On Saturday morning near mile 0.6 of the Capital Crescent Trail [1] a crew of county workers in hard-hats are making noise with a huge earthmover. They're adding crushed bluestone to fix the drainage and remove the ruts that usually mar the CCT in that area. I pick my way around the edge of their work, over a jumble of white mini-boulders, and thank one of them for their good deeds. "No problem!" he replies. Meanwhile, other notes from the past ten days of expeditionary work:

2007-05-12 - My Goose Is Cooked

6+ miles @ ~11 min/mi

The old ticker is beating 180 after I finish a 9:11 mile. I envision the headline: "Unidentified Codger Found at Lake Artemesia". So I walk, drink, wipe the sweat from my brow, and take the next lap at a slightly more sensible 10:23 min/mi pace, after which the heart rate is a less crazy 165. It's a warm, humid Saturday morning and I sympathize with comrade Ken at the Capon Valley 50k, and with Christina and others doing today's MCRRC 5 miler. I've driven my daughter to College Park for her Hindi final exam. The fancy track around the UM soccer field is locked shut, which throws a wrench into my plan to do Yasso 800s. I park on the eastern side of campus near Paint Branch Trail and US Highway 1. After I lock the car I realize that I'm carrying no ID, phone, money, or anything else besides a water bottle. No matter, I tell myself — this is America! I jog downstream feeling great at ~10 minute pace, until the heat kicks in.

As I reach the lake a pair of geese cruise overhead and honk, then skitter to a water landing. Freight trains and the Metro rattle by on elevated tracks. Otherwise it's quiet: there are only a few fishermen scattered along the shore, and during my three circuits of the well-marked LA Loop I encounter a mere handful of dog walkers, joggers, in-line skaters, and cyclists. The geese take off, leaving a dotted line of splashes as their wingtips touch the surface while they strive to gain airspeed, and I regret not having a camera with me. Back to campus, feeling strong. I venture into the Comp Sci building to buy something to drink. The machine gives me two cans of orange juice for my 75 cents. It's all good!

2007-05-13 - RCT Ramble

~6 miles @ ~14 min/mi

Christina and I are online chatting at 4:30am, as the trailing edge of a cold front moves through the area and showers cease. We meet at 0555 at Ken-Gar. A somewhat sketchy looking person at the far end of the lot induces us to drive a few hundred feet up the road and park on Wexford where Rock Creek Trail crosses. We jog north, taking our time and skirting puddles on the path. A barricaded bridge sends us detouring onto Beach Drive, and a small lake forces us to tiptoe across mud flats to bypass it. We make good time after that, from milepost 8 (Dewey Park) to 10 (near Parklawn Cemetery) at ~13:20 pace.

Coming back Chris forces me to run up and down long hills that I would ordinarily have walked. We log a ~12-minute mile, pause to drink, and catch our breath. Then it's stroll, jog, and enjoy the cool morning air — a huge contrast to yesterday's heat and humidity. By the time we're back to Ken-Gar a sizable herd of runners has materialized, prepping for their various training expeditions. Christina greets friends while I get a drink at the fountain. We return to our cars and drive off. I check the post office box, stop at a gas station, and on a whim head for the grocery store in Wheaton. As I get into line to check out, guess who's in front of me in her Annapolis Ten Miler jacket?

2007-05-16 - Abbreviated Speedwork

2+ miles @ ~9.2 min/mi avg

The rains have passed and the waters of Paint Branch are roaring louder in the darkness than I've ever heard before. It's 8:45pm and I'm on the bikeway behind a UM engineering building, with half an hour until time to pick up daughter Gray from a friend's viola recital. The gate to the soccer track is locked, so Yasso 880's it is between mileposts 1.5 and 2.0 on Paint Branch Trail. As usual I start too "fast" and taper from there, with splits of 4:06 + 4:13 + 4:26 + 4:26 plus two minutes of recovery walking between each blitz. The headlamp reveals no scary glowing eyes of deer. One damp brown rabbit scampers across the path in front of me.

2007-05-19 - Rock Creek Recon

12+ miles @ ~13 min/mi

Delightful weather follows a cold front, with temps in the 50's and light breezes. At 7am I leave home and loop through Walter Reed Annex to take Rock Creek Trail southward, as usual a bit too fast (~11.5 pace). Meadowbrook Stables is hosting an equestrian show this weekend, so dozens of horses and their riders are getting ready to trot. At the DC border (cf. Rock Creek Trail Miles 0 to 4) a small herd of three trail runners with a golden retriever precede me onto the Western Ridge Trail. I walk the hills and lose sight of them after a few minutes. A puzzled hiker is studying her map [2] and I help her locate the side trail she's seeking. Then to my surprise near Bingham Dr. and Oregon Ave. I catch up with trio + dog, paused to chat and catch their breath. They blast on and I plod, pausing to refill a water bottle from a tap at the fenced-in gardens.

After ~2+ miles on the WRT I reach Military Road near the ruins of Fort DeRussy [3], traveling the last bit via bike path rather than the official WRT since I miss the green blazes near the Park Police Stables. From there it's only ~0.7 miles east to Beach Drive on the paved path parallel to Military Rd. The blue-blazed Valley Trail leads me ~3 miles north to Boundary Bridge where my Rock Creek Park expedition began. Total Western Ridge Trail + Valley Trail + Military Rd. loop distance is thus ~6 miles, over gentle but interesting terrain. The horse show at Meadowbrook is now in full swing, with dozens of kids perched on ponies and scores of parents proudly watching. At home, after cooldown and a change of clothes I reward myself with a bowl of hot and sour soup.

2007-05-20 - Sligo Rendezvous

2+ miles @ ~10 min/mi

I'm late setting out for Sligo-Dennis Ave. Park where Christina and I are to meet at 4:15pm, so I hurry and cover the distance in a near-record 22 minutes — a mini-speedwork session that leaves me rather winded. Chris has run two (or four, depending on how you count) races this weekend already. Today we walk briskly to the north end of Sligo Creek Trail and back to Forest Glen Rd., then return to the park, chatting and pausing for her to take photos. After 4+ miles of strolling the time approaches 6pm, so Christina gives me a ride home, where I finish my hot and sour soup. (^_^)

(cf. SharperImage (10 Dec 2006), All Good (13 Jan 2007), RacyJetsam (4 Feb 2007), AggressiveResting (17 Mar 2007), NotSoDifficultRun (10 Apr 2007), TheyBullRunRun (6 May 2007), ...)

TopicRunning - TopicPersonalHistory - 2007-05-21

(correlates: Hot and Sour, Comments on Mad Dog Zimmarathon 2007, LuckyMe, ...)