2008-09-23 - Carderock to College Park

~16 miles @ ~13 min/mi

Great blue heron stands erect in water up to her thighs, tail just brushing the surface of the C&O Canal here in Carderock. Turns her head a few degrees to keep an eye on me as I jog by. No sign of fish. Half a mile down the towpath another blue heron stands identically tall, identically still, upside-down reflection knife-sharp on the stagnant water.

The office picnic is still going strong, but at 2pm I prepare to leave and 10 minutes later I'm running. Wife has left car at the University of Maryland, daughter finishes orchestra at 6:30pm, and I'm not quite sure how long it will take me to get there. Google Maps has a new "Walking" option which suggests a good strategy to save 5 miles relative to the freeway drive. So down the C&O Canal I head, to Glen Echo and then Bethesda via Goldsboro Rd. From there, after a short trek along the Capital Crescent Trail it's East-West Hwy all the way to Riggs Rd and then campus via University Blvd. Pretty simple, though as it turns out sidewalks are absent on major segments and shoulders of busy streets are scary-narrow.

Good preparation: at the picnic I drink two or three cans of soda water and a glass of ale (don't tell the Park Service!) to get pre-hydrated. Then I fill my bottle with another can of pop, dilute it with water, and shake it to get rid of the carbonation.

Bad preparation: at the picnic I eat a veggie burger on a bun thickly slathered with BBQ sauce, along with chips, potato salad, and fruit. Oh, plus some cornbread. And three desserts. But they were small servings, and at least I avoid the beans and cole slaw!

But the excess food sits in my stomach and weighs me down for much of the journey. I walk almost all the hills—there are many—and take additional walk breaks on level terrain. The trip begins on the same stretch of the C&O where the DC Road Runners Club held its age-handicapped on 2008-07-04 (cf. Patient Companionship). It takes me half an hour to reach the brown pedestrian bridge over the canal that leads me along the eastern bank of Cabin John Stream under various parkway roads to Glen Echo in about half an hour. It's the same path that Christina and I ran during the DCRRC "Bread Run" (cf. LightningCrashes) on 2007-12-09.

Goldsboro Rd is a series of long climbs which eventually takes me past the golf course to Bradley Blvd, from which I climb the steep stairs to the CCT 40 minutes later. I refill my bottle at the Bethesda fountain and in 10 minutes I'm on East-West Hwy. For the next 1.5 hours I'm still on it, progressing through Silver Spring and Takoma Park. I pause at a National Tire and Battery store where a friendly clerk directs me to the water fountain in the customer lounge. I'm tempted to try to take a short cut along the high-tension power line right-of-way, but resist. Once I reach Riggs Rd and follow it to University Blvd the end is near: I see the UM campus in the distance.

Half an hour later, total time 3:27, I touch the door of the music building and stop my watch. I'm almost an hour ahead of the deadline—whew!

(cf. Jog Log ...) - ^z - 2008-10-01

(correlates: BabySteps, DavidNewsom, 2007-09-19 - Paint Branch Trot, ...)