2009-12-27 - Icy CCT

9+ miles @ ~11 min/mi

In the overnight parking/maintenance lot a fleet of buses idles noisily, fog rising above them, at 0655 as I crunch past on the Capital Crescent Trail headed west. Dawn glows fuchsia in the southeast and I can make out a few of the ice hazards underfoot. Parts of the CCT are clear, in various cases due to recent rain, sunlight, salty runoff from nearby roads, reflected heat from local buildings, or public-spirited shoveling. Other parts of the trail are refrozen-slippery, and though the bank thermometer and the official NOAA weather page say temperatures are in the mid-to-upper 30's, frosty patches on cars and puddles testify otherwise.

I manage not to fall in the dark, in spite of several "Oops!" moments, and arrive safely in downtown Bethesda (~4 miles @ ~11.7 min/mi). Other runners are getting ready to venture out and we chat about the relative treachery of the trail surface in various directions. Then Emaad Burki and Alyssa Smith arrive, followed soon by Ken Swab and then CM Manlandro. Everyone is wearing tights except me. We admire the flashy harlequin-checkered Eric Clifton leggings that Santa brought Ken, and proceed southwest. Ken and I take the lead, chattering about the Miwok 100k in California. It's Ken's next big race, on 1 May 2010.

After about 0.7 miles we look behind us and see Emaad, Alyssa, and CM far in the distance. Returning to them we learn that for multiple reasons they don't actually want to get seriously damaged today. Emaad and Alyssa both are recovering from injuries (hip and calf problems, respectively) and have the Disney Marathon in a few weeks. CM is young and would have more years to suffer than the rest of us if she got hurt. So we head back cautiously and proceed through the CCT tunnel under Wisconsin Av to the next mile marker (~12 min/mi pace).

The rest of the group sees the icy trail ahead and decides to run along plowed/salted neighborhood streets to get their mileage in. I continue homeward, but in the light of day realize how dangerous the ice was that I couldn't see before sunrise. The final miles are relatively clear, however, so I accelerate to do them in 10:35 and 9:14 respectively. Belatedly I discover that my water bottle has bounced out of my fanny pack somewhere near the Columbia Country Club. It was ~7 years old, a giveaway from RnJ sports, with duct tape and a rubber band around it. May it rest in peace.

^z - 2010-01-01