2012-10-13 - Matthew Henson Trail with Stephanie

~9 miles @ ~10.4 min/mi

Stephanie Fonda"Fist bump!" I request, and Stephanie Fonda rewards me with a gloved hand-to-hand salute at the end of our brisk morning trek. The Matthew Henson Trail begins here, just before milepost #9 of Rock Creek Trail, and extends ~4.5 miles east-northeast to end near Alderton Road. Grass is sprinkled with glittering frost diamonds. Saturday morning traffic is polite and pauses at crosswalks for us, but we have to wait at major intersections.

"Deer!" I spot the first stag of the day, a two-pointer grazing in the woods near Turkey Branch. Soon thereafter a doe followed by three of her daughters, or maybe little sisters, crosses the trail in front of us. Half a mile later another small herd eyes us from the brush. Approaching the turnaround Stephanie spies the largest buck of the day, well-camoflauged and flaunting a 4-point rack.

"The hill ends just around this bend!" I promise, but when we get there the climb continues. This happens often enough to become a joke, funny at first, then less so. At the icy meadow of Layhill Village Local Park I make Stephanie stop for a couple of photos. She smiles for some, but her impatient Ozymandian "...wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command ..." is my favorite shot. Highlights of blue and green in hair echo cap and jacket. (click for larger version of photo)

"But I'm just trying to read the text on their chests!" I explain to Stephanie. Fluorescent orange and dayglo-lime shirts, snug-fit, catch the eye as we encounter flocks of outbound training-group runners during the return trip. We push to bring our average pace down. Near the finish we overtake a trio of ladies. "Neat scarf!" I compliment one who sports a long beige and white cloth around her neck. She grins and says it's a gift.

The Garmin GPS gives our splits: 9:56 + 9:25 + 10:13 + 11:17 + 11:59 + 10:16 + 10:28 + 10:12 + 9:26. I add a short bonus sprint at the end just to make sure the iPhone's Runkeeper app crosses the magic 9.00 mile point. |

^z - 2012-10-26