2011-01-08 - CCT Rock Creek Park Loop Plus

~24.5 miles @ ~11.7 min/mi

In the dawn's gloom a rabbit startles me as it scampers across the Capital Crescent Trail. Light snow that has been falling takes a break now. I'm slouching towards Bethesda to accompany Sara Crum and Harold Rosen on their last long run before they taper in preparation for a February three-day trek in the Andes. Shirley Skorbiansky and Debbie Elliott join us, and a little after 7am we proceed down the CCT. Their pace—10-11 min/mi—is a bit too brisk for me, so I lag behind and let them pull me along. Proof: I hardly talk at all today!

As we approach Fletcher's Boathouse snow showers begin again. We take a porta-john break (but I keep my GPS timer running). A mile farther along Harold points out the lovely black-and-white scene across the Potomac River. I drag a gloved hand along a wooden railing by the trail, first leaving a wiggly line in the snow, then making dashes, then dots. At the end of the rail where the trail narrows I slip and fall, fortunately without damage.

We pause at the National Zoo but the water fountain isn't working. Shirley loses a veneer off a tooth and laughs but refuses to smile. "I look like a witch!" she says. A mile up the trail there's running water in the park restrooms, but I still have plenty in my hydration backpack. At Meadowbrook Stables when the group again pauses I thank everyone and branch homeward. I almost turn off Rock Creek Trail at Ray's Meadow, but a glance at my GPS says that it will only read 23.5 miles when I finish—not as luminous in the logbook as a mile more. So upstream I proceed toward the Mormon Temple, still pushing the pace, still treading carefully on icy spots. The big hill to Walter Reed Annex is a challenge. At the top I turn left to make a figure-8 trackfile pattern and avoid retracing my path until I reach the front steps and stop the clock.

(cf. GPS track map) - ^z - 2011-01-22