The Reebok Wirefly National Half-Marathon Training Group Program I run with on Saturdays is half over. We had our eighth long run on Saturday. (Left: Jeannie's group forming up outside Gotta Run,)
Jeannie was back from her travels (Germany, India, Egypt, Jordan and Israel, the Pakistan segment was cancelled because of the assassination of ex-Prime Minister Bhutto) so she took the novice group on a nine-mile tour of the heart of DC (Iwo, Key Bridge, the Georgetown Waterfront, Rock Creek Park, the Mall, Capitol Hill, the Pentagon). This is a woman who gets around!
(Right: Wintertime on the Mall.) Sasha was out of town so I took over her intermediate group. We attached ourselves to Matt's advanced group and ran twelve miles through South Arlington at a 9:30 pace.
The area is a warren of raised highways down there and Matt showed us how to get from the north-south Mt. Vernon Bike Trail which runs along the Potomac to the east-west W&OD Bike Trail which runs forty miles out past Leesburg. The W&OD maddeningly stops a mile short of the Potomac and is a veritable dead-end.
(Left: Wintertime on the Tidal Basin.) Making your way from the Mt. Vernon Trail to the W&OD involves obscure twists and turns along the city streets of Alexandria to a pedestrian bridge over twelve lanes of I-395 at Shirlington, a charming section of Arlington comprised of restaurants and shops. This route is known for the most part only to bicyclists, who are usually the only fit people in the area who know how to get from Virginia to DC without taking the hilly Custis Trail in North Arlington. After years of talk, money has finally been appropriated to extend the W&OD one more mile to the Potomac.
Coming back we ran the eleventh mile up Ridge Road, a long steep hill in South Arlington infamous to local runners. I was leading at what I thought was a strong pace, but as I huffed and puffed up the hill looking desperately for the crest, I could hear Matt and his group members casually chatting while following along right behind me. After the run Jeannie and Not Born To Run made time to go out for coffee with me so the morning provided an excellent start to the weekend. (Right: Matt's fast group made me an honorary member last week,)