2006-01-14 - Cold Front Red Skins

10+ miles @ ~11:10 min/mi

Today my daughter replaces the battery in our scale and I discover that I weigh 184 lbs., a number that demands either several inches more height, an earlier pushback from the dinner table, or significant exercise. A strong low pressure system brings temperatures falling into the upper 30s and zephyrs from the northwest gusting 20-40 mph ... perfect jogging weather, when combined with intermittent drizzle and a major football playoff game to keep the crowds off the trails. So, after a mid-afternoon visit to RnJ Sports (where I snag some Clif Shots and another half-price-bin fanny pack) I park at the soccer fields near Dewey and Edgebrook Roads (just north of Randolph Rd.) and at 3:30pm head into the wind past milepost 9 of Rock Creek Trail [1].

Double shirts and gloves plus a hat don't seem like quite enough given the wind chill today, so I stuff an extra hat into my shorts for insulation (no comment, please!) and put on wrap-around sunglasses. They protect my eyes from the breeze but thermal contrast makes the rest of my face feel extra-cold, and the dimness makes me a bit nervous as the day progresses (I end up carrying the shades for the return journey). When I look down after half a mile my bare legs appear to be bright red, an exaggerated color illusion somehow created by the dark lenses; the skin is only a bit flushed from the cold. The first five miles go by at an average 11:40 pace, including pauses at major road crossings and delays as I tiptoe around (and through) puddles (and mud) on the pathway.

High winds have knocked down a mix of small-to-medium branches, and occasionally I hear a sharp crack as a tree fractures near the trail. I arrive at Lake Needwood (milepost 14, [2]) and take a 7-minute walkabout, eating a cookies-and-cream flavor Clif Builder's Bar and eyeing the clouds that race low above. Then it's back again, at a brisk average pace of 10:37 minutes/mile with a 3:1::jog:walk ratio. Some of the traffic lights along the way home are black, probably from power failures due to falling branches. I was warm enough throughout the run, but get violent shivers during the short walk between car and house.