So much greed, so little space on the back of t-shirts. I'm saddened to report that a major sponsor of the Marine Corps Marathon has been censured for selling heavily-loaded mutual-fund investment plans to military personnel: contractual programs that took as much as half of the victim's money in fees during the first year. And that company's logo is still prominent on the MCM's web pages, as well as on the past several years of race paraphernalia.

Rather an embarrassment, I should think --- like the universities that labeled buildings in honor of criminal donors, the museums that accepted expensive artifacts from tax evaders, and the cities that named sports arenas to honor now-bankrupt crooked corporations. (see also SomethingToSell (14 Apr 2002), For Themselves (8 Jun 2003), MaxHeadroom (11 Sep 2003), CircusSponsorus (10 Oct 2003), MoneyOlympics (29 Aug 2004), ConspicuousAnticonsumption (17 Sep 2004), ...)

Meanwhile, here there are no commercials ... just boring notes on the past fortnight's worth of jogs through the woods and along the streams of my extended neighborhood.

2004-12-02 - Blazing Cool Afternoon

6+ miles @ ~10 min/mi

Far faster than I usually can go, from Chez^z to Rock Creek Trail mile 3, then blasting along MitP miles 22-24 at a 9:24 pace and home via Georgetown Branch. I take off work an hour early to get a run in before daughter's concert tonight and to enjoy the lovely weather. My average pace is definitely sub-10:00, amazing for a turtle like me ...

2004-12-04 - Sligo - Glenmont - Rock Creek Orbit

16+ miles @ 11+ min/mi

Saturday afternoon is lovely, cool and dry, so I experiment with a new loop: from home via Forest Glen to Sligo Creek Trail, which I follow northward into Wheaton Regional Park. As usual, I become confused and take at least three wrong turns on the winding paths and do an extra mile or so --- but I tell myself not to worry, as per the advice of Eric Clifton.

Eventually I get untangled and find my way to the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Randolph Road; following the latter over hill and dale arrive at Rock Creek, terra cognita for me. Homeward bound along Rock Creek Trail, five measured official miles (MitP 15-20) zip by at a 10:35 pace --- but of course since I know that they're calibrated miles I go faster than I might otherwise!

Today's jog concludes the second 30 mile week in a row, and thus far the old body hasn't totally fallen apart ... so perhaps there's a chance for me to survive with a bit more mileage than my traditional wimpy (20-ish) figure ...

2004-12-12 - Jingle Bell Jog and Sinkhole Sally

13+ miles @ 11+ min/mi

Pride goeth before shin splints. Do my two consecutive 30 mile weeks trigger mysterious pains in my lower right leg starting on Wednesday? Whether or not there is a causal connection, I immediately commence an aggressive policy of resting, and thus do no running for 7 days. But Sunday brings a conjunction of events: the 8k MCRRC "Jingle Bell Jog", comrade Ken Swab's birthday, and the cancellation of a planned visit by ultrarunner Morgan Windram and her friend Karen. Morgan (aka Morgana; see MorganWindram100MilerReport etc.) calls on Saturday afternoon to report that the Hellgate 100k has proved more challenging than expected, so she and Karen aren't driving all the way back from southwest Virginia to crash on the Che^z couches that evening.

Since the phantom pains have left my ankle I decide to accompany Ken on the Jingle Bell Jog. We have a good time, setting a fairly steady pace of a trifle over 11 minutes/mile which gives Ken a new personal record for the distance by more than 2 minutes. (Somehow, KS seems to be able to run without doing any significant training; I am less fortunate.) As usual the MCRRC race is superbly organized, and after noshing and schmoozing (Hi Way-No!)and riding back with Ken, I arrive at home still feeling frisky.

Rumor has it that a huge sinkhole has opened up in downtown Bethesda, so I decide to jog over there to check it out. The run goes well, average ~10:30 pace with no walk breaks and only minimal pauses at major road crossings. Alas, my extra half-mile detour to see the pit full of monster SUV debris is a disappointment; apparently the hole has already been patched. Double-alas, the water fountain near mile 3.5 of the Georgetown Branch Trail is nonfunctional --- but fortunately the weather is cool enough that I survive ~8.5 miles without a drink.

2004-12-14 - Frigid Flood

5+ miles @ 12- min/mi

With temperatures hovering a degree or two above freezing and winds gusting to 20 mph, I pile on the layers and feel just right: a little too warm when there's no breeze, a trifle chilly when the zephyrs blow in my face. Cheap tights form the foundation, followed by two pairs of shorts, two shirts, two sets of gloves, and a loosely knitted cap.

It's headlamp time, as a crescent moon plays peek-a-boo with the clouds low in the west. Georgetown Branch Trail takes me to MitP mile 24, and I then hook back to MitP 22 and return home. A couple of snowflakes kiss my face. I scan the woods for deer and rabbits, but they're too smart to be out tonight.

The excitement comes with a couple of miles to go, when I discover a water main break on Jones Bridge Road has flooded a segment of Rock Creek Trail a few inches deep. My socks and shoes are soaked, but thanks to thick Thorlos and the wet-suit effect, the old feet remain comfy warm. My pace is decent, ~10:45. I consume a bottle of Gatorade en route and finish in plenty of time to attend the Montgomery County Coin Club meeting [1] later in the evening.

2004-12-16 - Emerald Eyes

11 miles @ 10+ min/mi

Another comfortable night run around my usual Bethesda loop (GB/NIH/RCT), with temps ~40F and little wind. I jog bare-legged, but wear double layers of shorts, shirts, and gloves, with white garments on the outside to maximize visibility

After ~15 minutes bright glowing yin-yang-shaped afterimages develop to block much of my field of view for the next half hour as they grow and spread; are they OcularMigraines? Fortunately the route is familiar, the terrain is fairly flat, and my headlamp is strong. Although I miss one of the mile markers, after I jog through a foggy tunnel for half an hour the aura fades, leaving no apparent ill effects.

Average pace for the first four miles is ~10:55, but I get energized when I reach Rock Creek and blast out miles 8 & 9 in the sub-9:40 zone. I carry a bottle of Gatorade and sip it along the way, in anticipation of inoperative fountains.

About mile 9 I hear a crunching noise in the brush to my right. When I turn my head to look, a pair of bright green eyes stares back at me: a big deer about 10 feet off the trail, coming up from the stream to feed in the meadow. Shortly thereafter I spy two more pairs of green retroreflecting dots, lower and closer-set. It's probably her fawns ...

2004-12-18 - Frosty Beard

13+ miles @ 10+ min/mi

Robin has his final final exam this morning at UM, so after getting up at 0430 to do the family laundry I return home, change into double shorts and single windshirt, gather up the rest of my gear plus a Gatorade, and give my younger son a ride to College Park. It's another fine opportunity to run the PG County trail system for a few hours.

Thermodynamics, the topic of Robin's exam, is an appropriate theme this morning: the brown grass is covered with frost and glitters gemlike in the morning sun. Temperatures are in the upper-20's when I set out at 8am, rising to a bit above freezing during the next couple of hours. Four deer peer at me near mile 1 of the Paint Branch Trail, then bolt noisily through the bracken. A bit later I discover small lumps of ice in my beard, frozen condensate from my excessive panting.

I trot along at steady 10:15 pace, plus or minus ~15 seconds based on 20 half-mile splits recorded between markers. To lengthen my usual 11-mile loop (Paint Branch, Northeast Branch, Northwest Branch, University Boulevard, UM Campus) I add a little tail, an out-and-back jaunt ~1.2 miles each way on the Anacostia River Trail. It's a nice path with some hills, but at one point on it I slip and almost fall on a frozen puddle.

As I cross little wooden bridges over the creeks I see zig-zag patterns on the boards, where shadows from the latticework have protected the frost from the rising sun's beams. Back on the Northwest Branch just north of the West Hyattsville Metro station I spy a 1961 Lincoln cent, face-up, on the asphalt. Alas, it's rather worn and not a rare die variety.

TopicRunning - TopicPersonalHistory - 2004-12-19

(correlates: SalesPitch, 2008-08-17 - CM on the CCT, 2004-11-13 - Wonderful Windy Weather, ...)