"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Is that a quote from Herodotus? Or an inscription on the US Postal Service's classic New York building, designed by the same McKim architectural firm that created the Boston Public Library's original edifice? Or is it the mantra of the dedicated long-distance runner-in-training?

Answer: all of the above! And the same words correlate well with another rabidly rugged outdoorism:

"There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing."

I agree --- in the wintertime. But when temperature and humidity zoom, alas, I find it tough to come up with a garment solution that won't get me arrested. Fortunately, after my 31 October 2004 Marine Corps Marathon melt-down the local environment has taken a turn toward dry cold ... and that has pushed my recent runs into the blissful zone again. For the record:

2004-11-03 - Leaf Blower Day

10+ miles, 110 minutes --- cool weather moves in, and makes all the difference for a brisk mid-afternoon jog (from home via Georgetown Branch, MitP course, and Rock Creek trail) with 7 measured miles at an average 10:16 pace (+/- 13 seconds) ... three gasoline-engine-powered mega-leaf blowers under/near the Trestle offer the main hazard (airborne dust) ... alas, at mile 8 suddenly I hit, if not The Wall, at least The Curb (low blood sugar?) ... abrupt energy loss leads to much walking and ~13 min/mi on home stretch ... wildlife: one deer on the other side of Rock Creek ...

(correlates: 2004-11-06 - Fallen Leaf Forest Floor, FractalWalls, 2008-07-12 - Candy Cane Trail Run, ...)

2004-11-06 - Fallen Leaf Forest Floor

11+ miles, 137 minutes --- A crisp-cool afternoon jog from home (via Dale, Colesville, and Sligo Creek) to Piney Branch Road and New Hampshire, where I join the Northwest Branch Trail and head upstream. Ocher-dun leaves blanket the path and make footing treacherous where they conceal rocks and crevices further north after the pavement ends. Signs say that the trail is closed for sewer repair (October-February) but the bright orange plastic fences are low and easy to climb over, and the route seems no more hazardous than usual. As I approach the Colesville Road crossing I meet three ladies, each walking big German shepherds. Sirens indicate police and ambulance activity, which backs up traffic and makes it impossible for me to cross Colesville, so I jog along the median to Four Corners and thence home via Forest Glen Road, arriving just before sunset.

(correlates: StaticActors, 2004-11-03 - Leaf Blower Day, MathAndSex, ...)

2004-11-10 - WOD Luncheon

5+ miles, 55 minutes --- a nice cool day, and the noon break (from a class I'm taking in the Reston area) gives me enough time to jog ~0.7 miles to the Washington & Old Dominion trail where it crosses Sunset Hills Road. I head east, from milepost 16 to 14 and then reverse course. Average pace for the first half of the journey is ~9:20, but I tire and the second half is ~10:30, still quite fast for me historically. "Rod" overtakes me near the end and introduces himself.

(correlates: SpasmodicHercules, 2008-07-19 - WOD Trail Trek, 2007-09-15 - AT Point-to-Point, ...)

2004-11-11 - Lockout

11+ miles, 134 minutes --- cool afternoon loop (Northwest Branch - Northeast Branch - Paint Branch - University of Maryland) with a camera. Starting at the park near mile 4 of the NW Branch, I take over 100 photos of creeks, bridges, trees, towers, and mileposts along the way. The first segment averages ~13 min/mi pace and includes many stops and diversions to snap pictures. Then my camera batteries begin to run down so I skip more of the photo ops and average ~11 min/mi thereafter. Alas, when I get back to the car I discover that I am carrying the key to start the engine, not the key to unlock the doors. An embarrassed call home and Paulette comes to save me. Fortunately there's no wind, so although I get goosebumps during the wait, I'm not terminally chilled. A crowd of Hispanic guys play soccer as the sun sets and their girlfriends sit and watch. I shiver ...

(correlates: 2008-10-08 - Butter and Eggs, BirdySunset, ComicFilters, ...)

2004-11-13 - Wonderful Windy Weather

14+ miles, 167 minutes --- another big loop from home (via Georgetown Branch to Rock Creek Trail, south along Beach Drive to Military Road, then west to Western Avenue to River Road, arriving at Georgetown Branch Trail near mile marker 4.5; thence home again). Cool and comfortable; the first five miles glide by at ~11:30 pace, and the final five at ~11:00. Considerable walking in the middle segment lowers the overall speed.

I carry a digital camera and take zero pictures; I begin by wearing a hat and take it off after the first couple of miles. Heavy rain the previous day bequeaths big puddles to the paths. Creeks are engorged and muddy. Autumn leaves accumulate, then scatter when the wind whips them. MINI Cooper count: 1, on Military Road near Chevy Chase. I drink a bottle of Gatorade before setting out (~10am), and consume a Clif Bar and ~32 oz. of water en route ...

(correlates: BirdBrains, 2004-11-06 - Fallen Leaf Forest Floor, 2008-09-07 - Needwood RCT Taper, ...)

TopicRunning - TopicPersonalHistory - 2004-11-16

(correlates: HerodotusOnThePersianPost, Boston Public Library, 2004-11-03 - Leaf Blower Day, ...)