Saturday, January 11, 2014

What a Day!

Today was quite a day.  It started out with my goal to run 12 miles.  I was out the door by 5:35 because I had to get to a hockey game for my 9 year old by 10 in Chevy Chase, MD.  You can see me before the run.

The most interesting thing about today's run was that being by myself at that hour I could leave the house with one goal--get 12 miles and be safe.  That was not entirely simple as I did have to worry about it being "soggy and foggy" as suggested by one of my favorite meteorologists on a social media site.  I thought about my Slap Lit bands but decided to go without since I was wearing my orange windbreaker.  And I left the house with only one vague and guiding idea--it would be fun to do 12 strictly in the city for the first time in a while.

So, I left and headed up Highwood, down Lake to Chinquapin, and across Northern Parkway.  Running along Northern I was already feeling comfortable in the 36 degree weather with just the slightest misty drizzle and I finished the first mile in 8:32.  First decision point was at Loch Raven and Northern.  I made my loop around the shopping center there, and headed back down Loch Raven into the city completing mile two shortly after I crossed Northern--8:14.  So far so good.  Not too fast.  Just feeling good.  No more ice to worry about--except a big patch in one place along the entire route.  Biggest issues were big puddles (stepped in one that made my foot very wet) and the mud when I tried to run around puddles--where I could slip if I wasn't careful.  

The next decision point--of the many I had today--was at Loch Raven and Belvedere.  I've run west across Belvedere from there a bunch of times lately.  So, I decided to continue down Loch Raven instead.  There is a fun device to tell cars how fast they are going.  When I run by and there are no cars there, I can see how fast it detects me going.  It bounced back and forth between 8 and 9 as I approached.  Cool.  Brought me to about the end of mile three when I passed it with an 8:05.  Here, I decided to lose the windbreaker as it wasn't raining and I was overheating.

Continuing along, I arrived at Loch Raven and Cold Spring.  Made the decision to continue straight ahead and decided on a plan to go to Lake Montebello.  A friend had recently posted that there was absolutely no ice to worry about.  So, when I reached Loch Raven and The Alameda, I had to decide whether to continue straight to 33rd St or to take The Alameda.  I decided to do the latter as I was not sure if I had ever (in 3 1/2 years since I started marathon training) run on that section of the Alameda.  Always fun to run through new places.  I'd say "see" new places but there wasn't much to see in the cold and dark.  I did finish mile 4 before I reached the Alameda--8:16.  Running along The Alameda and 33rd and then to the lake, I completed mile 5 just after I reached the lake--8:09.

Several interesting observations about the lake. I saw someone who appeared to be leaving the lake as I arrived.  But I did not see a single other soul (runner or biker) going around the lake.  It was too dark and foggy to see much on the lake and it was so foggy I could not see the streetlamps on the far side of the lake "long ways" (the lake is shaped like an oval).  Finished mile 6 as I went around the lake--8:09.

As I was getting ready to finish around the lake I thought about next steps.  I have decided that aside from NCR (very easy) and Loch Raven Reservoir (very challenging), I really don't like out and back courses.  When running along I really really don't like out and back courses.  So, I decided to minimize repetition.  As a result, I made the decision not to run any further along 33rd street than necessary once I left the lake.  That took me up Hillen toward Morgan State.  Mile 7 completed before I hit Cold Spring--8:12.  Continued up Hillen to where it becomes Perring Parkway unless you make a hard turn and one past much of the west side of Morgan State's campus.  Hit mile 8 before leaving that straight away.  I'm pretty sure I haven't run there before.  Mile 8 was done in 8:13.

As I got to where I knew I needed to turn, I turned one street earlier than planned on Woodbourne.  That was okay.  When I got back to Hillen (the part after the distinct turn), I ran up to Belvedere and on toward the north side of Good Samartin--I'd seen the west side on the way down Loch Raven earlier.  I was still chugging along at an easy 8:30 for that climbing of hills section of the run.  Mile 9 ended before Good Sam.

Then, I continued across Belvedere as I would have if I had decided to turn right the first time I was at Loch Raven and Belvedere.  Mile 10 coming along Belvedere past Chinquapin Park but before Belvedere Square--8:01  Then, I turned north on York and got to my own neighborhood after recrossing Northern and Lake.   In fact, I turned on Hollen, Clearspring, and Gittings.  Mile 11 done in 8:21.  It was then that it began to rain in earnest again.  Windbreaker went back on for the last mile.  The last mile was a neighborhood loop.  Gittings to Weidner to Hollen again to Yorkshire to Cedarcroft around the triangle of Cedarcroft, Northwood, and Woodson and home again.  Last mile was the only one done in sub-8 at 7:56 for an 8:13 overall.

It felt good to be done after going on a new "big loop" path that I think I will use again.  The sense of freedom from just running in the cool rain was great.  It is great to have the mental map and know approximate distances to pull off something like that.  A little adventurous but nothing stupid or unsafe.  Here I am after the run.

In my virtual pilgrimage, I have now gone 66.5 miles.  I would be somewhere along Buchanan Trail East between about 8 miles west of where it turns off from Charmin Rd in Waynesboro PA.  Looks like it is past Patterson's Diesel on the west side of Waynesboro.  The street view on a mapping site shows what looks like a used car lot in the area.

Ate a quick bowl of raisin bran with soy milk, drank some OJ and water, took a quick hot shower, and drank a Coke.  Then, Sherry, me and Daniel drove to Chevy Chase for the game.  Missed our turn onto the country club grounds with an outdoor rink on the first try.  Made the correct turn the second time after having to circle around a 3 lane traffic circle.  It was a nice outdoor rink but it was raining like crazy.  When the rain let up the zamboni helped clear the ice, and they played started about a half hour late.  It was a good game, although my son's team was disappointed to lose.  It was interesting to see how the usual "hockey puck and skating physics" just don't work when there is so much ice on the rink.  You can see how much water was on the ice before the game.

We then drove to the Columbia Town Center and had an enjoyable Chinese lunch.  Both Daniel (from his game) and me (from my run with only a small breakfast after) were hungry.  After that we tried to find a store to exchange my backpack where the zipper has come apart.  Apparently we did not get the memo that the store had closed.  

Next we drove home.  We skipped going to a home brew store in the same area to look for cheese making supplies and spent much time discussing whether to drive to King of Prussia or Tysons Corner or send my backpack by mail to be replaced.  All the while the rain continued.

After stopping briefly at home, I had a fun trip to the grocery store with Daniel.  We played "pick a pint" and chose a pint of special ice cream for each family member.  When we got home I was finally overheating from all the layers I had on from earlier.  I'd already lost the two outermost layers other than my jacket--a windbreaker and a hoodie.  I still had on a long sleeved shirt, a short sleeved t-shirt, and long sleeved undershirt.  I got down to one layer and made dinner with Daniel.  Two meat lovers pizzas.  One thin crust and one think.  You can see them here.

Then did some dishes and listened to him read a chapter of his book.

What a day!  Tomorrow is another one with more decision points along the way. And more time with family and friends who help make my life as fulfilling as it is.

Thanks to all who do and to all who wished me a happy birthday and shared in the great day.

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