, and give thanks for friends who help us flourish and bring out the best in others.

"Rust and chartreuse!" Ferns crowd the pathway, fading into autumn hues. A fuzzy brown-and-black caterpillar curls up like a comma when cradled in the palm. High grass makes for tick-lish anxious moments as it brushes against calves. Highway traffic rumbles on bridges overhead. Blisters tingle and tendons twinge.

"I look up to you, Mike!" Fist-bump congratulations punctuate a happy surprise meeting at mile 7. Jet-lag plus an alarm set to California Time explain a late start. We take turns leading the way back, chatting about lessons-learned in various races, sharing hopes and plans. Moleskin, benzoyl peroxide, and Tailwind compete with Leukotape, Cheetos, and Gatorade. The battle of compliments and self-deprecation ends in a draw. Fun on the trail!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-11-06

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2017-10-06 - Pre-Taper

~7.7 miles @ ~12.8 min/mi

"Oooh, a new Bake Shop!" Kerry exclaims. But wait a mo: peering through the gloom, upon closer exam it's a new BIKE Shop on the far side of Route 7. Bummer! So the Dawn Patrol continues in its quest for Starbucks. After a pause and iced coffee at mile 3, feet lead along the W&OD trail into a peachy-pastel sunrise. Cait describes her little niece Riley's latest adventure, wee hand reaching up over her head to grab a cup from the high table. Bicycles zip past, giving polite warning.

"Later today!" Kristin promises to begin her taper for Sunday's Army 10 Miler. A gibbous moon pokes through the clouds as Venus sparkles near Mars. Somebody reports on his proud self-restraint: "I didn't buy ice cream yesterday on the way home - only sorbet and gelato!"

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-11-04

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2017-10-04 - Dry Ice and Marshmallows

~4.9 miles @ ~15.4 min/mi

"The ground here is just too slippery!" Caitlin declares. Acorns and walnuts decorate the pathways and make for treacherous footing, so the Dawn Patrol extends walk breaks and watches the eastern sky brighten through blushing pink into nectarine orange. Kerry describes weekend plans for an epic odyssey, a solo drive to join her sister in Asheville NC for a top-level equestrian event. Deer amble across Windy Hill Road in the gloom.

"Dry ice and marshmallows!" Kristin tells of a "Mad Scientist" kids' educational Halloween show. Cars zip by as we step as far out of the way as we can along a sidewalkless commuter route. One honks, long and loud, after it has passed us. A school bus backs into a dead-end side street to safely reverse course.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-11-02

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