The Saturday morning run with my half-marathon training group was an eight mile-out-and back, from Gotta Run down in Pentagon Row in Arlington up Washington Boulevard by the Pentagon to Memorial Bridge, over the Potomac and into the District down the Mall in a straight shot past the Lincoln and the Washington to the Capitol and back. Matt took his fast group on a further excursion up Capitol Hill and around the Capitol to add a ninth mile.
Meanwhile, at the secondary meeting place at Fleet Feet in Adams Morgan, Sasha led a dozen runners eight miles down into Rock Creek Park a ways and then back again. They vanquished a formidable hill, the Calvert Climb, in the last mile coming back. This is the brutal hill where my BQ dreams died last year when I ran the National Marathon (an 11:04 twentieth mile in a race where my average pace was 8:48).
It was a perfect morning for running because although it was cold, it was still and clear with no wind. Although the brutally frigid temperature with an icy wind didn't arrive until the next day, it was still plenty cold if you weren't moving.
I know because as a favor to a race director, I then went to Belle Haven Park south of Alexandria on the Mount Vernon Trail to perform finish line duties at a club race down there that kept me occupied until early afternoon. This duty made me plenty chilly since I was sweaty and damp from my seventy-three minute run. Over 200 racers enjoyed this free (for club members, $5 for non-club members) half-marathon race, thanks to nineteen frozen volunteers who stood around like blocks of ice. These cheerful and willing volunteers are the backbone of club racing. I wonder though, what kind of thinking went into scheduling this 13.1 mile race in December?