Saturday, April 23, 2011
Battling Alabama Paul Across DC
The run started out easy enough. The rain had bogged down the towpath leaving it inundated with sloppy puddles. Alabama Paul, myself, tri guys Chicken Tender and Matias as well as a new guy named Victor, all pressed north by northwest. The pace was honest but, in a way, I wanted it that way. I was hoping to hurt, but hurt in a good way. In an hour an a half, I hoped to be in tears. After 5 miles or so, we reached Ernst Hill and I doubled down some. The pace dipped to low (or sub) 6:00s and but everyone seemed to revel in it. Ernst Hill climbs for the better part of a mile and the only rest and reprieve is in between sections of the mighty hill. Once we reached New Mexico, the pace intensified even more as we raced downhill towards the Glover Archibald Trail. I stepped back some and let the madmen go. Paul and I, intending to run longer, opted to run north/east along the trail while the others zipped back to the Store. Paul and I kept the pace reserved in the muddy trails, but once we hit Connecticut Ave, the race was on. Fresh from a mile + of recovery I took off down the sidewalks and zigzagged through the crowds street traffic until we hit the Zoo. Paul then took over and blazed down Zoo Hill like a man possessed. I held back some, but I can never remember me, or anyone else for that matter, ever running so fast down the zoo. I turned my baseball cap around and rolled up my sleeves. Then I made every tangent I could. To the awe and confusion of animal lovers, Paul pressed on. Within moments we were at the bottom of the hill and out of the zoo and making a right down the Rock Creek Parkway. Earlier in the run, I told Paul I was going to "go" once we got to Rock Creek, but we had already been "going" for quiet some time. We both guessed the pace got down south of 5:40 and perhaps as low as 5:30. We pushed hard for the next two miles but by the time I hit Calvert Hill, I was pretty beat. I made one last surge to push Paul along and then fell to pieces. I pretty much had used everything in my tank and jogged it in the last stretch back to mile 0 of the Towpath. I covered the loop, either 13.5 or 14 miles, 10 minutes faster than I did solo last week, in 1:28. I haven't been broken in a long run since Edward's Ferry last summer (Wiggy), and boy did it feel good.