Ducky Rock Creek Trail

A pair of mallard ducks, male and female, are paddling along Rock Creek Trail in front of me, traversing a mega-puddle (or mini-pond) left by early morning rains. I'm putting in a few extra miles on my way to a low-key footrace this Saturday morning. As I approach the ducks they lumber into flight, then glide around a curve out of view. When I round the corner I discover that they've landed in another small lake. This time they let me trot past, a few feet away from them on the soggy grass at one side of their temporary habitat. Notes on that run, plus other recent jog log entries:

2008-05-01 - Purple Line Jaunt

3+ miles @ ~13 min/mi

Today I take off the afternoon, take Paulette shopping for plants at the nursery, pick up a couple of kids from UM, and decide to try the Purple Line jaunt, the same route as two days ago (cf. Sharp Focus) but this time in the opposite direction. I begin with the fantasy of taking five minutes off the 44 minute time it took me yesterday, but after quite an effort I return home only a little under 43 minutes after my departure. It's a warmer afternoon, but in compensation I know the course now and am wearing light ("Nike Free") slipper-shoes. Plants have almost overgrown the path in several places, significantly more than on Tuesday.

2008-05-03 - Lake Bernard Frank

4+ miles @ ~14-15 min/mi

Just after dawn a herd of whitetail deer eyes Caren and me with suspicion. We're jogging around Lake Bernard Frank; I more-or-less remember the route of the "Frozen Slopes" MCRRC race five months ago, with some emphasis on the word less. At about half of the intersections I make a wrong choice; we do a lot of backtracking. Nevertheless, the "Lakeside Trail" forms the majority of our counter-clockwise circuit. Two ladies going clockwise meet us about a mile into our journey, and again roughly at the three mile point. After losing the trail on the east side we leap between stones across a tributary creek and rejoin it, but head the wrong way and a quarter mile later recognize a wooden bridge we crossed early on our journey. We see more deer, probably the same ones who monitored our progress almost an hour earlier. Reversing course again we find a trail back to our starting point. ...

2008-05-04 - Frozen Slopes 5k XC Race

3+ miles @ ~12 min/mi & ~7 miles @ 14-15 min/mi

A tricky tree root trips Christina halfway through this morning's MCRRC "Frozen Slopes" 5k cross-country race. We're running together when she goes down, fortunately in a not-too-rocky segment of the course; her scraped knee and bruised arm should soon heal. We finish, tend her injuries, and then I set off with Caren again down the Cabin John Stream Valley Trail, starting this time at the end of the parking lot. We get lost at Democracy Blvd trying to find the path, first directly across the road from the tennis courts and again on Seven Locks Rd — both times we turn back a little too soon to spy the blazes. But after doing an extra half mile or so we locate the trail and proceed downstream to Bradley Blvd, admire the old mill house, and trot back without all the detours.

2008-05-07 - Bethesda Trolley Preview

~5 miles @ ~10 min/mi

Christina Caravoulias & Pat Maloney invite me to walk the Bethesda Trolley 5 Miler course with them on Wednesday evening, in preparation for Saturday morning's race. I get home early enough to jog the five miles to our rendezvous point via Rock Creek Trail, and for unknown reasons feel quite good. Two middle miles along RCT flow by at 9:33 and 9:40, unusually fast for me (though of course, perhaps it was the coffee I drank earlier in the afternoon, or the level course, or the fact that I knew those measured miles were being timed!). At the Maplewood Alta Vista Community Center, where the MCRRC club race starts/finishes, I sit and take off my shoes to remove some pebbles and let my toes air out while I await Chris and Pat. The walk is pleasant and takes us about 95 minutes, including a brief side excursion when we take a wrong turn. We chat, joke about various running hazards, and see two good-sized rabbits as well as some architecturally interesting homes.

2008-05-10 - Bethesda Trolley Race Plus

4+ miles @ ~12 min/mi & 5- miles @ ~11 min/mi

My plan is to run on real trails in Rock Creek Park with Mary Ewell, but she wakes up ill, so after we chat at 6am it's time for Plan B-for-Bethesda: the MCRRC Bethesda Trolley Race. Like Wednesday I jog there from home to add some warm-up miles. Unlike Wednesday, today it's raining and I go at a comfortable pace, take all available short cuts, avoid flooded areas as much as feasible, and salute the ducks swimming along Rock Creek Trail. Approaching the start/finish area I spy a medium-sized rabbit on a neighborhood lawn. At 8am Christina Carvoulias and Don Libes and I line up together. We trot along, joking and having fun, with mile splits of 11:04 + 10:51 + 10:21 + 11:34 and then 9:56 for the final fraction, a total of about 53:45 for me.

2008-05-11 - Paint Branch Speedwork

4 miles @ ~9 min/mi

Early this Mother's Day afternoon I take Paulette to a cello recital at the UM campus. My plan is speedwork on the track, but the gates to Kehoe Field are inexplicably locked, so I alternate "fast" and "slow" between half-mile markers along Paint Branch Trail, starting at milepost 1.5 and proceeding upstream to marker 3.5 and back. My first half mile is 3:33, much too fast for me to sustain. During that leg a big muskrat looks at me and shambles away toward the creek. The remaining outbound legs are 4:52, 3:55, and 5:07. I turn around and do 3:53, 5:15, 3:45, and a 5:06 cooldown. My intention to do a few more intervals fades as a cool drizzle begins and my legs become tired. This speedwork is tough!

(cf. Icy Half Marathon (2008-01-25), Thirteen Eagles (2008-01-28), Seneca Creek Stumble (2008-02-03), Comfortably Numb (2008-03-13), Sunrise Service at Seneca Creek (2008-03-24), Sharp Focus (2008-04-30), ...) - ^z - 2008-05-12

(correlates: ArgumentByItalics, 2005-11-03 - PBT at Night, Comments on Rocky Run, ...)