One. Damn. Sign.
All I had to do was take a few extra seconds to look at a sign; my cataracts have NOT impacted my night vision that much. And there was enough moonlight from a waxing gibbous full moon that I could have made it out.
A quarter mile into the run, I ran into a wooden bridge with a sign. One arrow with the words “Mt. Vernon” and the other arrow pointing towards “Washington.” Without taking a proper look at the sign, I took the arrow pointing towards “washington” and ended up running a mile and back on the bridge spanning I-66 towards DC.
My motto for this weekend: “If you can’t see the Potomac River…you’re doing it wrong.” I did see the Potomac as I crossed the bridge, but I was running across it instead of alongside it. That mistake cost me 25 minutes and a lot of burn on a bridge that was kind of steep.
Once I backtracked to the actual MVT, I was fine. The moon was out and my legs were okay. I had to take a couple of early bathroom breaks, but nothing serious. Oh, and the Port-A-John area near Reagan National Airport was much cleaner this year.
The long-sought fork at Daingerfield Park had a sign with the MVT route through Old Town Alexandria, Va. The sign pointed towards the River Route which was along the Potomac. I took the left fork ( following directions! who knew?) and was eventually rewarded with the run down Union Street…just as I had mapped out the night before.
And then things went south…my legs as well as my map direction. My split times were now in the 13 minute range, and as I passed out the Belle Haven Park area, my legs started to tighten up. After the seven mile marker, I just ran out of gas. Cursing myself for burning out trying to get back on course, I slowed to a walk. I vowed to finish the course, “power walking” with some attempts ant getting back into running along the way.
I never found that second wind; the final third of the Trail going into Mount Vernon was a bunch of hills, one after the other. I ran the downhills and the flats when I could, but I didn’t have anything in the tank to try and run all the slopes and inclines on the final stretch. While not an actual trail run, the constant ups and downs were like running a trail run on all asphalt.
I managed to walk into the start line of the Mount Vernon Trail, get my obligatory post-run selfie, and did a brief cool down. Anxious for an epsom salt bath and chocolate milk, I eschewed the troubled DC transit system and called an Uber to take me back to the hotel.
Again: One. Damn. Sign.
In light of this week’s “unqualified success”/”hot garbage,” I am going to cut back this week, going 3 miles, 4 miles and 10 on Sunday. I will push out the 20 miler a week.
Song of the Day: Julie Driscoll-Brian Auger-The Trinity/”This Wheel’s On Fire:”
The original song, written by Bob Dylan and performed with The Band on the Basement Tapes, was about God reprimanding Man for reneging on an agreement regarding their relationship. From Genius.com:
“The song title references two famous images from the Old Testament: the vision of wheels within wheels seen by the prophet Ezekiel, and the burning bush seen by Moses. Both of these images defy human explanation and experience, and assert God’s complete mastery over the laws of the material world.
“In this context, the song could be read as God (the singer) chiding Man for expecting a divine response to earthly concerns (much as in the book of Job.) The singer and the person(s) addressed seem to have had some agreement that the addressee forgot or backed out of.
“The apocalyptic image of the chorus suggests man-made (vehicular) destruction, but both the wheel and fire are symbols for the Judeo-Christian God. In the above interpretation, these lines might be saying, “You’ve brought your misery on yourselves by going back on our agreement. I’m as good as dead to you.”
As far as Julie, Brian and the two dudes known as the Trinity (and Brian and Julie would have made four), they decided to up the tempo of the song. Julie’s singing is haunting, and Brian’s organ solo at the song makes you wish the song lasted for just a minute or two more because this is going somewhere, dammit!
Post script: About twenty years later, Julie teamed up with Adrian Edmonson to record this song as the theme song for the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous.
I have watched the show, and enjoyed it. Same with the full version of the theme song.