The Risk/Reward ratio is too high!" Kerry declares when I propose continuing our run on the icy streets of McLean. Thankfully this morning I'm with her and Kristin, two sensible people. They insist we turn back when, at the end of Davis Ct, I slip on a patch of black ice and land on my fat rump. The back of the old brain box gets a minor scratch and is bleeding, so my buddies make me promise to visit my new friend the nurse as soon as her office opens. "Yes, Moms!"Runkeeper records route.
^z - 2015-01-29
"And now you're awake!" Kristin observes as I accidentally splash through a puddle in the dark. She and Kerry and I are about to join the W&OD Trail at the Virginia Ln overpass above I-66. "My right foot is, at least!" I reply. Brisk winds gust from the northwest as temperatures fall into the upper 30s.
A cyclist with anger management issues curses as he swerves around us in the dark. Half a mile later the negative karma is neutralized when another bike rider responds to our "Good morning!" with a cheery "Happy New Year!" A cute dog has red-green color-shifting lights on her collar. Scantily-clad members of a hot-yoga class warm up in the studio by the bridge over Route 7.
Sunrise hues shift from somber blue-gray into bright peach. Traffic is heavy and sullen kids wait at the bus stops for their first day back to school. Drs K&K and I walk the hills and thank each other for being such wonderful friends. Runkeeper records route.
^z - 2015-01-29
Sunday walkabout with Mary Ewell in her 'hood: geese glide in to land on the pond, copper-clad church steeple glows against gray clouds, flooded swamps block side paths ... and Leesburg Fire House pizza is tasty with Mary and her husband Andy afterwards. Runkeeper records route.
^z - 2015-01-29
|"Brown ice! Watch out!" Michele McLeod warns. We're trekking through intermittent drizzle in Rock Creek Park, temperatures just above freezing. Mud in flat spots has a sheen of slippery rime coating it. A couple of times we almost lose our footing.|
But all goes well, and thankfully nobody falls. The half-dozen others in the 8am Saturday trail group pause for us to catch up a couple of times, then run ahead. My GPS stays on during restroom breaks at the Nature Center and the facilities near Military Rd.
Michele and I exchange trail talk, family news, race reports, training plans, and just enjoy the rocks and roots together. She pulls me along at a fast pace, but mercifully allows walk breaks on the steeper hills. We pause for a photo at Ross Drive Bridge, according to  "... one of the earliest known triple-hinge bridges in the United States. The bridge is an open spandrel, reinforced concrete bridge with three parallel arches. ...". Wikipedia says that it dates back to 1907.
A huge one-year-old shaggy dog makes instant friends with us. Michele's friend Dave Schock kindly waits for us at the parking lot to make sure we return ok. When I arrive home I learn that the floral-design black panty hose that I wear for leg warmth — found in my drawer at dawn , in an old zip-lock plastic bag — were somebody else's, left there by mistake. Oops!
Runkeeper records route.
^z - 2015-01-27
Kerry has early meetings today, so to let her start/finish at her home Kristin and I text her as we begin and en route, then rendezvous with her at our mile 3 on Churchill Rd near where she lives. Kerry denies it, but we suspect she came out early and ran hills until we arrive.
We do a quiet five mile ramble together, along back roads and past the burned-out house on Lupine Ln (see 2014-12-31 - Happy Old Year). It's a trifle too dark to crawl under the police tape and take post-apocalyptic selfies there, alas. We share news of New Year's Eve and Day activities. None of us stayed up until midnight.
Dawn arrives with pink glows on clouds that portend rain tomorrow. Puddles are frozen and icicles decorate Kristin's hair for our cooldown walk. The hot shower afterwards is welcome! Runkeeper records route.
^z - 2015-01-25
|"Awesome beard!"a young lady says at mile 18. I wait for her to add the honorific "Sir" — but she refrains, and I feel doubly complimented. Yay!|
The "Red Eye" 50k consists of three ~9.8 mile circuits in Prince William Forest Park with a 2+ mile prelude to spread out ~130 participants. It's the 19th year of this free New Year's Day "Fat Ass" race, put on by the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club. Rolling hills are cloaked with yellow-brown leaves and dissected by noisy brooks. Sunlight's sheen on spandex catches the eye as I follow a fellow trekker. Puddles are icy and shoes crunch when crossing frozen muddy patches.
Official results — from the honor-system pages where runners write down their times and distances — put me in 34th place or so of ~45 who finish the whole 31+ miles, with a total time of ~7:44.
|New friends and old greet one another as they go in opposite directions on alternate loops: Neisa Condemaita ... Caroline Williams ... Adeline Ntam ... Pete Pontzer ... Paul Crickard ... Don Libes ... Gretchen Bolton ...and the merry trio of Bill Gentry, Bob Gaylord, and Quattro Hubbard, who trek with me for the final miles.|
Posting too many selfies makes the phone battery die: the GPS misses the last 2-3 miles of the course. Near the end most of the blue marker ribbons are already taken down, but by luck and careful observation of footprints I manage to stay on track. Pound cake, grilled cheese sandwiches, and donuts at the aid station fuel the journey, supplemented by a couple of Snickers bars and 4 "Succeed!" electrolyte capsules.
^z - 2015-01-23
"Instead of 'McLean Dawn Patrol' maybe we need to get t-shirts that say 'Portajohn Inspection Service'?!" I suggest, as Kerry, Kristin, and I run along Wemberly Way. The temporary toilet is missing at the local Middle School, but at a construction site we find one that is relatively clean and offers hand sanitizer as well as tissue paper. Woot!
A lovely sunrise tinges the horizon pastel pink above Georgetown Pike as we cross. Our mansion tour extends down side streets, where near one cul-de-sac we smell smoke. Kerry spies police tape and a lonely chimney, the only remnant left standing from an almost-finished new home that burned down last Saturday.
As the day brightens two contrails stretch parallel across the sky. Our footsteps crunch on dry leaves and frozen mud. Kerry tests out a new headlamp, fuzzy-warm socks, and sleek tights -- Xmas gifts to her that have a utilitarian winter running theme this year. She shares a handwarmer with Kristin as I tie my windbreaker around my waist. Frosty condensate whitens outer layers.
We exchange stories from recent weekend excursions (what happened in Las Vegas stays on the trail!) between quiet meditative stretches of just trotting along together. Langley High won the big basketball tournament that finished yesterday, and Kerry has a house full of celebration. We're back in time for her to make her next important New Year's Eve meeting: a "Body Pump" exercise session with a friend! Runkeeper records route.
^z - 2015-01-21
"Maybe we shouldn't," Kristin decides, in response to my suggestion of taking sunrise selfies in front of Kerry's home. "We might set off her dog and wake the neighborhood!" So instead we take a McLean mansion tour down Benjamin St, admiring holiday lights, a big antlered deer and his mate, small puddles on the Dead Run pathway, a hawk that glides across Chain Bridge Rd to perch on a telephone pole, and polite early commuters who carefully avoid hitting us as they race to work.
There's time for walk breaks (the psoas seems to be recovering well) and much peaceful, mindful, gentle conversation. We share weekend news reports and thank each other for listening. Roadside loot recovered includes a Pearl Izumi cyclist glove and a high-bouncing superball. My fingers are weak from chill, so Kristin helps unzip my jacket pocket to get out the phone for a GPS check. As usual we overshoot today's goal (9 miles), and as usual Dr K continues running to push her mileage figure to the next nice number. Not that either of us is obsessive that way! Runkeeper records route.
^z - 2015-01-19
"I did NOT just feel a raindrop!" says Rebecca Rosenberg during our first mile. "Oops! Neither did I," is my in-denial reply a few moments later. We're escorting Barry Smith on a Sunday afternoon stroll along Rock Creek and the Matthew Henson Trail. Showers are forecast this afternoon, but we manage more than an hour of running before sprinkles start in earnest.
To put ~5 extra miles in the bank I jog to the Ken-Gar rendezvous point early, with digressions and meanders in Kensington to decorate the trackfile and synchronize with R&B. Upstream we go, comparing notes on Disney movies, making weak NOAA/Noah puns, and commiserating with Barry's injured left foot. Rebecca and I persuade him to stop before further damage (we hope) as he tapers for races January 8-9-10-11 at Disneyworld. During the return to Ken-Gar Rebecca spots a six-point buck crossing the trail behind us. We stop to admire its rack, and to discuss point-count systems.
We finish up with Rebecca and me on playground swings while Barry does push-ups. Then I almost manage 1/3rd of a chin-up — but, alas, nobody is looking. Barry gives me a ride home and at 7-11 tests his new phone app by buying me a cup of coffee. Post-run salad is followed by a slice of the cheesecake I baked this morning. Yum! Runkeeper records route.
^z - 2015-01-19
"Bring packs!" I text to Barry Smith, alluding to George Armstrong Custer's last message. Beams from the rising sun reflect scarlet on the underside of somber gray clouds. Frost covers windshields; rime decorates shallow puddles. The drinking fountain at Ray's Meadow is frozen, but water comes out from the dog-bowl tap on the side when I test it on the way to Candy Cane City, where a big MCRRC trail running training group gathers. I shake coach Mike Edwards' hand and tell him to stay healthy, so he can drag me along at the Umstead 100 race that we're both signed up for in March.
Gayatri Datta greets me, and when Barry arrives we set off down Rock Creek. Today is one of Barry's last long runs before the Disney "Dopey" series of 5k+10k+half marathon+marathon in two weeks. He tells me some of the history of Little Big Horn and Custer's Last Stand. Gayatri describes the chocolate mousse and coq au vin that she made for family dinner, and the bread pudding that she's preparing later today. We return via Ridge Rd and Oregon Ave, diverting for a photo op at DC Boundary Stone NW9, placed there in 1792.
Back at Candy Cane City, Barry and Gayatri have logged 10 miles and head upstream on Rock Creek Trail to add a few more. When they turn back I continue onward, trotting briskly to pull the average pace down. A loop around the block gets my total safely past the next integer number on the GPS. Booty captured en route today includes a nice gray tube-scarf from near Peirce Mill and a black glove at Meadowbrook Stables that Gayatri points out for me to pick up. An iron-oxide hand warmer that I find on the ground alternately thaws one palm, then the other, during the downstream trek. Runkeeper records route.
^z - 2015-01-17