2011-07-24 - Purple Trail

~8 miles @ ~15.4 min/mi

"Boobs! It's a woman!" — "No, I think it's a man with gynecomastia!" — "Look at her hair!" — "But that face!" A runner heading the other way provokes a friendly gender debate between Mary Ewell and me. We reach no conclusion. Similarly, our analysis of mystery rashes is unresolved. "Acne Rosacea!" — "Pityriasis Rosea!" — "Lyme Disease!" — "Excess Iron!" There's just not enough evidence to reach an answer.

We begin our trek ~10am at my front steps. A cold shower and multiple glasses of ice water after this morning's earlier run prepare me. On the way to Rock Creek Mary suggests we explore the rugged "Purple Line", a neighborhood trail that the Authorities have tried to eradicate by painting over violet blazes or chiseling them away. Mary swears that she has been on it before, but I find no record of that in my notes. Perhaps it was a walk and didn't get logged? Multiple blowdowns, eroded gullies, muddy streams, and overgrown brush force us to bushwhack. We proceed southwards, cross the bridge near Winkler's Meadow, and return along the western bank. "This is training for us to do the Barkley Marathons!" We're both sweat-soaked now in the late-morning heat, and take Succeed! e-caps to restore electrolytes. At the Beltway we proceed along Rock Creek Trail to Cedar Lane, pausing to refill bottles at every opportunity. We pour water over our heads to cool down.

"You're so happy! Such a great smile!" says a woman we meet, to Mary. The speaker is a member of "Santa" Steve Schreurs' crew of walkers, out on a 16-mile hike today. Her observation is true: Mary is a congenital optimist, as am I. We discuss how it's a valuable trait to have in long-distance running, and elsewhere in life. (see Optimist Creed)

We take a steep shortcut on the return trip and finish at Mary's goal distance, about 8 miles. Mary is training for the VHTRC Womens Trail Half Marathon in September, and today is part of that regime. Mary's new hair style, short and spiky with natural silver streaks, looks sharp. We shower, change, then enjoy a salty-greasy Chinese lunch together, followed by conversation with the Dickerson-Zimmermann family about Jane Austen.

(GPS trackfile) - ^z - 2011-08-08