Saturday, March 7, 2009

Food, Fun and Friends...And a Few Miles

AM: 120 mins.
16-16.5 miles
PM: ~3 hours of Mall walking

What can I say, today's run was awesome. It started a bit unconventionally, as Jilane and I picked up Ben and then headed to National airport to drop off the rental car I'd taken on the previous day's drive. Since there's a bike path conveniently located adjacent to the airport, we jettisoned the car and literally started the run
from there. Excellent strategery if you ask me. I had 16-18 on tap and Jilane had graciously agreed to tag along for the whole effort. Ben, on the other hand, made it clear from the outset that he would under no circumstances run for two hours, but we were honored to bask in his presence for as long as he would allow.

At any rate, we hoppe
d onto the bike path and proceeded toward the heart of the District. I've run on this path many times before, as it runs very near to the hotel I've stayed at several years in a row while working the MCM expo. After a few miles we crossed the bridge over to Teddy Roosevelt Island, which I've driven by countless times but never actually set foot on. The island has several miles of shaded, soft surface trails and we enjoyed a few meandering loops before crossing the bridge again and continuing along the bike path. From there we crossed the Key Bridge into Georgetown, where we took a quick break at the Georgetown Running Company. Owen was rumored to be working that day and we'd hoped to pay him a visit, but as it turned out he wasn't there yet and therefore missed out on a sweaty and thoroughly disgusting hug from yours truly. His loss.

Teddy R. keepin it real on his island

At this juncture we had almost reached our halfway point and fully expected Ben to peace out and head back home. Instead he surprised us both by offering to tag along for a few more miles. We hopped down onto the towpath and followed it to the Glover Archibald trail system, which was muddy and hilly and rather technical. That's where things got pretty real, at least for me. The pace slowed because of the terrain but the effort ratcheted up significantly, and I was huffing and puffing by the time we crested the last hill and popped out near M Street. At about 90 minutes, Ben finally parted ways with Team MJ, and Jilane and I caught our breath along the downhill stretch on Connecticut before following it to Rock Creek. I'm not gonna lie, the last ~20 minutes were pretty brutal, and there was some talk of walking up the final uphill on Connecticut, but in the spirit of Team MJ we rallied and finished up the run with our pride intact. All in all, I can't think of a better way to hit up almost all the sites in the District while burning a few cals.

Chef Brooke's almost (but not quite) looked too good to eat

The morning kept getting better when we arrived back to Jilane's and discovered that Brooke had cooked up a brunch-tastic feast in our absence. I'm talking eggs, bacon, pancakes, hash browns, biscuits, coffee, fruit and pretty much anything else you could ever want to eat after a long run. The danger of a food coma immediately following this binge session was very real, but fortunately the group rallied and decided to embark on a Mall sightseeing tour for the benefit of Brooke and Jaclyn, our DC newbies. I don't know if the subsequent three hours on my feet will help or hinder recovery from this morning's effort, but I do know that the weather was beautiful and the company was fantastic and there was nowhere else I'd rather be on a Saturday afternoon.

Four of the loveliest ladies on the Mall. Photo courtesy of our handicapped bodyguard.


Jilane said...

Is my pride ever intact? I'm just sayin...