Today’s Long Run was composed of the front six miles of the Indian Head Rail Trail that runs from Indian Head to White Plains in southern Maryland. I started out at the official start point of the trail, at a small park just outside the main gate of Naval base Indian Head, MD.
The trail is a 13.4 mile strip of paved asphalt nestled in the middle of heavy woodlands with stretches of marshland along the way. There is private property along the path; however, most of the pets are properly fenced in, and the one little white dog that I saw that was not was well mannered and not large enough to pose a threat. Speaking of animals, there were plenty of bunnies and a deer or two during the run. The Skin So Soft got quite a workout today; from now on, I will consider wearing some kind of headgear since that’s were most of the insect attacks ended up centering.
The course has plenty of amenities for hikers, biker, and runners. There are plenty of benches to rest up, relax, and take in the scenery. There are posted guides to the wildlife that live along the trail. The trail is wide enough that cyclers can share with their pedestrian fellow travelers. Finally (and thank God for this!) between the five and six mile markers is a Port-A-John, for those of us who gotta go when ya gotta go. To my credit, I only took a minute to clear my personal bilge pumps and continue the run.
I did a brisk :48′ and the four mile point and I was at 1:15 at the six mile point, coming into the final third of the run I clocked myself at 1:41. Out of the final four miles, i guess about two and a half of those were steady inclines. Just past the three mile marker on the return, I noticed that the path was slowly but surely going uphill. It wasn’t a sharp or steep ascent, but I could definitely tell that I was going to be climbing a bit on the way home. At the one-mile marker I was planning for one last closing kick, but near the last half mile I noticed the path inclining upwards again.
I crossed the arch at 2:35′. However, as I did my cool down walk, I noticed another mile marker marked “IHRT” at the end of the path. I surmised that THIS was the actual start point of the course instead of the archway. After some rough calculations for the start and the finished, I figured that I may have done the run in 2:37′-8′.
I almost did not do this run. I left the Southern Maryland Brew and BBQ in Leonardtown about 4:45. After a 40 minute drive, I got to one of the parking lots near the end of the trail. I did a trail recon, talked to a cyclist about my bearings, then found the 12-mile marker. Satisfied on where I was and the course layout (and painfully aware of the need for SSS), I hopped back in the car and headed for Indian Head for lodging and dinner.
About 1/2 mile out from the local Super 8 where I wanted to stay, I ran into a police roadblock. The detour provided by the Garmin in my car was going to be a 20 minute ride. During the trip I was hungry and frustrated and thought “If I don’t find the hotel soon, I’m just going to head back to Waldorf for dinner and head back home.” Eventually I found the Super 8 and settled for a smoking room (pretty clean). After another half hour trying to find the IHRT start point, I headed back to the hotel. At 2030, I grabbed dinner at Red Hot and Blue (BBQ joint), then went back to the hotel and crashed.
I’m not sure yet how I did with the fourteen-minute mile pace, but I think all went well with the run. I did no hydration the night before and my meal choice could be considered questionable (1/2 rack St Louis style spareribs, coleslaw, steamed veggies, small cornbread muffins, and 20 oz Coke). My alarm clock was set for my usual 0430, but never went off (still woke up only 10 minutes late). I also had to delay the run for a 45 minutes so I wouldn’t violate trail protocol by running before dawn.
The uphills took a lot out of me, so after the run I got a couple of small bags of ice to cool down my sore legs. Unfortunately, I spent 10 minutes struggling with the bath drain that never could close. The hotel manager solved the problem with a facecloth. My ice bath was an interesting experience; it took me a while to get my feet and legs used to the shock of the ice water. Anyway: ice bath, clean up and pack, Golden Corral for breakfast, to St Charles Towne Center (mall) for an Orange Julius w/energy boost, and an uneventful drive home. Uneventful that is, except for the county sheriff’s deputy that pulled up behind me at HWY-235 and Shangri-La, only a mile and a half from home. He made another turn after the light, and I was spared any undue issues with the police.
A short word about the SoMD Brew and BBQ and then I’ll save it for the Monday rant. Part of the reason why I agreed to work this weekend at the event was the opportunity to try some barbecue. Didn’t happen; there was only a two hour window in which the meat could be sampled (and only 600 tickers could be sold!). I got to the site to late to sample the meat, but I got to look at over twenty trays of uneaten meat.
This type of thing should not be that hard. You have vendors (who run BBQ rib shacks across the Mid-Atlantic) who cook large amounts of meat, and you have patrons, most of whom just got paid (Friday night) and want to buy said meat. There were three BBQ vendors among the food court participants, but…naw, I’m too tired, I’ll save if for tomorrow.
Such a happy song; such a sad subject matter (see lyrics: read ’em and weep):
Old school hip-hop:
Led Zeppelin w/”lyrics”: