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Running Logbook

2017-06-04 - Burmese Food

~8.3 miles @ ~12.7 min/mi

"Welease Wodewick!" and then "A hospital? It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now." Barry quotes from the films Life of Brian and Airplane; I recite a bit of Gerard Manly Hopkins. On a sultry Sunday afternoon we meet at General Getty Park and ramble up Sligo Creek Trail. At Colt Terrace Neighborhood Park we pause to exercise on the children's playground equipment, then hook back via neighborhood streets to return downstream. A big deer peers at us, and a chipmunk dashes across the path. My lunch with DS Merle at the Mandalay Cafe — Burmese samosas, KaYann Thee Hin (eggplant onion curry), and Tofu Ohnno Hin (with coconut-cream curry) — was a tasty but perhaps suboptimal pre-run repast.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-06-28

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2017-06-03 - Ran It with Janet 50k

~30.5 miles @ ~14.3 min/mi

Ran It with Janet 50k snakey selfie - by Jennifer HotchkissAt mile 21 a big Black Racer slithers across the road at Manassas Battlefield Park. Jennifer Hotchkiss and I run by it.

"Wait a minute!" I say. "Let me go back and get a selfie!"

As I lie down on the asphalt and line up for the shot the snake pauses, sticks its tongue out at me, and then crawls onward. Jennifer snaps the perfect meta-photo, with the pic I'm framing visible on my phone's screen. Wow!

We're on the last lap of this year's "Ran It with Janet" 50k. Son Merle drives me here at dawn and circulates among the aid stations, helping and taking photos, applauding runners and assisting volunteers. It's a lovely day, partly cloudy, somewhat warm and humid.

Before we begin comrades Ken Swab, Gayatri Datta, and Jennifer Wieland pose for a colorful shoe pic with me. Race Director Janet Choi gives the pre-event briefing. Entry fee is only $5; everything else goes to Cornerstones, ".. a nonprofit organization that promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare, and other human services." Janet's race raises $4500 this year. Nice!

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/RIwJ/RIwJ_2017_Jennifer_Hotchkiss_z_manassas_cannon.jpgThe race consists of three loops around the Manassas National Battlefield Park. The first goes by briskly in 2:15, for an average pace of ~13 min/mi. Likewise lap #2, which takes 2:14 according to the official log. I catch up with Jennifer Hotchkiss and we walk/run together for the final circuit. Much great trail talk ensues, about racing and families and philosophy and life. We finish together at a total elapsed time of 7:16:30, tied for 25th place. Yay!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-06-27

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2017-05-31 - Blowdown Monday

~5.7 miles @ ~13.4 min/mi

"Should we all split up, like in a horror movie?" — "Uh, no!" So the Dawn Patrol hangs together on a foggy-humid McLean morning. After leading us down two dead-end streets, Dr Kerry says she's a contrary indicator and we should do the opposite of what she recommends. (But if we all know, and she knows that we know, should we do the opposite or ...?!?)

"Let's move that tree out of the street!" Cars swerve to avoid a blowdown from last night's storm that blocks half of Idlywood Road. The four of us lift the trunk, but it's cracked and not broken, still firmly attached to the stump, so we can't clear the lane. At least we try! Caitlin and Kristin laugh at reports of corporate conspiracy theories. Rabbit count = 1.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-06-25

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2017-05-29 - Flying Balls

~12.3 miles @ ~13.6 min/mi

"Lions? Tigers? Bears?" - "Sorry, no." - "Unexploded bombs?" - "No." - "Poorly secured facilities for the criminally insane?" - "Nope." - "Haunted cemeteries?" - "Not that I know of." - "Flash flood zones?" - "None." - "Fireswamps? Lightning sand?" - "Uh-uh." - "Homes for wayward ninjas?" - "Are you serious?" - "Chompers? Slowly rotating fans?" - "No and no."

This section of the Fairfax Cross Country Trail seems sadly lacking in danger, at least according to Lucas and Janet. Nonetheless, they give good directions to an access point in the Oakton area. Southbound the pathway is nicely shaded, rolling hills with occasional muddy bits churned up by mountain bikers. Birds and butterflies flit; cicadas whir.

"DANGER   FLYING BALLS" warns a sign next to the Oak Marr golf course. At Jermantown Road I turn back. Continuing north of Vale Road the trail gets narrower and muddier, until it reaches a nontrivial stream crossing. Reverse course!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-06-23

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2017-05-28 - Towpath Statistics

~15.6 miles @ ~14.2 min/mi

"Beliefs are knobs, not switches!" At least, to a good Bayesian: judgments are never certain, always subject to revision as new evidence comes in. Dr Stephanie and I start at Swains Lock on the C&O Canal towpath and trot up the Potomac River, past Pennyfield Lock to Riley's Lock. Blue iridescent butterflies (red-spotted purples?) explode in a tiny cloud of color as a foot passes nearby. Bright yellow butterflies (eastern tiger swallowtails?) cluster in a mass to mate. Turtles align themselves on logs. A large snake (eastern rat snake? northern racer?) slithers into the grass. Great blue herons glide low, stand in the water, fluff their feathers, and swivel their necks. Geese protect their goslings against passing cyclists. Trail talk is joyous and wide-ranging. There's just so much good in the world to analyze: honesty, friendship, trust, patience, spirituality, kindness, beauty, wisdom, sharing, poetry, love, ...

"Let me now explain the statistics of proliferative diabetic retinopathy, and the dangers of merging that with non-proliferative!" We run a few miles to pull our average pace back down after pauses to take photos at the Stone Mill ruins and milepost 0 of the Seneca Creek Greenway Trail. Back at our start, an achy foot mandates a few final miles of walking in the warm rain.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-06-22

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2017-05-27 - Thank You, Dr Stephanie

~23.7 miles @ ~14.8 min/mi

"Where is this going?" asks Dr Stephanie, as I catch my breath during a monologue in preparation for a poetic recitation.

"Well," I reply, "I'm trying to explain the meaning of my life, in answer to your earlier question. A poem that I memorized 45 years ago may help."

"Ah," says Stephanie, "but I just meant: Where is this ROAD going?"

"Oh!" I blush, and we chuckle together.

Barry, Gayatri, and Rebecca trot down Rock Creek Trail. Comic banter soon ensues as we meet and ramble back to KenGar where they started. A double-dog-dare mandates hill repeats on a side path. Then the others, who set out earlier, head for home. Stephanie text-messages and I stroll south to meet her. Frank trail talk follows, as we share joys and woes, hopes and regrets, personal progress and chronic shortfalls. It's so wonderful to have a trusted friend to think aloud with! And the quiet gaps between sentences are as important.

"Smell these roses!" We pause during each climb of Old Spring Road and commit minor trespass to appreciate lovely gardens up-close. A stone rabbit statue invites front-yard selfies. On the third loop we divert into the Mormon Temple grounds to smile at a wedding party, admire the architecture, and cast envious eyes on massive ferns.

Iced coffee from the Old Town Market in Kensington fuels the final 7 miles of today's trek. Zen koans are not-solved as traffic whizzes past. Tiny paths meander eventually back to terra cognita. Stephanie kindly gives me a ride home. We practice saying "Thank you!" instead of "I'm sorry!", questioning what's really important, listening better, and laughing more. How to resolve the tension between taking care of others and properly cherishing self? True balance is so hard to achieve; loving advice and good examples from friends can help.

(trackfile; cf. What Is My Life (1999-04-30), ...) - ^z - 2017-06-20

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2017-05-26 - Newspaper Delivery

~11.2 miles @ ~13.3 min/mi

"Where does that street go?" asks Cait, as we pass a little lane in downtown McLean.

"Oops, you just said the magic words — now we MUST explore it!" is the instant reply. Dead-end Pinecrest Avenue leads to a new cut-through, connecting with the tiny pedestrian pathway to Dolley Madison Boulevard. Who knew?

Dr Kristin navigates through a twisty residential road maze to the other Dr K's home, where we text her a GPS waypoint and leave the newspaper by her front door. The neighborhood along Live Oak Drive is new to Caitlin, so we ramble toward the Potomac River and admire mansions. Three rabbits, two chipmunks, and a big deer later we're back at the office.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-06-20

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2017-05-24 - Eli Tales

~8.8 miles @ ~13.0 min/mi

"Handsome Dan was chewing on a Y-shaped bone — but he dropped it to stare into the camera!" Cait describes a photo op with the Yale mascot, a bulldog. Sounds just like Winston Churchill's glare at the lens when Yousuf Karsh took away his cigar! The Dawn Patrol rambles south on a delightful-cool morning. We play leapfrog on the W&OD Trail with Caroline, a friendly lady in blue who passes us during our walk breaks on hills. "I'm only doing 3 miles," she says when asked. "You know," we reply, "a NORMAL person wouldn't say 'only' in that sentence!" A tiny front-yard bunny freezes to watch us go by.

"So what WILL you eat for dinner?" Kristin describes trying to get an answer from one of her children, engrossed in Minecraft; her other kid is a voracious omnivore. Caitlin reports on her sister's graduation ceremonies this weekend, and on the Harvard-Yale football rivalry.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-06-19

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2017-05-22 - Wet Falls Church Loop

~8.4 miles @ ~12.6 min/mi

"It's been a while since we ...", begins Dr Kristin.

"Hold it right there! You KNOW that when you say that the reply HAS to be, 'I'm in!'." So begins a Dawn Patrol trek, as sprinkles turn to drizzle and then full-up rain showers. Monday morning streets are quiet, almost empty. A soggy fox crosses Magarity Road just ahead of us. Brick sidewalks are slippery-slick, coated with fallen flowers and the occasional cicada husk from currently-emerging Brood X. A store in Falls Church features a big display of selfie sticks in the front window. Pastel wall art on a Broad Street yoga studio offers a mystical vision.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-06-19

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2017-05-21 - RCT with Barry, Dean, and Rebecca

~6.2 miles @ ~12.0 min/mi

"Discus 120 feet, and shot put 48 feet!" Barry reminisces about his salad days in Montana's Glasgow High School, where on behalf of the Scotties he went out for field events ("But not javelin!") We trot along Rock Creek Trail. Rebecca and her friend Dean Palmer dash ahead, then meet us on their way back. Dean confesses to having done a 3:09 marathon in 2002 but claims to be out of shape now; he and I pound out a brisk mile, then climb the KenGar neighborhood side path and come down in time to meet Barry and Rebecca.

"Rob Quist is the Singing Cowboy who's running for Congress from Montana!" Barry tells of Mission Mountain Wood Band legendary performances at Missoula's Aber Day Kegger, a fundraiser for the University's library. Back at our starting point Dean demonstrates a pull-up; I manage about 40% of one.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-06-17

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