Saturday, May 26, 2012

I'm Falling

I told the Program Director of the Walk-To-Run Cycle 2 program I'm coaching for that I was going to change my status to "drop-in" coach, showing up as often as needed like last week when the director was busy and I took the trainees out.  Excuse me, the trainee out.  We went four miles on the Mount Vernon Trail past Washington National Airport at a ratio of one minute of running and four minutes of walking.

That was fine but I want to build my base up a little faster than that.  So this morning I ran with my running buddy John, who I ran with all last fall when I built my base up to 9 miles and shed 30 pounds doing so.  (Ten of those pounds have come back in my present slothiness.)

He's about my speed and a little older than me so I can run with him without embarrassing myself.  For an old timer he's fit, but he hasn't been running for awhile, so we started out at three to four miles.  It was good to lope along with him and catch up, even though first I was breathing heavily, then he was.

The omnipresence of Harleys in DC on Memorial Day weekend was evident as dozens, no, hundreds of Rolling Thunder bikes rolled noisily past us constantly for the entire 35 minutes we were out there.  A big congregation of 1200 cc riders stopped to allow us to run across a crosswalk and cheered us on with shouts of encouragement.  They were pleased to see two guys in their sixties out running and we were pleased to see dozens of guys in their sixties and seventies out on their bikes, and we were especially grateful that none of them tipped over on their heavy hogs as they waited for us to pass.

On the backside of the Lincoln Memorial I ran down the steps to the River Road and back up--twice.  John joined me for the secopnd descent and ascent.

It was a beautiful day for the first of our escalating series of Saturday morning runs but some funny stuff happened.  A pretty girl ran by us and we lamented to her that she was faster and fitter than us and she threw over her shoulder as she ran away, "You're older is why." 

We encountered congestion on the Mount Vernon Trail with a bicycle coming up on several runners approaching us the other way and I took to the grass off the footpath to avoid the bicycle but the rider took to the grass too instead of slowing down and kept pointing toward me as I went wider and wider.  He just about ran me down head on.

A heavily accented black runner stopped us and asked which way to the "D.C. Monument."  "The Washington Monument?" I asked.  He nodded so I directed him past the Iwo Jima Statue towards Memorial Bridge and said, "You can't miss it."  He thanked us and took off at rocket speed, albeit running easily.  We theorized he was an elite African runner here sightseeing.  Next he was probably going to run up to Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell.

I took a full-blown header onto the concrete sidewalk, my first fall running in several years.  Talking with John, somehow I missed a half-inch rise between two cement panels in the sidewalk and struck it head on with my toe and went sprawling.  John said I did a graceful swan dive onto the sidewalk, and I merely skinned my left knee and bruised my palms.

We partook coffee at Starbucks after our three and a half mile run in just under 35 minutes, where we saw some of my acquaintances from my former running club run by on their SLR.  None of them stopped to chat with me, the former president of the club.  I resigned a couple of years ago after being subjected to unbelievable effrontery from the head of the club's IT department and his gang of twenty-something running geeks, boorish jackals all.  That guy is the current president, having barely attained thirty.

It felt great!  Next week we're going to push it out a mile further, running down the most venerated grass strip of all, the National Mall.

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