2008-12-24 - Temple Hillwork

~6 miles @ ~10 min/mi

Christmas Eve, and cars pull into the LDS (Mormon) Temple parking lot to prepare for the live nativity scene in a few hours. After eating half of a Chinese carry-out lunch of egg fu young and watching Eternal Sunlight of the Spotless Mind with Paulette, at 4pm I sense a sudden urge to run a hill. The nearest long one is on Stoneybrook Dr, a half-mile 6% grade where Christina Caravoulias and I tested our legs three weeks ago. Trotting along the sidewalk to Ireland Dr this warm afternoon feels so good that I fantasize doing ten or more repeats. Dream on! Rock Creek is brown with suspended mud as I take the gravel path beside it toward the Beltway.

Then reality sets in, as my first climb from Beach Dr to Kent St takes 5:35, followed by a leaf-in-the-wind return of 4:56. My limited arithmetic powers suggest that I don't have time for many iterations before sundown. Even with fluorescent orange shorts on I won't be visible in the dark along local streets. The next cycle is faster, 5:28 + 4:42. I roll up my sleeves and start to sweat. A black SUV beep-beeps at me and the driver waves through tinted glass. Who was it? Commuter trains rumble by and a man leads his little boy into the woods by the church so that the kid can relieve himself.

A crimson sun peeks through lavender-fuchsia-mauve cloud banks behind Temple spires. The words "purple mountain's majesty" gush to mind, cuing up a tinny version of "America the Beautiful" on the mental Victrola. The first verse repeats in synchrony with my stride as I blast out a final 4:49 ascent and finish with a fist-bump to the stop sign's post at the top.

Homeward bound now I fail to record the last downward split, distracted by a truck at the Beach Dr crossing which pauses, perhaps to avoid taking down Santa Claus before his evening journey can begin. Climbing back to Walter Reed Annex on the forest path I recall the frosty poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening". The journey today is all run, no walk. Maybe training, and keeping one's weight down a bit, can help even me?

(cf. 2008-11-30 - Hillwork with Christina, ...) - ^z - 2008-12-27