Although I never run with headphones/MP3 player I can understand how the companionship of music could help folks enjoy their exercise more. As I drive to the track before speedwork on 21 December, for instance, the car radio chances to play "Lightning Crashes" by Live. Fragments pace me as I sprint down the straightaways:

I can feel it coming back again
Like a rolling thunder chasing the wind
Forces moving from the center of the earth I guess
I can feel it

Ten half-mile intervals glide by far faster than anticipated. Notes on that jogging experience, and others, follow.

2007-12-09 - DCRRC Bread Run

2 miles @ ~11 min/mi & 6+ miles @ ~13 min/mi

Friend Christina Caravoulias recruits me to accompany her this Sunday morning in an old event that's new to me. Bob Thurston and Delabian Rice-Thurston of the DC Road Runners have for many years directed a "bread run": bring a loaf of homemade bread and the race is free. How can I resist? On Saturday I dust off the bread machine and produce a couple of loaves. The better one is my donation.

It's a cool, damp day when we arrive at Glen Echo Park. Before the 10k official event there's a 2 mile fun run which Chris suggests doing as a warmup; we return from the out-and-back course just in time for the start of the 10k main event. That course is a nice loop which includes a pretty stretch of C&O Canal towpath. Chris and I slow down to enjoy it and finish almost last. Afterwards winners get their prizes — bread — and then names are drawn at random to give away the rest of the food. I go home with two loaves, one for myself plus one that Christina gives to me. Tnx!

2007-12-15 - Magnus Gluteus Maximus Minimus

10+ miles @ ~15 min/mi

At dawn "No Rain" by Blind Melon is on the radio as I drive to Hemlock Overlook State Park near Clifton VA for a "Fat Ass" expedition on the Bull Run Trail. Throughout the morning garbled bits of "No Rain" lyrics ring inside my head: "All I can say is that my life is pretty plain / I like watchin' the puddles gather rain" and "So stay with me and I'll have it made...".

At my invitation a couple of friends, Kabrena and Kevin, have come to check out trail running, a new experience for both of them. Comrades Caren Jew and Mary Ewell are here too, as are a host of friendly members of the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club. At 8am we line up outside the lodge for a group photo, then set off, chatting and trying to avoid tripping on roots and rocks hidden under the leaves that blanket the path. The forecast for later today includes ice and snow, but the morning is cool, dry, and gray.

Our pace for the first 5-6 miles is a comfortable ~14 min/mi, which brings us to the Bull Run Marina aid station in about 1 hour 20 minutes. After food and photography Caren and Mary head out to pile on more distance. Caren finishes the day with something close to 22 miles, and Mary does only slightly fewer. I must get home early to attend a family friend's wedding, so Kabrena and Kevin and I turn back at the Marina. We average a relaxed ~16 min/mi during the return trip, walking the hills and enjoying the woodland scenery. It's a rather harsh introduction to trail running: Kevin falls down twice, and Kabrena turns an ankle three or four times. But both survive the experience and claim to have had a good time overall.

2007-12-16 - Jingle Bell Jog 8k

5- miles @ ~11.3 min/mi

A bright flash of light startles Christina and me as we reach her car after the end of today's MCRRC race. I assume it's a local electrical spark until, seconds later, a rumble of thunder arrives, soon followed by frigid rain. Today's event is uneventful: we jog together to finish not-quite-last in our respective cohorts. Chris gets momentarily miffed at me when one too many fellow runners pass us and I fail to object. I seem to have lost my competitiveness, if I ever had any. Sorry, Ma'am!

2007-12-19 - Lunatickle

5+ miles @ ~10 min/mi)

"I'm being followed by a moon shadow" cycles through my mind as soon as I glance down and see a shady silhouette pacing me. The clouds part to let a gibbous orb peek out, and the sudden brightening makes me think someone is coming up behind me with a spotlight. A big tree has fallen across the path near the Audubon Society side-trail, making a waist-high hurdle to clamber over. Just past the Rock Creek Trestle a rustling in the brush startles me and I shine my flashlight on a fellow night stalker. "Hi deer!" I say.

Tonight's night run is penance for a pig-out at lunch: onion rings, salty french fries, and greasy veggie-burger. To push "Moonshadow" out of my noggin I start the song "Peace Train" chugging along. From home my path leads me by the new housing development at the old Seminary where a young gentleman in fancy clothes and carrying a bouquet of flowers emerges from a townhouse to be startled by my ugly mug. Tripping down Ireland Drive I focus on not tripping. Then it's sprint (slowly) up the far side of the hill, counting bridges over the stream: 1-2-3-4 ... stop, touch the fence at the security gate (no audible alarms), then zoom down 4-3-2-1 over the same bridges. Twinges come and go in right angle tendons, then left metatarsals. I accelerate along RCT to do a 9:20 mile, all running and all good. The new wooden bridge over Rock Creek is in place, wide and solid. Following the MitP route along East-West Hwy to Jones Mill Rd and Coquelin Terr takes me home on the CCT with a final 9:47 mile.

2007-12-21 - Kehoe 800s

6+ miles @ avg ~9 min/mi

Marathon Deli in College Park is closing at 4pm for the holidays, and this is the last chance for the next eleven days to pick up gyros, souvlaki, and baklava for the family. Sons Robin and Merle are working in their labs on campus. I get home from work early on Friday afternoon, don running clothes, and head for UM. Temperatures are in the mid-40s and the northeast wind feels brisk. The gate to Kehoe Track is wide open even though a sign says that it's closed for "wind damage", none of which is evident.

Today is speedwork, Yasso 800s, though since I follow Lane 2 they're more like 808s. Cool weather and warm fantasies push me through ten 800m intervals at 4:23 + 4:17 + 4:12 + 4:06 + 4:14 + 4:09 + 4:09 + 4:09 + 4:01 + 3:51 — those last two done with great euphoria. Half-lap walk/jog breaks between each interval average a few seconds under 2 minutes each. Overall my average 800m time is 4:09, ridiculously faster than I have any right to do. Perhaps my training is finally taking effect, or maybe it's the music, "Lightning Crashes", tumbling about inside my head? "The angel opens her eyes ...".

2007-12-22 - Paint Branch and Indian Creek

5+ miles @ ~10 min/mi

Son Robin and I go shopping for last-minute gifts at the thrift store, then park at UM where he goes to work in the lab and I commence jogging. It's another faster-than-expected journey, today down Paint Branch Trail from mile marker 1.5 to 0, up Indian Creek Trail to its terminus, then reverse course. Squirrels scurry from my fearsome approach. Ducks dot the surface of Lake Artemesia for my outbound journey but only one remains half an hour later as I return. Miles flow by: 10:09 + 10:25 + 9:56 + 9:39 + 8:21 (!) not including a fraction to the Indian Creek turnaround in Berwyn Heights. Pain in the left metatarsals fades during the run; let's hope it doesn't come back.

(cf. GunpowderKegFatAss2007 (24 Sep 2007), MatherGorge (9 Oct 2007), JFK 2007 Preparation (26 Oct 2007), Potomac Heritage 50k 2007 (4 Nov 2007), GrapevineRun (12 Nov 2007), Don Quixote 55k Run 2007 (22 Nov 2007), HuntingSeason (30 Nov 2007), Fallen Angel (8 Dec 2007), ...)

TopicRunning - TopicPersonalHistory - 2007-12-23

(correlates: Corporate Asset, Fallen Angel, RemembranceDay, ...)