Distance: 12 miles
After a busy day at the HQ in Arlington, VA, I dashed back to my hotel, threw on the running clothes and hit the streets. As I ran across Key Bridge over the Potomac River toward Georgetown, a cold wind was howling. Once across the bridge, I dropped down to the towpath along the old Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and headed toward Maryland.
As I left Georgetown behind, the wind died down, the traffic noise faded and I settled into an easy 7:50 pace groove. I followed the towpath to just past Fletcher's Boathouse where the Capital Crescent Trail, a paved rails-to-trails path that runs all the way to Silver Spring. I followed the Crescent Trail for about 2.5 miles to the run's six-mile mark. I turned around here and retraced my steps back to the hotel.
I was really surprised at the number of bike commuters using the Crescent Trail. There also were a surprising number of headlight-wearing runners on last two miles or so of the portion I ran. I reckon I passed 10-12 runners headed the opposite way. I was passed at one point, as the trail climbed from the canal to the bluffs above. I was so tempted to go with the guy, What made this especially hard was that I was passed on a climb. My mental conversation went like this: "I run in the mountains! I shouldn't be passed on a hill at sea level, right?" I managed to resist the temptation (and perhaps embarrassment) of overtaking him and stick with my plan to keep the heart rate low, since I've decided to do some focused work on building my aerobic base.