Today the club's Ten-Miler Program ran out of Fleet Feet in Adams Morgan. Local running legend Phil Fenty and his wife Jan opened up the first Fleet Feet franchise east of the Mississippi in 1984 and the store has thrived due to their hard work despite a lack of parking. Now it is owned by Shawn Fenty, their son (brother of the mayor), and he carries on in the family tradition of deep commitment to the running community. Several training programs run out of the store on weekends, including ours. (Right: Joseph Castro, Director of Training for the Army Ten-Miler Race and Shawn Fenty, owner of Fleet Feet, confer outside of the store.)
We went 8.3 miles on a double loop through Rock Creek Park. I am a "drop-in" coach and I enjoy the relative dearth of responsibility on these runs. I started in the far back, chatting up some runners back there. I gradually worked my way forward, talking for awhile with almost everyone I passed. By the time I made it up front, the lead runner was too far ahead to catch but I fell in with Jay, a coach. He's twenty years younger than me and deceptively fast. He hides it until late in runs when he puts the hammer down.
We ran along, pushing the pace until it seemed to me that we were doing sub-eights. I don't do those much anymore. The run was hilly because Adams Morgan sits on a high point in the District and Rock Creek Park, a half mile away, is far below it. We had to climb out of the park twice after dropping into it on each loop. We would pause at tricky turning points on the course until the next runner came into view and wave to show him the way. When he waved back, we'd take off again.
Regaining 16th Street two miles from Fleet Feet, we flashed down the road. Jay kept pushing the pace but I was game, mostly. Whenever I lagged behind by eight feet he'd lighten up just a trace and I'd catch up again. I knew what was coming but the hard running felt good after weeks of running with back-packers.
Half a mile out Jay engaged a higher gear and I had to let him go. He beat me back to the store by a block and a half. My overall pace was just over 9:40 for the run but that included a lengthy stretch of 10:30 running during the first half of the outing and some pauses at directional points.
Afterwards many in the group bought bagels and coffee from a nearby shop and we sat around on the sidewalk outside of Fleet Feet eating, drinking and talking.