2008-08-24 - Bethesda Trolley Loop

~15.5 miles @ ~12.5 min/mi

"Whoa!" shouts Ken Swab, as the water sprinkler swings around and splashes him. We're standing next to Rock Creek Trail milepost #1 at Meadowbrook Stables, preparing for today's run. Someone turns on the system to wet down the horse exercise fields, and a sprayer atop a tall pole is badly misadjusted. We retreat across the street, start our watches, and run northward.

A few minutes earlier: I'm jogging along from home, about 1.8 miles. As I cross East-West Hwy a car zooms up and the driver rolls down a window to shout at me, "Go faster!" It's comrade Ken, of course. Our original plan is a simple out-and-back along Rock Creek Trail, but I suggest something more interesting: take the Capital Crescent Trail to Bethesda, proceed out Old Georgetown Rd to Cedar Ln, then cross back to RCT and return. Ken sees my bet and raises me a few more miles: he proposes to take the Bethesda Trolley Trail farther north, to Grosvenor Ln, and cross over there to the RCT. Sounds good to me!

So from Ray's Meadow we climb up the Grubb Rd hill to join the CCT. We're making a comfortable 12-13 min/mi, taking walk breaks every half mile or so as the spirit moves us. On the high railroad trestle we pause to look down at the trail below, where a couple of hours later we'll be returning. At the Bethesda water fountain I suck down an energy gel and refill my bottle.

Ken shows me a shortcut through the new downtown shopping court. At a street corner a shiny red Miata beeps at us. It's photographer Jim Rich of the MCRRC, whom I confuse at first with Jim Cavanaugh, whose recent 100 miler Ken and I were discussing a few moments earlier. When I realize my mistake I apologize to Rich and tell Ken, "We've gotta go—Jim is a Canon man and I'm a Nikon guy!"

Proceeding up Old Georgetown Rd we're bantering at a furious pace. "We really should save some of these anecdotes for when we're running with other people, so we could amuse them," I suggest. Ken tells me about loquacious Senator Biden, now VP nominee; Ken's daughter Hillary is at the Democratic Convention in Denver this weeek. At NIH a blazingly fast young lady overtakes us, which leads us to debate how fast (or rather, how slowly) we could theoretically do a single lap on a track "if we really tried".

The Bethesda Trolley Trail is pleasant. Ken and I continue to discuss family, training, and his upcoming race plans including the Marine Corps Marathon and the JFK 50 miler. We sprint across Rockville Pike and proceed down Beach Dr to merge with RCT near mile 5.5.

On the roller-coaster hills approaching milepost 3 both Ken and I are soaked with sweat. Ken tells me that his shirt is merely wet but his pants are totally saturated. "I don't think I'll check that," I tell Ken. I can envision the arrest for public indecency: "Honest, Officer, I was just feeling the liner of his shorts!" We pause to drink, then accelerate and get back to Meadowbrook Stables in a bit over 2 hours 20 minutes, a total of 11+ miles. Ken offers me a ride home but I resist the temptation and jog back, arriving in 3:14 for an estimated total of 15-16 miles.

(cf. Jog Log for the latest entries in the running logbook) - ^z - 2008-09-07

(correlates: ShortTimers, InvisibleZebras, SigilOfPower, ...)