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Running Logbook

2017-08-28 - First Day of School

~8.0 miles @ ~12.0 min/mi

'Gymnastics moms are so judgy!" says Cait, describing her five-year-old niece's class yesterday. Kristin leads us through Tysons Corner at a brisk pace on a cool morning. Since Kerry is out of town we consider diverting to TP her home, but decide that with only two squares of paper between us the effect might be aesthetically lacking. A crowd of kids await their bus on the first day of school and cheer us as we pass.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-09-24

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2017-08-27 - Her Name is Sal

~20.1 miles @ ~12.2 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/C_and_O_Canal_Stephanie_z_2017-08-27a.jpg"I've got a mule and her name is Sal / 15 miles on the Erie Canal!" Dr Fonda dubs her achy ankle tendon "Sally", and I get an instant flashback to 2nd grade singalong time. "You'll always know your neighbor / You'll always know your pal / If you've ever navigated on the Erie Canal!" Or in our case, the C&O Canal. We begin at Lock 7 and trot upstream, passing hikers and stepping aside for cyclists. Fishermen cast lines into the water. Three kayakers cross a bridge carrying boats on their backs.

"Intervals. FORTY intervals!" Stephanie describes our pacing plan today: run-0.4 miles; walk-0.1 miles; repeat. Sore tendon Sal and my twingy hip adductor (codename "Addie"?) feel surprisingly good after yesterday's long ramble.

"Slow down now — I have to catch my breath!" A pack of fleet-footed easy-on-the-eyes young Georgetown runners zooms by; we need time to recover. At the Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center the "Star Spangled Banner" sounds out. Just past milepost 13 we reverse course and return, refuel, and resume the trek downstream into DC. A huge Great Blue Heron perches on a log; a giant catfish sashays along in the shallows leaving a muddy contrail behind. We pause for a photo by the "Deadly Undertow" sign. Stephanie's plan to walk the final 4 miles goes by the wayside as we feel good and keep on trucking, significantly faster than planned.

"Ankle or knee injury!" says the medic. A cluster of canal patrol first-responders surround somebody lying by the path. An ambulance idles, lights flashing, in the parking lot as we finish our run. Hope whoever got hurt is soon OK!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-09-22

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2017-08-26 - Knock, Knock, Knocking on Emaad's Door

~25.3 miles @ ~13.8 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Garrett_Park_freight_train_Stephanie_z_2017-08-26a.jpg"It would be a bit radical if we ...", Dr Fonda begins her suggestion of a new route, then pauses and smiles. She knows that using the word "radical" is like throwing chum to a shark whenever I hear it. Irresistible and inevitable: adventure beckons! We're already several miles out from Stephanie's home, having diverted to snag iced coffee at Quatermain's and then run a lap around the Walter Johnson HS track. "Westward ho!" now, on Democracy Boulevard from Seven Locks Road. A mile later as we pass the USPS Bolger conference facility suddenly I realize where we are.

"Emaad lives nearby!" I exclaim. "Let's visit him!" A few years ago he led Barry and Ken and me around his 'hood (see 2015-01-19 - Bolger Center). Alas, memory is hazy as to the proper route; Stephanie and I soon find ourselves dancing along the narrow shoulder of Falls Road, leaning out as cars speed past. Eventually local streets and a woodsy cut-through get us safely to Stately Burki Mansion. Alas, no answer to the doorbell. Maybe the butler is napping?

"Dur-YEAH!" Stephanie echoes Google Map's pronunciation of Duryea Drive as we navigate to Tuckerman Lane. Winston Churchill HS track offers the dynamic duo another chance to run a lap, along with a welcome water fountain. The bulldog school mascot reminds Stephanie of Louis, her dear Frenchie. On the home stretch we run a lap at Tilden Middle School as three ladies practice yoga and then start strength work. At 7-11, Gatorade and a Slurpee; at Garrett Park Station, a freight train. Today's tarot card is the Two of Cups: "Friendliness", the perfect description of a glorious trek with a dear trail comrade. Thank you, Stephanie!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-09-20

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2017-08-23 - Where We Are

~5.1 miles @ ~12.8 min/mi

"Fox?" Hawk-eyed Kristin glimpses the creature trotting along the sidewalk ahead of us in the gloom. It pauses to look back, ambles another block, turns down a driveway, and vanishes. Clouds low in the east begin to thin as dawn brightens. Humidity is high, Dr K is recovering from a bad cold, and we appreciate intermittent breezes on a quiet morning. The path through Tysons Pimmit Park is newly repaved, wide and smooth. A motorcycle starts and cruises loudly away from a confederate-flag-decorated bungalow. Rabbit count = 1. In the parking lot we observe an eclipse — a sporty Mitsubishi Eclipse automobile, that is.

"Now I know where we are!" — "Yes, right here!"

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-09-18

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2017-08-21 - Keep Asking Until

~5.2 miles @ ~11.8 min/mi

"On the third call I got the answer I wanted, so I stopped asking then!" Cait explains how she successfully rescheduled a family trip with a less-than-organized resort. The Dawn Patrol sets out on a gloomy humid morning, loops through Pimmit Hills, and concludes its survey just as a crimson sun begins to peek through the treeline. Pace is brisk, ~5.2 mi @ ~11.8 min/mi. We discuss family political arguments, dangerous ground to tread at a reunion. "They misunderestimated the problem!" is the verdict.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-09-18

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2017-08-20 - Fondly Frequentist

~25.6 miles @ ~14.3 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/RCT_black_and_gold_serpent_2017-08-20b.jpg"As a Frequentist, ...", Dr Fonda prefixes her comment. Is she testing whether a devout Bayesian will keep running with her? (P > 0.95 he will.) We're enjoying the shady quiet along Rock Creek Trail on a warm and humid summer day. Bicycles swoop past, most giving courteous warning. Green soccer fields swarm with yellow-and-red uniformed players. A spectator sips her drink by a stump in the shade nearby.

"Snake! Is it hurt?" We pause to inspect a black serpent lying on the path, fearful that a runner or cyclist has already injured it. As Stephanie prepares to slide it off the asphalt it sticks its snaky tongue out at us and slithers into the grass. Whew!

Mindful trail talk focuses on issues of honesty and respect, especially for those who have long been dominated and abused. How much can and should they forgive? Tough questions for personal relationships and society writ large.

We turn back short of Lake Needwood and walk much of the return trip — good ultra training! In the home stretch kind neighbor Greg introduces himself, sets a healthy pace, reveals that he's started training again 20 years after his last NYC Marathon, and acts appropriately impressed when the GPS announces mile 25. Great to meet you, Sir!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-09-16

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2017-08-19 - Saturday Ramble with Kerry

~14.7 miles @ ~13.2 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Family_sculpture_Owens-Hart_Halls_Hill_High_View_Park_2017-08-19a.jpg"I've partied there!" someone remarks as we pass a stately mansion on a hill. Today's "Spontaneous Adventure Run" begins at 0622 on a warm, humid morn. A wee bunny races along the path, then darts into a church cemetery. The waning crescent moon prepares to eclipse the sun.

Rick's Tattoo Parlor provides a selfie op. We snag iced coffee, then take a memory-lane detour past the someday-historical home where Kerry's kids were born. Flashing lights atop a tall radio tower nearby soothed her infant son when he was fretful at night. "The Family", a neighborhood sculpture by local artist Winnie Owens-Hart, features braille that reads "HALLS HILL HIGH VIEW PARK - AFRICAN AMERICAN FAMILIES ARE OUR HISTORICAL FOUNDATION".

Trail talk includes more sweet memories of our babies, the mantra "Do Less, Better", sympathies for suffering the first-world challenge of obligatory working-dinners almost every night of the week, the recent film "Free Fire", and upcoming birthday & anniversary celebrations.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-09-14

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2017-08-18 - Sprinkler Off

~6.9 miles @ ~13.0 min/mi

"Hawk!" says Cait. The big bird perches above us in a scruffy pine tree overhanging Brawner St, then takes wing and soars away. Eagle-eyed Kristin has already spotted two rabbits in the gloom. We see a third on the way back. Morning is gray and hyper-humid, temperature and dew point both in the upper 70s.

"Don't curse the nurse!" — good advice for hospital patients, from someone with recent experience. We divert to cool down in a lawn sprinkler's spray, and moments later it cuts off. "Was it on a timer, or did somebody see vagabonds invading their turf?"

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-09-12

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2017-08-14 - Data Are

~11.2 miles @ ~13.0 min/mi

"Sweet tea? You don't like sweet tea? What's wrong with you?" Kristin quotes an incredulous Southerner she met on a business trip, as I rehydrate at a mile 6 McDonalds with that classic beverage. Lavender clouds greet the Dawn Patrol on a muggy Monday morning. Kerry reports on results of a weekend pony jumping competition.

"DATA IS THE NEW BACON" reads the t-shirt of a woman who cheers us as we pass her. "Shouldn't that say DATA ARE ...?" a picky grammar person asks. We discuss how hard it is, according to one's spouse, to load a dishwasher properly or perform other common household duties up to their high standards. "So the answer is, let them do it!"

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-09-12

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2017-08-13 - Rock Creek Ramble

~23.1 miles @ ~13.3 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/Totem_eagle_Ernest_Memorial_Park_Kensington_David_Swain.jpg"Chill out!" Dr Stephanie chides a driver for impatiently honking at a deer standing near Beach Drive. "Why is everyone in such a hurry?" Our excuse: we're dashing toward Ken-Gar to join Rebecca, Barry, and Gayatri for a Sunday morning ramble in the park. Dawn begins with humidity a sultry 97% and temps in the mid-70s, a relatively-blissful 10 degrees cooler than yesterday. Saturday evening thunderstorms left puddles that block Rock Creek Trail, forcing squishy detours. "F this!" comments somebody who prefers vocabulary cleaner than shoes.

"A fox lives near here!" says the lady walking along Kent St as we watch a rabbit dash for cover. On the way to Stephanie's I count a total of 6 hares; she spies 3 more during our trek, including one right by her car. ("That's MY bunny!") Two big deer watch during a pause for pics at the totem-pole eagle in Kensington's Ernest Memorial Park. A fawn ambles into Connecticut avenue, stopping traffic long enough for me to jaywalk safely.

"867-5209!" Rebecca sings, after Barry and I butcher a chorus version of "Like a Rolling Stone". We run "The Silencer" hills, take the bridge over Veirs Mill Road, and continue northward. Barry and Gayatri turn back after 4 miles; Stephanie and Rebecca continue another half mile or so upstream.

"That one missed us!" In the woods a giant "widowmaker" branch crashes to the ground. Back at Ken-Gar we fist-bump salutes, wish one another well, and part ways.

Stephanie and I amble back to her home, and then I take the cut-through past Strathmore Hall, trot along Rockville Pike, and proceed home via a more southerly section of RCT. A woman training for the "Last Man Standing" ultra in Maine has just finished doing 20 miles; I give her some Succeed! electrolyte capsules to help her recovery. The old phone battery dies at mile ~15, so this trackfile is edited to show the final 8 miles and total time correctly.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-09-10

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