Start time: 10/7/07, 7:00am
Location: C&O Canal Towpath (and a touch of Rock Creek Park and the Capital Crescent Trail)
Distance: 22 miles
Average pace: 10:15min/mile
The last big run of the season, and it was… eh. (Well, aside from Bruce Springsteen’s “Radio Nowhere” being stuck in my head, which was a nice accompanyment for the run. Thus the post title.)
We ran three miles up in Rock Creek Parkway, then another mile to get to the Capital Crescent Trail, for another mile and a half. All was going well with me, Dave, Dvora, and Paul. Then we hit Fletcher’s Boathouse, where we were supposed to switch up onto the C&O Canal Towpath. Only thing was, Dave decided he didn’t want to run it. (Turns out he’d already arranged for his boyfriend to show up on the Cap Crescent on a bike for the path back in.) The big problem with running Cap Crescent is that all of our planned water stops were on the C&O Canal, and after you pass a water fountain at CCT marker 6.5, there’s no more water all the way to what would be your turn-around at CCT marker 1. So that’s 11 miles with no water, unless you abandon the trail when it goes through Bethesda and buy some. And today’s high temperature would be 90 degrees.
I said that I thought this was a bad move, and if everyone else wanted to run Cap Crescent, I’d just catch the next group (who had just run by while we were discussing this) and stick with the C&O Canal. Water, Gatorade, and support in case of disaster? I knew which sounded better to me, anyway. Dave and Dvora took off on the Cap Crescent, while Paul and I stuck with the C&O Canal. (Dvora had a CamelBack water pouch so we knew she’d be good.) Now the canal’s towpath is a little gravelly and rocky in places, but the further out you get, the better it actually is. As it is, we had a nice run the rest of the way out, and for about halfway back. Up through mile 16, we were averaging around a 9:45min/mile pace. Paul was starting to slow down at that point, though, and I walked for a little bit to eat a gel… and then when I tried to start back up, my right foot started cramping again.
Now, the cramping wasn’t as bad once I’d been running for a bit; it was when I was walking that it actually hurt the worst. The problem was, I was also starting to run out of energy; the sun was high in the sky and it had really heated up fast. Paul decided he needed to slow down and told me to go on ahead, so I pushed on as best I could, a bad combination of taking a walk break, cringing, then slowly running again until the cramping went away and picking up speed… until I needed another walk break. Nothing like your time suddenly dropping by about a minute-and-a-half per mile.
I did finish, though, and I’m going to make an appointment with a podiatrist to see what exactly is going on. As it is, I think this week I am going to just scrub any running plans.
And last but not least? I was wearing a sleeveless running shirt because of the temperatures… which ended up chafing my arm pretty badly. Nice big red stripe for those who care to look. Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch!