|Come back, Summer!|
|Oh, I see....Just a wee bit o' stress on the running sticks there...|
|Yup, welcome to Blown Quad City, Dan. Population: You.|
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!