26 April 2004: Today Paulette picks up her Mini Cooper (thank you, Brian, for pre-purchase consultations!) and lets me ride in the back to the Levine School of Music in DC near Connecticut and Upton NW, where our daughter has rehearsals and lessons this afternoon/evening. On 17 April I did a "Big G" arc from Che^Z to Levine (see BigGeeAndOtherJogs). I complete that circuit now via a "Capital J" route back to Silver Spring. The jaunt begins southbound from the music school to and along Rock Creek past the Jusserand Memorial, and shortly thereafter turns east to join the Valley Trail (blue blazes) and then heads north --- forming the shape of a dyspeptic sans-serif letter "J". (And speaking of dyspepsia, footnote to self from today's experience: don't eat more than half a dozen fried onion rings before a long run.)

Two hours after the start I knock on the door at home. A steady drip-drip-drizzle feels comfortable to trot along in. I get overheated during the first few miles and begin to see slight afterimage-style visual disturbances, so I slow down, walk on the hills, and take off my hat until I cool down. I shout "Bully!" at Pulpit Rock, where the Teddy Roosevelt Trail intersects the Valley Trail.

Rock Creek is high from heavy rains earlier in the day: turbid, turgid, and turbulent. But the pathway is surprisingly free of mud. Perhaps natural drainage does its magic more effectively along less-beaten routes such as this one? A huge fallen tree blockades the track at one point, but I detour toward the roots and manage to scramble over it, taking care to avoid poison ivy during my excursion.

Near Rolling Meadow Bridge where the Park Service has blocked off the trail I pause. On 4 April I turned aside at this point (see InnerPurpleLine), but today I take courage from Adam's comments about the severely eroded but nonetheless passable state of the landscape north of here. I also remember a remark in Sylvia Nasar's A Beautiful Mind, the biography of John Nash which I'm currently reading. In Chapter 4 Nasar writes of the Princeton grad student dorm:

... At one point, a seemingly unnecessary rule was handed down that residents of the Graduate College were not allowed to entertain a woman past midnight. The very few students who actually had girlfriends interpreted the rule literally to mean that a woman could be in the room, but couldn't be entertained. ...

So likewise, as I read the official sign's instruction to "Please" leave the trail and proceed on the other side of the stream, I interpret that word "Please" to mean "If you please", i.e., an option, rather than a SigilOfPower barrier. I choose to continue. The path turns out to be quite navigable, with only a few risky-looking places, all easily handled. 87 minutes after setting out I reach the end of the Valley Trail at Boundary Bridge on the DC line. The first measured mile along Rock Creek Trail thereafter passes in a brisk 10:33. I drink at the fountain north of East-West Highway and chug along the Georgetown Branch back to home base, with a final uphill mile-plus on neighborhood streets in 11:04. Total estimated distance 9+ miles; total time 121 minutes. Fear the turtle?

(see RockCreekValleyTrail (30 Apr 2004) for a poetic description of this same journey ...)

TopicRunning - TopicPersonalHistory - TopicHumor - 2004-05-05

(correlates: Rock Creek Valley Trail, Winter Wardrobe, BeautifulMind, ...)