2012-08-25 - Rock Creek Park with Alyssa and Tim

~19 miles @ ~13.4 min/mi

"When you're with another person," Tim Coté says, "there's really three there: you, the other person, and The Relationship." Alyssa Soumoff and I are trekking along with Tim this cool but humid Saturday morning in Rock Creek Park, and he's philosophizing. We chat about families, marriages, the meaning of "perfunctory", how to use words to establish dominance, how the new Weight Watchers point system system works (fruit is "free", except for bananas, avocados, and cocoanuts) and a flock of other things. Both Tim and Alyssa are physicians — pathologist and psychiatrist respectively — so the discussion often goes technical and touches upon HIV, PKU, psychosomatic symptoms, and other maladies. Meanwhile both of my chatty companions set a pace rather too fast for me. In turn I manage to lead us off course multiple times.

As the Garmin GPS trackfile shows, we start in the gloom at 6am from Candy Cane City. On the Western Ridge Trail in Rock Creek Park I glimpse a gray toad as it hops away from the path. We digress to visit the horse stables near Bingham Dr in search of a restroom, but the building is closed; I donate a paper towel to a companion in need. After Military Rd and the Nature Center I guide us astray onto a horse trail that ends at a rocky stream. Alyssa takes my hand to clamber up a steep slope.

Disoriented we turn right instead of left on Broad Branch Rd and go half a mile up 27th St NW before I consult the iPhone map and get us turned around. A pair of helpful local runners set us on course to Beach Dr and Pearce Mill. From there I lead us down the "strenuous" super-steep continuation of the Western Ridge Trail on the west bank of Rock Creek, but then fail to remember how to connect to the Valley Trail. Rebecca Rosenberg calls and I tell her we're lost; I'm guilty of missing our planned rendezvous at 7:30am and not warning her. We continue south through the National Zoo and down Rock Creek Pkwy almost to the Kennedy Center before I give up. We turn back after tagging the M St bridge.

Now I'm seriously worn out. At the Zoo I take the tunnel short-cut and walk to the water fountain, where I await Tim and Alyssa. The fountain isn't working so we go further in to refill bottles at the restrooms. A vending machine in the men's room sells mini-glow-sticks — hmmm! I'm seriously dehydrated and bonking now. Alyssa kindly gives me one of her energy gels, banana flavored, which along with my last Succeed! e-cap and my last Atomic Fireball keeps me moving, albeit slowly.

Continuing upstream, this time on the eastern bank, finally we discover the Valley Trail starting point. Son Merle phones to report that he's in Los Angeles, on his way to Burning Man. A mile or so along it is plenty for me: I excuse myself and join Beach Dr to jog and walk 4+ miles back to our start. Alyssa and Tim do an extra mile and a lot of steep hills on their trail route.

After the run I enjoy an orange recovery lunch: Cheetos, Tofu Pups, and a heritage tomato picked up at the Silver Spring Farmers Market today, with a near-beer to rehydrate.

^z - 2012-09-10