2009-06-27 - CCT with Gayatri

~18 miles @ ~11.7 min/mi

A lonely lightning bug, looking for love, flashes glumly back at my headlamp. Sorry, Sir, no luck for you! It's 0425 as I slouch toward Bethesda on the Capital Crescent Trail at ~11.5 min/mi pace, Jupiter glowing brilliant in the southern sky. At the golf course a creature, perhaps a fox, darts across the path in front of me. Then a bat flits past my forehead, swerving in search of bugs. A slight fog reflects back the light's beam and yesterday evening's thunderstorms have left the trail slightly soggy. It's still dark when I arrive at the water fountain plaza, refill my bottle, and return to the parking lot. Gayatri Datta has just arrived, and at 5am we set off on the CCT.

Gayatri and I chat about families, injuries, training programs, friends, etc. Soon it's light enough to see without my flashlight. I point out a DC Boundary Stone ("NW4"—see [1]) near the trail as we cross from Maryland into the District of Columbia. Cyclists begin to pass by us. Gayatri hasn't run much for the past week or so but we maintain a good ~11 min/mi pace down to mile marker 8.5 past Fletcher's Boathouse, pausing to refill bottles at the Dalecarlia fountain. Our return trip is slightly faster. Gayatri tells me of her broken shoulder, her plans to run the Richmond Marathon, and past races she has enjoyed. At her car she finds her sweatband, dropped on the asphalt in the dark and untouched for ~2 hours. She heads home to get ready for a family trip to Niagara Falls.

I'm totally soaked now with sweat but the old legs feel frisky, so I accelerate and do the final four miles home at ~9.5 min/mi pace. Sunbeams lance through the trees and speckle the path. After the Rock Creek trestle the scattered light is so bright that at one point it looks as though there's a gray hill rising steeply ahead of me. Then a ghostly cyclist rides through the slope and spoils the illusion.

^z - 2009-07-06