Sasha was busy so I led the Monday Night Footmall run for the half-marathon training group. It was cold, so I layered up for the Smartbike ride the two miles from my workplace near Judiciary Square over to the group's meeting place by Foggy Bottom. Those bicycle rides in the dark on the busy and bumpy DC streets are more worrisome than carefree to me, because I constantly worry about getting doored on the right by a parked car or clipped on the left by a passing motor vehicle. Not to mention running into one of the innumerable jaywalkers crisscrossing the streets downtown. Imagine, jaywalkers in DC!
There were four runners waiting at the appointed place, despite the cold. Off we set, down Virginia Avenue to Constitution Avenue and straight out Constitution to the top of Capitol Hill. I prefer this route because it is more busy and well-lit, whereas Sasha dislikes running on concrete sidewalks and prefers the more scenic, albeit dark and deserted, asphalt footpaths on the Mall.
Three miles out, with the top of Capitol Hill attained, I could tell one of the group was struggling. This slower runner, who is a swimmer branching out into running, was working hard to keep up. So I told the others to circle around the Capitol and come back to Constitution below it, where we'd meet them. I ran back down the hill with the laboring runner, and we rested a little by walking to meet the oncoming group as they completed their circle.
The reunion effected, we returned to the start point the way we came, along Constitution and Virginia. I made the group stop opposite the ellipse for a photo op with the National Christmas Tree lighted in the background, and endured yet again the calls made upon me in mock-disgust to get a digital camera already!
The other male in the group started speeding up as we headed towards the barn, and I engaged in a delightful 5-block flat-out run with him at the end. Neither of us said a word, we just sprinted faster and faster along Virginia Avenue, each man trying to reach the finish ahead of the other, our labored breaths bespeaking our effort. I won't tell you who won by half a block.
The others came running up shortly afterwards and a pleasant apres-work six-mile run, in under an hour, was in the books.