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Running Logbook

2017-09-18 - McLean Moon

~4.6 miles @ ~13.6 min/mi

"You saved my life — again!" This morning even though the Walk Signal is in our favor a car blasts straight through the red light at Chain Bridge Rd and Great Falls St. Thank goodness Kristin saw it coming and held me back! The moon is only 4% illuminated, skinny yellow crescent hugging the eastern horizon. An airplane takes off from National Airport and crosses in front of Venus. Rabbit count = 1, when sharp-eyed Dr K glimpses a cottontail on Opalacka Dr. We concur that in spite of the fun factor, overhead in time and money is high for "short" races like yesterday's half marathon.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-10-17

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2017-09-17 - Navy-Air Force Half Marathon Plus

~33.3 miles @ ~12.6 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/pre_Navy_Air_Force_Half_Kristin_Kerry_z_Caitlin_2017-09-17a.jpg"Ooh, he doesn't look good!" Kristin says, as a runner just in front of us starts to weave, then staggers. A few steps later he folds over and collapses to the road at mile ~11.5 of the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon. The Dawn Patrol and others gather around him, hold up his head, give him sips of Gatorade. Somebody calls 911. A physician in the race stops and takes charge. He checks the man's head, tells another person to elevate his feet, requests the rest of us to pour cool water on him.

"Sir, how do you feel?" the doctor asks. "Do you have heart disease? Diabetes? High blood pressure?" We summon a nearby policeman. After a few minutes when it's clear things are being handled and there's nothing more to do, onward we go. Hope the gentleman is OK — perhaps he's dehydrated and overheated?

At 5am the old Moon hangs low in the east, ashy earthshine faint on the dark side, silver crescent curved like a bow aimed at glittering Venus a few degrees below. Humidity is near 100% with temps in the upper 60's. On autopilot I cross 16th Street and run straight onward before realizing my mistake a few blocks later. Re-route, no harm! Two bunny rabbits nibble lawns, then dash away. Three big deer pause to stare from inside the high fence surrounding the former Walter Reed Medical Center. At Meridian Hill Park text messages begin to arrive from Kerry and Kristin, waiting to enter the parking garage.

"They're inspecting EVERY CAR!" - "Did they find your stash?" - "Yes!" - "Well, hope they enjoy it!" The National Museum of African American History and Culture aligns nicely with the Washington Monument where the race will soon begin. Fog begins to hide the top of the obelisk. Selfie time! Cait appears with husband Bill and mom Maureen. We pin on bibs and prepare to race.

The half marathon is thankfully uneventful (except for the aforementioned scary collapse of the man ahead of us with less than 2 miles to go). As we cross the starting line I unpause the GPS at 2 hours with 9.1 miles, a pace of ~13.2 min/mi. We finish together with a time of ~2:35, averaging ~11.8 min/mi. Stop the GPS again, exchange fist-bumps, take photos, then split up for respective journeys home.

Lines for post-race food are ridiculously long, so snag small bags of pretzels and cookies, refill bottles from a water fountain near the White House, and head north. New route: Connecticut Avenue. Fresh sights + long hills = walk breaks! At the DC boundary swerve onto Brookville Rd and then Rock Creek Trail to "take the long way home" for ~11.1 miles at ~13.5 min/mi.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-10-15

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2017-09-16 - Chevy Chase with Kerry

~8.1 miles @ ~13.7 min/mi

"If you let others help you, then they will be able to ask you for help when they need it most!" Dr Kerry and I argue over who gets the honor of paying for coffee and a pseudo-"French Toast" mini-pastry at the bagel bakery. Preparation is glacial, which explains "23+" minutes for mile #7.

"NO SNACKS!" say signs at Meadowbrook Stables, where we pause to pet horses. Mr Chatty channels his inner tour guide and offers a running commentary on the history of Chevy Chase and various luminaries who live there. A deer lurks in the gloom by Rock Creek as we begin; a few miles downstream another pair stand close by the trail. Fog hangs low over meadows. A last-quarter moon gleams above Mormon Temple spires. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute beside Connecticut Avenue is protected by a high fence.

"Can Cait come out and play?" Alas, not this morning — she has homework to finish! We knock on her front door and greet her and her mom (hi, Maureen!) after we finish the loop.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-10-14

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2017-09-15 - More Iced Coffee

~7.3 miles @ ~13.7 min/mi

"Let's head toward that lovely pink sunrise!" - "Let's buy coffee at the bottom of this hill!" The Dawn Patrol lets the Earth guide its footsteps today, turning east instead of west and bypassing a Peets to permit a gravity-assisted ramble before pausing at a Starbucks. We debate the value of formal (obsessive documentation bad, historical record good) vs informal ("Work hard - great job!") annual performance reviews. Plans for Sunday's Navy-AF Half Marathon take shape nicely. Families and friends in Florida all seem to have survived Hurricane Irma.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-10-12

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2017-09-13 - Iced Coffee Run

~9.5 miles @ ~13.6 min/mi

"Nearest Starbucks? Turn right at the next corner, then first left - 100 metres!" a runner with a Kiwi accent tells us. On a drizzly-warm morning the Dawn Patrol meanders through a new neighborhood and emerges to snag iced coffee. A front-yard brick pyramid, taller than Kerry, stands behind a reflecting pond on Riley Street - reminiscent of "the tip of God's arrow fallen to earth" emerging from the opposite side of the globe in the 1988 film Vibes. Or maybe just lawn art.

"A chimera?" The huge sheepdog watching us pass by has a snowy white head attached to a dark body. Kristin tells of weightlifting with her daughter - the daughter herself being the weight lifted, that is. We compare milks - almond, coconut, soy, and quinoa. On Lisle Avenue nobody falls as we dash downhill on a sidewalk strewn with fallen acorns.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-10-12

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2017-09-11 - Great and Small Falls

~4.4 miles @ ~14.8 min/mi

"To save space shall we say 'Kerry did not fall down today' in the Dawn Patrol log when that happens - rather than note all the times she does?" Early this morning Dr K stumbles on the gloomy path beside Churchill Road, where tree roots make for a ripply-rough surface. Fortunately she vectors onto a grassy lawn and escapes unscathed. Whew! Venus glitters brilliant-cut in the east as a pastel sunrise glows, with crisp long-sleeve-worthy temps in the 50s.

"My bad!" Abject apologies to the missing member of this morning's ramble, Dr Kristin. Text messaging is an unreliable transmission protocol, and she didn't get word of today's starting point. Cait leads a loop around West Langley, after which we arc to Starbucks. During the return trip sororities and their culture (and cost) are analyzed. Apparently it's an urban legend that Brothel Laws ban them in Boston.

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

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2017-09-10 - Kensington Cait

~12.9 miles @ ~11.8 min/mi

"Knock knock!!" We hammer on Stephanie's front door, pose for a quick selfie, then race away. She fools us and stays fast asleep, as does Louis ze Wonder Dog. So Caitlin and I continue our ramble around the neighborhood on a perfect-weather Sunday morning. A big bunny poses in the middle of Flanders Avenue, watching a dog with one eye and us with the other.

"Adeline!" Flashback to the Parks Half Marathon finish line, where we spot dear friend Adeline Ntam, serving as a medical volunteer. The gold and silver medal winners arrive blazing-fast with sub-1:10 times. Wow! First place finisher Desta Ber Morkama graciously accepts a fist-bump and "Congratulations!" after his cooldown walk.

"May I eat the last glazed sour cream donut?" The answer is "Yes!", and nibbling on it for the first quarter mile gets me to the Forest Glen grade crossing in time to beat a big CSX freight train, and powers the rest of the run. Runkeeper estimates 11.8 min/mi pace for 12.98 miles - close but not quite a lucky 13!

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

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2017-09-09 - Stone Mill Preview

~13.5 miles @ ~15.4 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Pennyfield_Lock_stephanie_z_kerry_2017-09-09a.jpg"Don't follow me - I'm a contrary indicator!" Dawn Patrol members take turns leading one another off-course along Muddy Branch Trail. Boggy swales and forking paths make that name singularly apt for today's area familiarization reconnaissance, prep for the Stone Mill 50 miler in November. Tributary streams are low and we manage ~13 miles with barely-wet feet, walking the climbs and jogging on the flats and downhills. The sky is crystal blue. Temperatures are delightfully crisp. Sunbeams slice between trees.

"Chipmunk!" - "Deer!" - "Horse!" Everybody else spots wildlife; my only sightings are a dead possum (pointed out first by Stephanie) and a dead snake (ditto by Kerry). Friendly local trekker Kevin Gray introduces himself as he walks his dog, a chocolate Lab hybrid. We share good memories of past runs here, along with family news and hair style tips. (OK, two out of three of us do that!) Polite cyclists swoop past at our road crossings. Trail talk is wide-ranging and compassionate. Often it's so hard to help each other in this life, yet that's our prime mission.

"Oops!" Kerry stumbles over a root at mile 12, almost recovers, then falls on hands and knees - thankfully without major damage. "Sally is complaining!" at mile 10, Stephanie reports her ankle tendon is twinging. We pause for photos and walk the final stretch to Pennyfield Lock (aka Lock 22) on the C&O Canal. Such a lovely day to ramble with friends!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-10-08

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2017-09-08 - All Relative

~16.1 miles @ ~13.8 min/mi

"You're the epitome of Frictional Employment!" Dr Kristin remembers a long-ago comment from her brother. (Was it an insult? What does it mean?) We join Dr Kerry and ramble with her for half a dozen miles. Six deer stand nibbling backyard grass. Lovely mansions - old, new, and under construction - pose the question: do their owners feel wealthy, or does the top 1% compare itself to the top 0.1% and feel poor? Backpack-laden kids slouch toward high school. The scent of marijuana lingers along a pathway between neighborhoods.

"Good morning!" says a well-dressed elderly gentleman, who takes a bent calabash pipe out of his mouth as we pass by. At McLean High we laugh at a spelling error on the parking sign ("PRIVELEDGE"?), then find ourselves trapped by a locked gate. Fire hazard? A front-yard sign, featuring an American flag motif, celebrates diversity and tolerance. We meander on the home stretch to add extra distance. Weather is cool, crisp, comfy. Good friends are so awesome to be with!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-10-07

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2017-09-06 - Pine Hill Revisited

~5.7 miles @ ~13.7 min/mi

"He cheated and attached the raw egg to the spoon with a rubber band!" Kerry reveals the secret of the policeman who won the high-heels race at her sister's recent charity fundraiser. The firemen never showed up to run! Kristin's headlamp gets the Dawn Patrol safely to Starbucks for iced coffee, after which thick clouds grudgingly begin to brighten. A fox crosses the street. School buses back up and turn around as new drivers learn their routes. The impressive front yard garden last seen two months ago is still beautiful. (cf. 2017-07-07 - Pine Hill Connection)

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-10-07

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