When I want to run a hard, quick two miles downtown during the lunch hour, I run down NJ Avenue from Georgetown Law School to the bottom of Capitol Hill, turn left and run up the hill on Constitution Avenue to Maryland Avenue, down Maryland to and around Stanton Park, and then return to my starting point via Mass Avenue. As I finally try to come back to running after my ankle injury, yesterday I decided to reverse this course to make it easier by reducing the severity of the hill climb.
Of course elevation gain is the same on a circular course no matter which direction you run it. By reversing course I was trading the severe third of a mile climb on Constitution a mile into the run for a more gradual but longer and immediate climb on Mass Avenue.
I set off at an easy lope and passed by Union Station, where it became clear to me that something was terribly wrong. Only five minutes into the run, I was totally fagged and wanting to stop and walk.
I obviously have no conditioning left. But I persevered and finished the run in 19:30, a leisurely pace indeed (9:45), a satisfactory start to my return.