Jogging around a big circuit, especially through the woods or along a creek, is a magical-marvelous thing (see LoopCourse). This past week good fortune takes me around three novel orbits --- thanks to fine weather, fair health, and the foolish hope of getting semi-ready for an ultramarathon some day. Brief notes on the experiences follow (adapted from my posts to Brian Tresp's running blog ...

2004-03-10 - Rock Creek Trail, NIH, Georgetown Branch

Wonderful run --- if they all felt this great I'd never fret before a marathon again! --- 11+ miles in 123 minutes with no walk breaks, strong legs, cool weather, and "The First Cut Is the Deepest" playing on the mental 8-track tape loop. The afternoon is crisp and breezy. I jog from home into Walter Reed Annex (taking an extra circuit around the mermaid fountain to salute the pulchritude of the sculpture) and through the woods to Rock Creek Trail, then proceed to Cedar Lane, which I take past Stone Ridge School and the National Institutes of Health to Old Georgetown Road. Southward thence, following Arlington Blvd. to Bethesda Ave. to the water fountain near milepost 3.5 of the Capital Crescent Trail. Quick drink, and it's homeward bound via the usual Georgetown Branch route.

Mea culpa: my qi is disturbed twice by uncharitable thoughts. First, at Beach Drive & Cedar Lane, a mini-truckie-thing swerves around a car stopped for the red light, passes it on the right (!) and almost hits me as it runs straight through the signal. Forgive me, Lyman --- I shook my finger at the driver, a young lady intent on her speeding. (If anybody needs a witness concerning other incidents involving a vehicle with Maryland license plate 1A2730 please ask, and I'll be happy to testify as to what I observed.) Later, along the Georgetown Branch I feel sorrow at the ancient trees which have been chain-sawed to death. Pieces of their trunks lie fresh-hewn next to the trail; they appear to have been felled to improve the southern exposure for some swanky back yard lawns. I momentarily fantasize that the Inner Purple Line trolley is built and toots its whistle at all hours of the day and night, the way the Metropolitan Branch of the B&O does near my home. But no, I shouldn't wish that upon a wealthy neighborhood, should I? (^_^)

Coming back to my senses: what a superb trek! My measured mile times are 10:37 (Rock Creek 3-4) early in the jaunt and then near the end 10:10 + 9:29 (!) + 10:55 (Georgetown Branch 3.5-0.5), including pauses to cross some major roads. I carry no food, phone, money, water, ID, or GPS. Maybe it's the feeling of freedom (or foolishness) that makes the jaunt so much fun ...

(correlates: Winter Wardrobe, MustLoveDogs, NamingNames, ...)

2004-03-12 - Sligo Creek, Northwest Branch

Sad news from the doctor today: my 18-month reprieve is over --- it's back onto the hypertension meds for ^z --- wonder if ACE inhibitors will disqualify me from the Olympics? (^_^) Or perhaps I just have to avoid playing draw poker?

But good news: after the unhappy doctor's app't., a fun run on a new route: ~9 miles (~101 minutes) beginning at the Rec Center on Sligo Creek Parkway just north of Dennis Ave. ... upstream along the banks of bounteous Sligo to Wheaton Regional Park ... then down Northwest Branch, on a real trail (albeit a relatively tame one) with mud, boulders, fallen trees, gulleys, hills, puddles, and great woodsy scenery ... and, at the turnoff to Lockwood Drive (just short of Colesville Road) I vector back to Dennis and follow the streets to my starting point.

I take a wrong turn, as I usually do, on the winding paths in Wheaton Regional --- but fortunately a cute young pony-tailed runner coming the other way is kind enough to set me straight. I follow her along the horse path for a mile until she slows, then pass by and swing onto the Northwest Branch trail across Kemp Mill Road. Four deer take flight at my fearsome approach; they flash their white tails as they bound across a ridge. Signs announce the Rachel Carson Greenway Celebration on Saturday 20 March " re-name and extend the Northwest Branch Trail ..." eventually to the Patuxent River --- see for more news.

The miles go great along the rocky streamside ... maybe my fantasies to do the 50km HAT Run at the end of the month, or the JFK 50 miler in November, aren't as far-fetched as I have feared ...

(correlates: MetaForestry, MoneyOlympics, HappyTrails, ...)

2004-03-14 - Rock Creek Park, Capital Crescent

~23.5 miles @ ~11.7 min/mi

~23.5 comfortable miles this morning, with a little help from my friends ... commencing at the end of my driveway, ~3 miles to the edge of DC via neighborhood streets, the Georgetown Branch, and Rock Creek Trail ... then another ~9 miles along Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park to reach Thompson's Boat Center on the Potomac near the Kennedy Center ... a jog west along the Georgetown waterfront, and then back home ~10 miles along the Capital Crescent Trail. The GPS "odometer" claims 22.5 miles, but my splits during measured miles between painted markers ("P-P") and official mileposts suggests that the GPS figure is, as usual ~4% low.

The encouragement of compatriots makes the day go nicely: Comrade Evan jogs north from the river, meets me at the National Zoo, and keeps me going at a brisk pace for miles ~9-14 ... Comrade Ken proceeds south from Bethesda and accompanies me for miles ~18-20 ... and a fortuitous encounter with MCRRC's Craig Roodenburg at mile ~22 gives another welcome boost to the home stretch. Thanks, dudes!

Avian sights along the way include a sprinkle of ducks paddling about on Rock Creek, a cluster of geese foraging on a government-owned lawn near the CCT's mile 6.5, and several pairs of scarlet cardinals flitting back and forth across the path in front of me. There are also uncounted baby-carriages, inline-skaters, cyclists, and occasional pods of Galloway-method trainees walking and running together. (Near Virginia Avenue on a grassy hillside a boy and girl in sweatclothes practice prone-supine mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on one another, possibly with humorous as well as amorous intent; they jump to their feet and wish Evan and me "Good morning!" before jogging off after their colleagues.)

My average pace for the ~4.5 hour journey is ~11:40 minutes/mile, with a least-squares-fit deceleration of ~3 seconds/mile/mile. Weather is near-perfect, cool and partly cloudy, and except for the lack of functional water fountains in Rock Creek Park all is splendid. I eat two Clif Bars along the way and feel good at the end. (Now, will I get into the HAT Run, or is it sold out?)

(correlates: 2005-11-03 - PBT at Night, GoodReadingForTheLittleFolk, AcronymOverload, ...)

(see also RockCreekTrail (31 May 2002), AnacostiaTributaries (28 Jan 2003), CapitalCrescentCoordinates (5 May 2003), LoopCourse (24 Aug 2003), GpsJogs (9 Mar 2004), ...)

TopicRunning - TopicPersonalHistory - TopicRecreation - 2004-03-16

(correlates: TreasureKnowledge, HappyTrails, ThreeMarchRuns, ...)