MCM 2019/T-Minus 76: Cyclist

It is 20 ’til 2 on a Sunday afternoon in Tyson’s Corner, Va. I finished my Sunday run five hours ago. I have missed breakfast, brunch, and every televised minute of the Opening Weekend of the English Premier League on NBC Sports Network. I will probably have to order Uber Eats to get any kind of meal at a respectable price today.

…and I’m okay with that.

Saturday:

The scare of the weekend: After my circuit workout, which was an hour late with no pre-workout stretch, I was halfway up the stairs to my apartment when my left knee suddenly and painfully gave out on me. It wasn’t a clean break or caving in of the patella, but it hurt like hell and I had to limp up the stairs.

This obviously put the Sunday run in jeopardy, but in a long-term sense maybe the whole MCM training schedule. Could I really afford to take yet another week off? How many more times will I be hurt, and how severely, before I am forced to call off the Marine Corps Marathon for 2019?

I did find a Copper Fit Knee Sleeve which I purchased a couple of years ago. I contemplated buying another one so I could have one for each leg. Unfortunately I spent Saturday picking around with getting a rental car and some shopping that i wanted to do, so I didn’t get on the road until 4:30 p.m., arriving at the hotel just before 6:00. I had just enough time to find my starting point at the Old Angler’s Inn in Potomac, MD and do a quick scouting of at least the first mile.

In retrospect, I could have taken an Uber to Enterprise and picked up the car, but I asked them to pick me up instead. Unfortunately I forgot/underestimated how busy Enterprise gets on the weekends, and my ride didn’t show up until 10:30.a.m., which meant rescheduling my eye doctor appointment. I did get my rental car, about $40 of food at BJs, and lunch at Chick-Fil-A…but no second Copper Fit Sleeve.

I did get dinner at the hotel, a nice 12-oz sirloin with garden veggies. What I didn’t get was a lot of hydration, and I wondered how much I was going to suffer for it tomorrow morning.

Sunday > Saturday

Reveille went at 0345, fifteen minutes before myself scheduled alarm. I wanted to eat my breakfast, dress, and stretch before the 15-minute drive from the hotel to Old Angler’s Inn, the “traditional” start of the MacArthur Boulevard Bike Path. Just before heading out the door at 0445, I had to take my pre-run No.2. That cost me ten minutes and got me a start time of 0515. Aside from the drive, it didn’t help that I had to adjust all the necessary evils in my FlipBelt-three GU’s, 20-oz. Mio water, car key, room key, smartphone-before finally stepping off.

The opening mile was DARK. Full moon was out but damn near nothing made it through the first canopy. The course is well-worn, and there was a good amount of tree detritus around, but fortunately I had a nimble step and no potholes. The wrong step at the wrong time in this darkness could have ended my Sunday before it barely started. Nevertheless, sunlight finally spread at the four mile mark, with an average pace of 11:47. This wasn’t bad for an opening three miles that felt like it was taking a gradual climb.

I had to take a No.1 real bad, and I passed a good chance to go in the bushes from the 2~3 mile marks. However, just after I pushed past Mile Four, I ran by Cabin Park and saw what looked to be the doors to a couple of Port-A-Johns. Pace and time be damned, I veered across the road, nearly stubbed/twisted something jumping over the small gulley and streaked over to the actual Port-A-John.

Thank you, God, and the local parks and recreation office.

I exited the Port-A-John and then took my Gu-Mio break, having disregarded my pace for Mile 5. As I hit the five mile mark, I saw an Exxon station at the turnoff to Goldsboro Road. I couldn’t tell if it was open, though.

Just before the halfway mark, I hit the most severe climb of the run. It would also be the most severe downhill of the run, and I had to be careful on my stride on the way down; not taking a chance of a faceplate today. The actual bike path ended at the Exxon Station, just before Norton Street NW (hello, Washington, D.C…sort of), but I hit the actual eight mile point somewhere between Norton NW/Longboro SW and Newark St. NW.

Another Gu, more Mio, and back home I went.

The way back to Potomac was more downhill than uphill, so I did what I could to open up my stride on the gradual downslopes. I didn’t get that many negative splits, and the last mile was more uphill than I thought, but I was feeling pretty good when I passed the Old Angler’s Inn sign to finish the run…at exactly sixteen miles.

In retrospect, I should have also taken my Marine-issue OD green sweat bottoms along, so I could put them on and do a warm down walk before heading back to the hotel.

MacArthur Path

Is it an actual bike path? Yes, with signs at regular intervals and cyclist and arrow markings along the well-worn path. Does it run alongside MacArthur Boulevard? Yes. However, it isn’t really, officially named The MacArthur Boulevard Bicycle Path by any local authority. In other words, there are no signs along the way that designate it as such. No mile markers either.

The parking lot to the Inn was PACKED last night as I made my recon run. No dinner there last night, and  wasn’t up for the drive back for brunch later that morning.

There was a public restroom across the road from the Inn. It was open as I finished my run about 0835, but I didn’t know if it was open when I started my run three hours earlier.

Most of the cyclists I was rode on the street, going towards Potomac, rather than sharing the path with me (riding with traffic…duh!). The actual path didn’t get really populated until 0730, and they were all courteous to me. I did see a dog-walker or two and some other runners.

MacArthur Path was a good Sunday run overall. The weather was beautiful; all sunny and no humidity. The course was well worn but had enough ups and downs where you could get a really good workout. Also, no potholes…yet. Maybe someday when the local government officials takes ownership of the path?

Song of the Day: Okay, I know I have been negligent but it’s a quarter to three and I still haven’t had a full meal. I will have songs tomorrow…I promise.

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