Monday, August 26, 2013

End of Summer Update!

As always, this summer has flown by like a Flock of Seagulls haircut passing you on the sidewalk. We all want it to slow down so we can enjoy it more, but long before we're satisfied, it has sadly passed us by...
Come back, Summer!
In terms of running, after all of the fun in the Black Hills, I spent the first couple weeks of July realizing that the trade-off for racing 100 miles on light training is a crazy painful recovery period. I had no injuries, per se, just completely and totally destroyed legs.  I wonder why my quads felt so beat up?...
Oh, I see....Just a wee bit o' stress on the running sticks there...
Yup, welcome to Blown Quad City, Dan. Population: You.
I guess the good news is I was too excited during the race to realize I was crushing my quads so much on the downhills. In retrospect I'll trade pain after the race for fun and success during, so in the end I can't complain too much!

Now that I'm fully back in the swing of things, I'm getting excited to head down to the 24HR National Championship in Oklahoma City at the end of October. It's been 4 long years since I've run the Championship, which more than anything else means that I'm getting incredibly old. It'll be a blast to run loops with so many great friends who I don't get to see that often, and it's also nice to check your true fitness level on such an important stage. There's no hiding lazy training when running on a 24 hour loop with the best of the best! 

Speaking of the best of the best, I had a nice summer highlight a couple weekends ago when US 24HR National Team member (and 3rd place finisher at the most recent World Championships!) Suzanna Bon came to DC to drop off her daughter at college. We met up for a sunrise run on Sunday morning and covered a fun ~16 mile loop that included just about all of the DC and VA monuments and notable sites any out-of-town visitor could want to see. It was blast to chat with Suzanna, as always, and to show off some of the massive network of paved trails we have in the area. Plus I had an excuse to bomb around the single track on Teddy Roosevelt Island again - I run by it all the time, but haven't skipped over the bridge to do the ~1.5 mile loop in about 6 years! It's always fun re-discovering running routes in your hometown.

On that note, I'll end with the story from this past weekend that reminded me why I love running:
I ducked out for a standard evening 6.2 mile loop around 7pm on Saturday. This is a loop that I've run (according to my running log) 81 times for a total of 500+ miles thus far in my 2013 training...One could say I'm familiar with the terrain. So, off I went on a pleasant DC summer evening as the sun was headed down.  About 3 miles into the loop, I hit the point where I normally turn left into a delightfully shaded trail that eventually brings me through a tunnel under the highway and back up the other side for a couple miles to return to my doorstep. The surprising thing about this, the 82nd time I've run the loop this year, however, was when I took the left onto the trail I saw a shiny new path on the right which lead to a brand spankin' new bridge over the river connecting me to a brand new trail.

If there was a way for me to write that last sentence in candy letters so everyone reading it could just eat the tasty tasty words as they saw them, that is how runners like me feel about finding a new trail so close to their home.

Of course, my excitement far exceeded my common sense once I took the hard right to hop over the new bridge and onto the trail. Predictably, I both ran out of sunlight and trail after a couple miles, and despite my lame efforts, could not use the side streets to make my way back to anywhere I recognized. The good news is, my night-vision had a banner evening as I eventually turned around and got back to the new (and now very dark) trail to retrace my steps back home without falling flat on my face. All in all, it was the best 13 mile version of a 6.2 mile run I've ever done!


Gancho Slavov said...

Common sense is overrated - glad to see you keeping up the insanity!

Dan Rose said...

Right you are, Gancho! Hope all is well for you across the pond. You're triumphant return to racing over here is being anxiously awaited by all!

Joel said...

Dan - any chance you'll tell us where the new bridge and the new trail are?

Dan Rose said...

Hey Joel,

It's not a major destination trail or anything, but here's where the new bridge and trail go:

In Alexandria, just northwest of the Seminary Rd. Exit off 395 is a small grassy area called Chambliss Park. If you follow Chambliss St. to its (temporary) termination behind that park you'll pick up the Holmes Run Trail (paved) for about 1/3 mile before it rejoins the rest of Chambliss St. for 1/10 mile or so. All of this is downhill. At the bottom of the hill (and final end of Chambliss St.), a left takes you onto the rest of the Holmes Run Trail (through Dora Kelly Nature Park, and if you stick with it long enough, a few miles all the way out to Old Town). Instead of taking that left onto the Holmes Run trail, the brand new bridge (over Holmes Run itself) is visible straight ahead when you hit the bottom of Chambliss St. The bridge takes you over the Run and leads you to the new trail to the right that doesn't seem to have a name but leads you through a bunch of connected parks (Glen Hills, Holmes Run Stream Valley, and Lilian Carey), eventually spitting you out at the Columbia Pike. Definitely note that there are 4-5 large crossings of the Run itself in this trail, and all of them have concrete pylons that are close enough to run over (you just really need to focus on your footing!). All of the above only amounts to a couple miles of running, but seeing as how it connects to a route that I run 3-4 times a week, it's pretty cool for me to now have this alternative option. Happy running (and go Red Sox!)

Joel said...

Thanks for taking the time to describe this. I've been looking for ways to string together some new long runs that avoid the streets. It looks like this could be handy -- Maybe I'll see you there (speeding by me, no doubt!)

Dan Rose said...

Where's your launching point? I know TONS of trails/connectors/abandoned railroad tunnels in the Alexandria/Arlington areas that are great for putting together 20 to 50 mile training loops.