^z on the run, by Dennis Steinauer - click to enlarge

A fancy focal plane, a big lens, a fast processor — and a keen eye — can make a huge difference in photographic resolution and results. The hairy image above is by Dennis Steinauer, who catches me in a euphoric moment during a post-Thanksgiving MCRRC race. (Thanks, Denny! Click for a higher-resolution version.) A fortnight later another semi-professional runner/photographer, Jim Rich, gives me a mini-tutorial on modern digital cameras, Canon v. Nikon, etc. Christina Caravoulias likewise has been advising me. Some day, perhaps ... but meanwhile, I'll continue to plod along and take snapshots of whatever crosses the little viewfinder. And speaking of recent rambles:

2006-11-25 - Turkey Burnoff

10 miles @ ~11 min/mi

"Don't do that!" I admonish myself as I scrape my knee on a big wooden stake, part of the construction project in our front yard, while fetching in the newspaper early this morning. The injury hurts but is superficial enough not to interfere with the "Turkey Burnoff" 10 mile jog. I arrive early at Seneca Creek State Park and take photos of and visit with various MCRRC officials and associates, including Don Libes, so helpful at the JFK 50 miler last weekend. Race Director Sethiya Renwick is busily keeping things under control, so I chat with announcer Lyman Jordan and thank him in person for the mile markers along Rock Creek Trail and Beach Drive that he painted many years ago. Christina Caravoulias arrives and introduces me to Beth Starr, widow of much-missed Jim Starr [1]. Beth is a volunteer at today's race; she tells us quietly and cheerfully about how alive Jim remains in her thoughts daily.

Then it's time to race. Christina has scolded me for coming out to run so soon after the JFK but nonetheless she sets off at a brisk ~10:30 min/mi for the first two miles as I follow along behind her and threaten to hitch a ride by clinging to her long braid. Then the reality of the hills and distance set in, so we begin to take walk breaks and slow to ~12:30 pace. As her training plan dictates Chris punches out at the five mile point, but since I'm still feeling fresh I round the marker and start another five. The blister on my left foot is essentially healed already but I do feel soreness on the sole of that foot between miles 6 and 9. Mike Broderick's proverb energizes me: "If the bone ain't showin', then keep on goin'!" I average ~10 min/mi in the second half of the race and manage to run almost the entire way, quite an anomaly compared to my usual walk-jog habit. Maybe the JFK was a good training run for me?

2006-12-01 - Blockbuster Loop

13+ miles @ ~12 min/mi

A mission is always a good excuse to run. Today, #1 Son has rental movies to return and I volunteer to be the courier. There's a cold front coming through so I have hopes of heavy rain and high winds, maybe even thunder and lightning. Alas, no luck on that front: the Friday afternoon temperature remains unseasonably high (low 70's °F) and aside from a few gusts and light sprinkles the front is a bust.

After last week's Turkey Trot I'm overconfident and run via Second Ave. and 16th St. to Blockbuster (17 min), then proceed along East-West Hwy. to Rock Creek Trail (18 min) and via Jones Mill Rd. to join the Georgetown Branch Trail. I'm getting tuckered out now and start to walk a minute every half mile. I suck down an energy gel at the downtown Bethesda water fountain before navigating north via Old Georgetown Rd. Several traffic lights are out, perhaps from power failures due to fallen branches.

My left foot starts to hurt, and chafing on my inner thigh from a seam of my shorts is no party game either. Maybe when the weather cools down to normal things will get better. On Rock Creek Trail at Cedar Lane I consume another gel and manage an 11:03 mile before slogging the final uphill into the old Forest Glen Seminary. Construction work there has blocked access to the pulchritudinous mermaid fountain, so I have to admire it from a distance as I follow the perimeter fence down to Linden Lane, and thence home.

2006-12-03 - Chilly NWB and SCT

~6 miles @ ~15 min/mi

Christina swears that the temperature is at least 50°F, but I feel much colder, especially when the wind gusts in our faces. (The weather service puts us in the lower 40's °F I discover later.) We meet at the University of Maryland (College Park) but fortunately the soccer field is closed. So instead of boring laps around the track we drive west on University Blvd. to the Northwest Branch Trail at Lane Manor Park and proceed to jog downstream, chatting (and, in the case of my teeth, chattering) along the way. My hips feel sore for the first few miles, perhaps from working them too hard on Friday, perhaps from sitting too long at recent evening concerts. I'm giving my old shoes one last run before they go into the scrapheap, and they reward me with minor pain on the top of my right foot.

Chris did well in a two-mile race this morning, so after going at ~12:00 pace for the first ~20 minutes this afternoon we increase our walk breaks and enjoy the scenery. At the confluence of Sligo Creek and Northwest Branch we take SCT upstream to Parklawn Recreation Center. Kids' playground equipment attracts Christina's attention and we attempt some pull-ups and other arm exercises on it. We touch the stripe at the edge of East-West Highway and turn to retrace our path to the cars. Graffiti under a bridge distracts us during the return trip, as does a brilliant-crimson cardinal in the brush.

2006-12-08 - Anacostia Tributary Orbit

~11 miles @ ~10:15 min/mi

Temperatures hover near freezing and a zephyr from the northwest gusts 15-25 mph during this mid-day jaunt around Hyattsville and College Park. After dropping off the kids at the University I leave the car at the Lake Manor Park and jog east through campus to join Paint Branch Trail. With the breeze behind me I get overheated and strip off an outer windshirt, but as soon as I pass Lake Artemesia and join Northeast Branch Trail I start to get cold again. Instead of putting the layer back on though, I keep moving and limit my walk breaks to one minute every mile. I only see one or two others on the path, unsurprisingly. The final four miles are straight into the wind on Northwest Branch Trail. I press the pace and finish with a blazing 9:14 mile, then pull on some clothes over my running togs and go to a North Campus Dining Hall lunch with my younger son who has excess credits to use up on his meal plan this semester.

2006-12-09 - Rundown Battery

4+ miles @ ~14 min/mi

My plan is to do nothing today, but Christina wants to sprint up some hills! So we meet in mid-afternoon at the newly-remodeled park at the corner of Dewey and Edgebrook Roads in Silver Spring, near mile 9 of the Rock Creek Trail. I arrive there first and wait with my headlights inadvertently left on, listening to the radio until the battery runs down — oops! There are jumper cables in the trunk and Chris promises to help me get the car started, so we run and walk north a bit over two miles to the Sue Wen Stottmeister glade where we ring the wind chimes in Sue's memory. Coming back southward Christina accelerates up the long inclines between mileposts 10 and 9, a good bit of hillwork that I need but don't often prescribe for myself. We proceed downstream to Randolph Road, then return to our starting point. After the hour-plus rest my car magically starts, so I drive home with fingers crossed that it doesn't fail on the way.

2006-12-10 - Jingle Bell Jog

5- miles @ ~11:10 min/mi

Christina Caravoulias and I see lots of friends and have a nice ramble on neighborhood streets in this chilly morning's 8k MCRRC event. The first two miles go by at ~10:40 pace, but then we begin to take walk breaks and slow to ~11:20 for miles 3 and 4, where we see comrade Caren Jew working the water table. I take photos along the way and pick up a shiny but badly scratched brass parking token on the course to give to Ken at the finish line. Jim gives me some digital camera advice; friend Ruth Martin is in town and visits with us before and after the race.

(cf. SpongeBath (29 Jun 2006), RemindMeNeverTo (23 July 2006), IntestinalInfortitude (13 Aug 2006), BabyGetsNewShoes (5 Sep 2006), VikingRailroad (26 Sep 2006), HatBulge (23 Oct 2006), InnerGoat (12 Nov 2006), JFK 50 Mile Run 2006 (20 Nov 2006), ...)

TopicRunning - TopicPersonalHistory - 2006-12-10

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