2010-08-21 - Megan's Loop Plus

~27.8 miles @ ~14 min/mi

In the gloom at 0545 I suddenly see the big stag, with magnificent rack of antlers, eying me from a few feet away at the fork in the Capital Crescent Trail near Grubb Rd. "Hi big guy!" I tell him as I trot past, hoping not to antagonize him into knocking me down. A few miles later the rabbit hopping across the path is far less scary. I'm trekking to downtown Bethesda, as seems to have become usual, early on a Saturday morning to join Rebecca Rosenberg's "Bethesda Rebel Runners" crew for a long pleasant ramble along Rock Creek and back. The Rebels are spin-off descendant of a Jeff Galloway marathon training group many years ago.

Megan Barker, a relatively new member of the posse, is cheerfully preparing for her first marathon: San Francisco, later this year. This is her second 20 mile run so Rebecca and I give her our free advice, which consists of comments on various things plus the repeated admonition to Start Slowly and not get carried away during the first half of the race. Far easier said than done, of course! Today on a warm, humid, Code Orange air quality day we set out too fast and by mile 15 Megan is exhausted. Everyone other than the three of us has branched off at or before the National Zoo: Tom from New Zealand, sports physician and 2:48 marathoner visiting from the UK; Tom's friend Stephanie; Megan #1; comrade Barry Smith; and a new fellow who falls in with us, Nick of Bethesda, former hash harrier getting back into shape years after his single marathon.

Onward we go, slowing down and mostly walking on the CCT as Megan negotiates a peace treaty with The Wall. Like eager puppies, Rebecca and I take turns running ahead and then back to give our legs some bonus training. We catch up with MCRRC's Sharlene Deskins who's likewise walking and join her in the trek. Finally in Bethesda where we started we wish Megan and Sharlene well. (They recover quickly, I later learn.) Rebecca offers me a ride home. I gratefully accept, and salute her "Leave No One Behind" spirit. She swears me to secrecy concerning the condition of her car's interior. I can say no more.

^z - 2010-09-04