Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 19th - Bethesda to Union Station - 11.2 miles - 02:20ish

This run made me a little nervous on Sunday morning, for a few reasons. I made it through last year's Union Station run (which was a week later in the season) before I was down with tendonitis for three weeks and I somehow convinced myself that run was to blame. And Sunday would be my third running day in a row - I rarely run two in a row and NEVER three. Friday I did about 4.5 miles with a friend, Saturday I ran the Run for Roses 5k with the group I helped coach. It was a hot, muggy, sweaty race but we had a lot of fun and I think I've created some new monsters who are ready for bigger challenges. My work there is done.

I also knew we'd be short two coaches who were out of town, but we had a stand-in, so we'd hopefully be able to get to the metro on our own. I've run it before but once I get past mile 8 into DC I'm pretty much completely lost and dependent upon the kindness of coaches with good senses of direction (or, failing that, Google maps).

The good part about this run, which starts on Capital Crescent, is that it's downhill and never goes back up. It's a gradual decline down to the river and while that's much better than going up I find it tough on the knees after several miles. There also aren't a lot of stops - there's water at mile 3, water and a bathroom at 4.75, and if you're lucky a hose to use around 7.5. Then you're out in the open through DC, past the Lincoln Memorial and reflecting pool, up the mall. Luckily it wasn't sunny this year, and not too hot.

And it's scenic - the trail is lovely, then you run along the river before hitting the monuments. This year we got to check out a bit of the Dragon Boat races as well as folks participating in the DC Triathlon. We had to stop to cross the street between bikers or runners, and cheered as loudly as we could. Seemed like crowd support was pretty light and DC was eerily quiet despite two big events, I felt bad for the athletes out there with nobody clapping and yelling and telling them how awesome they are. I know it's a silly thing, but seeing a familiar face along a race route goes a REALLY long way. I didn't know any of these athletes but I sure cheered like I did.

I always get lost in DC and am always surprised to end up where I was meant to. But sure enough we made it. My Garmin's batteries died somewhere around mile 8 so I don't know total time or splits, I do know that the last three miles were definitely the fastest. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to have that much energy left in my legs after two previous days of running. I enjoyed a completely unhealthy cookies & creme smoothie (all the other ones are made with bananas and I really really hate bananas) while we all chatted and relaxed before getting our stinky selves on the metro for the ride back. I have no idea what I did the rest of the day but I'm sure it involved using my legs as little as possible and almost as sure that it involved downing some Manhattans.

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