2012-10-21 - Metropolitan Branch Kicking with Stephanie

~10 miles @ ~10.6 min/mi

Stephanie Fonda kicking high on the MBT
How can Stephanie and the dancer on the wall lean back so much farther and kick so much higher than I? Is it their youth, balance, and flexibility? Or maybe the, um, lovely counterweights that they bear? See 2012-06-10 - Metropolitan Branch Trail to Clair for an image of this painting as of 4 months ago, in significantly better condition then.)
"Ow!" Near Catholic University I wave at the lady policeman and immediately run into a telephone pole guy wire, nearly unmanning myself in the process. Luckily the cable catches only left hand and thigh, so I survive with minimal bruising and light abrasion. Whew!

I promise Stephanie Fonda an adventure, and the Metropolitan Branch Trail delivers. We set off from my front steps at 7:30am, proceeding as I've done several times before to downtown Silver Spring. Our goal is a gentle tune-up before the Marine Corps Marathon next weekend, so we try to hold the pace to 11-12 min/mi. We discuss the MCM race plan; I remind Stephanie of my chart showing 17 marathons, only 3 of which had negative splits, all 3 of which resulted in PBs. Perhaps we should start slowly?

Along the MBT we see decorative benches and other public artwork (cf. 2012-06-10 - Metropolitan Branch Trail to Clair). Stephanie wonders whether big pipes, arranged obliquely at a construction site, are sculptural? We do our best to stay on course and mostly succeed. The MBT signs are tiny and far apart, however, so blasting down the long Fort Totten St hill we overshoot a turn and have to backtrack. Discussing drugs for pain relief I speculate that placebo effects are significant for some runners. Stephanie tells of her daughter Haven's injury some years ago while kayaking and her plaintive cry, "I need a PLACEBO!" Her mother taught her well, it seems.

As we pass the big industrial-trash-dump Fort Totten Transfer Station I tell Stephanie that I think it's a cement plant — and she notes politely but with a grin that I pronounce the word "SEE-ment", thereby revealing my southern US origins. Guilty as charged! We share bites of a "Peanut Toffee Buzz" Clif Bar during the run. Is my fondness for peanuts also a regional heritage?

After nine miles the MBT passes near the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station, and with only a bit over a mile to go I challenge Stephanie to pick up the pace. "I bet you a cup of coffee that you can't go under 10 minutes for the next mile!" How wrong I was: the Garmin on my wrist says "8:17" when we finish that sprint. Wow!

We cooldown-walk to Union Station and, my treat, share a cup of excellent java from Au Bon Pain before riding the train back to Forest Glen, then walking home. Garmin GPS splits are 10:28 + 11:09 + 10:21 + 10:30 + 9:40 + 11:14 + 10:42 + 10:28 + 12:41 + 8:17 (!) — Runkeeper GPS is quite similar.

^z - 2012-11-11