Friday, September 24, 2010

A Day In The Life: Fri-day, Long Run-day - With Bonus Picnic and Tick Story

I live in a big metropolis, without a car.  Most days I thank my lucky stars I don't have to deal with the headache of driving a car in DC. Other days I'd give anything to not have to deal with the headache of riding public transportation in DC.  Training-wise, to avoid as many headaches as possible and keep my schedule on track, I usually stick to the 'hood, starting and ending at home.

Now this metropolis of mine has a good amount of natural space so running on a forgiving surface is possible - and for me, a necessity.  Most people view Rock Creek Park (RCP) as a driving-worthy destination, and if I didn't live mere blocks away, it would be for me as well.  But do two-year's worth of long runs - and practically every other run in between - in there and well, the mystery and excitement just ain't happening. 

Today I wanted the mystery and excitement back so I pulled the change of scenery card.  Where the scenery still includes a soft surface.  Yes, the change involves public transportation - *sigh* - but the 2-4 times per year I pull the card, it's worth the extra time and hassle.

Now I know that I was a bit stingy with the CandyLand directions, in order to protect a favorite place of mine from being trampled by the masses.  But a picture is a worth a thousand words!  So you get my Fri-day, Long Run-day in pictures - and thus thousands of words worth of directions to find another favorite place of mine.  If from these pictures you can successfully find my change of scenery location, then you are a mass worthy of trampling a favorite place of mine.

You start at this metro station - with your bag and bike
Get on the metro line that takes you past this
And past this
Get off at this metro station
Ride not very far, to this bus stop sign and lock your bike to it (yes, that's my bike)
Here's a hint: the bus stop is across from this church
Walk into the woods behind the bus stop until you reach this spot
Another view of this spot, which is the best place to stash things
Run one loop counter-clockwise, following the yellow blazes and signs for the Perimeter Trail
Run one loop clockwise
Run an out-and-back for time...not so sp*rkly white anymore!
Enjoy your bonus post-run recovery picnic
View from post-run recovery picnic - not bad for city living!
I did just over two hours there and saw one person.  I admit that you can hear cars pretty much the whole time and see cars fairly often.  But in just over two hours of running I crossed maybe 50 feet of pavement and had to stop only twice, both by my own choice for nutrition. 

One last direction: check for ticks.

If you have made it this far based only on pictures, don't belie your intelligence now.   Check for 'em.  Here's the cautionary tale why (from the last time I pulled the change of scenery card):

Pa Support Staff:  Hel...
Pa Support Staff: What?
PSS (and Ma Support Staff, joining PSS on speaker phone): Why do you ask?
Me: I went trail running and now I have ONE ATTACHED TO MY STOMACH!! AND IT'S STARTING TO DIG IN?!?!
MSS: Well, what we do with the dogs is...use one hand to twist the tick counter-clockwise until you arm can't bend anymore, then use the other hand to hold the tick in place so it doesn't twist back while you adjust the grip of your other hand.  Oh and make sure to grab the head, not the body, or the body will break off and the head will just keep digging.
ME: [puts phone down to have both hands free]

The tick perked right up when it realized someone was determined to remove it from its happy digging place.  We proceeded to engage in the death match of twist-and-not-break right there in my bathroom.  Since I'm writing this post we can assume my superior multi-handed strategy prevailed.  But I have the tick death match scar to prove just how close it was.  CHECK FOR TICKS - AND ENJOY YOUR RUN!

[And McGrath, if you're reading this, no fair using the comments to post useful directions.]


rick & marnie said...

counter clockwise three times

RM said...

So I was super excited that I figured it out using the pictures and descriptions - and then I was SUPER SUPER excited that I got a shoutout at the end of it! Made it all worth it.

Anyway, your favorite place is a favorite place of mine, too, obviously, so I will not be telling anyone how to get there.

Zina said...

I have a favorite soft surface run location that's metro accessible, although it might be a bit of a hike from your location.
Catch me at a DCTri Happy hour and I'll lay it out for you.
- Xena

Hillary said...

I'm lost. Sounds enticing though! If you ever want to tag along, I have a tendency to trek outside the beltway most Saturday mornings for a long trail run somewhere.

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