Game SET Match

SET is a clever game of intersecting patterns. My wife Paulette introduced the playing-card version of SET to the family some years ago, and more recently running partner Christina Caravoulias led me to the online daily solitaire SET puzzle. Occasionally she and I play it and compare our times. On Memorial Day morning I'm up pre-dawn, preparing for a run, and am surprised to find early riser Christina online. At 4:30am after we chat a bit I type, "hang on, I will try SET --- back in 10 min" (a comic exaggeration of my anticipated time, usually 2-5 minutes). While playing I hear an incoming-msg chirp: fast Chris has finished the entire SET challenge in 37 seconds! It takes me two minutes longer. I tease her ("buy a lottery ticket!") and applaud her victory, then head out for a jog before today's race. Log entries for that and other recent excursions:

2008-05-22 - Sue and Connie's Run Rehearsal

4 miles @ ~11 min/mi

On Thursday evening son Robin & I arrive about 6:45pm at the starting line of Sue & Connie's Run, an MCRRC 4-miler on Memorial Day Monday. We scout the area using a downloaded course map. Soon Christina Caravoulias arrives and (as is becoming a tradition with us) we commence running the course together --- a preview of the race that will take place in four days. Robin pauses at mid-course for us to do an out-and-back and rejoin him. Chris and I trot along, stop a the Aspen Hill Park water fountain as a simulated "aid station", and enjoy ourselves this cool spring evening. We push hard on the final hill and are rather amazed to finish in less than 45 minutes. Apparently the Speed Development Program that Christina did has paid dividends!

2008-05-24 - PHT and CJT

~9 miles @ ~17 min/mi + ~10 miles @ ~16 min/mi

The Turkey Run Park gate is shut at 7:15am on Saturday morning, so Mary Ewell and I drive to the endpoint of the Potomac Heritage Trail (mile 10) on Live Oak Dr. We amble for 77 minutes downstream to the signpost at the end of the woods within sight of Route 123, and then take 77 minutes to go upstream, averaging just under 18 min/mi assuming we went the official 8.6 miles --- but I think we go a little faster than that, and a little farther. At the riverside we see a strange concrete pillar. The monolith, according to the PHT guide, is "a water gauge (mile 7.2) [which] recorded the river levels from the 1930s to the 1960s." On our return journey we take the red-blazed "Woods Trail" through Turkey Run Park. I slip and fall on the Potomac mud, but catch myself on one hand.

At about 2:10pm on Saturday afternoon Caren Jew and I meet at the county tennis courts on Democracy Blvd near Seven Locks Rd. We run south on the Cabin John Trail, 79 minutes out and 80 minutes back. Along the way we see four chipmunks (or two chipmunks twice each?) and scare a doe in the brush as we approach Seven Locks Rd after crossing River Rd (Caren says, "Sorry, deer!"). I entertain Caren with stories about crazy/dysfunctional members of various friends' families, and provide a mini-review of the third movie in the "Indiana Jones" series: they steal and destroy far too much private propert: cars, camels, horses, etc. ... not to mention priceless archæological artifacts!

Our splits: Democracy Blvd 25 min to Bradley Rd + 19 min to River Rd + 35 min to turnaround @ Red Flamingo House Trailer in the woods + 36 min to River Rd + 17 min to Bradley Rd + 27 min to finish at Democracy Blvd.

2008-05-26 - Rock Creek Trail plus Sue and Connie's Run

~9.5 miles @ ~10.5 min/mi + 4 miles @ ~11 min/mi

At 5am I mix up a 10x strength batch of Zelectrolyte syrup for the gel mini-bottle on my new fanny pack. By 0543 it's light outside and I set off from Rock Creek Valley Elementary School, following the course of Sue & Connie's Run at first, then continuing northward along Rock Creek Trail. At Lake Needwood I turn left and follow the Westside Trail, from which I see the sunrise and aircraft contrails reflected on the water's surface. Along the way I spy about one deer/mile, several gaggles of geese, and a great blue heron standing in the shallow water by the eastern shore. Two archers practice their target shooting at a bow-and-arrow range near the lake. My splits: from the school to RCT milepost 12 in 14:03 + to milepost 13 in 10:52 + to milepost 14 in 10:42 + around Lake Needwood and back to RCT milepost 14 in 33:02 + to milepost 13 in 10:23 + to milepost 12 in 9:52 + to Sue & Connie's mile 1 in 2:30 + to S&C's starting line in 9:09.

Half an hour later during the actual S&C race my mile splits are 10:23 + 10:47 + 11:20 + 11:57 to finish in 44+ minutes. Christina Caravoulias & Sharyn Gordon & Ken Swab & Don Libes & I jog comfortably together. The race goes well, though it is a bit too warm and humid for Chris and me. Ken & I keep up a steady banter, to the amusement (I hope!) of all within earshot. During the final uphill sprint to the finish line, Ken picks up and throws an egg (ok, it was a mostly-empty eggshell) at me, and with unerring aim hits me on the head. "Lawyer! Lawyer!" I cry. (Both Ken and Don are attorneys.) Former-sandbagger comrade Wayne Carson comes out of the closet and runs fast, a few seconds over 30 minutes. Good job, all!

(cf. Seneca Creek Stumble (2008-02-03), Comfortably Numb (2008-03-13), Sunrise Service at Seneca Creek (2008-03-24), Sharp Focus (2008-04-30), Ducky Rock Creek Trail (2008-05-12), Catoctin Trail Trek (2008-05-19), ...)) - ^z - 2008-05-27

(correlates: 2008-07-11 - MidSummer Night's Mile, CatchAndRelease, DependentVariables, ...)