Wednesday, November 1, 2017

15 Mile Long Run

I thought I'd share more details about my long run as I've been putting more thought into planning them now that the distance is more than half marathon distance.

So this week was supposed to be 15 miles.  And it was the first week my running buddy was back in town after several weeks away for work!  This was going to be the longest run ever for both of us and I wanted to make it fun.  I also wanted to avoid a lot of prolonged uphill.  I love the Capital Crescent Trail that runs from Maryland to DC but hate that it is mostly uphill on the way back.  So I decided on a point to point, starting in Maryland and ending in downtown DC.

Of course this meant working out some logistics in advance.  I made brunch reservations in downtown DC to include Mike and another good friend of ours.  This gave us a nice end goal to work towards :)  It also meant that Mike would meet us downtown with the car and be able to drive us back to Maryland.  It still would have worked without a driver, we just would have had to take the metro back to Maryland and that would have made the trip a bit longer.

So my friend and I met bright and early in Bethesda.  There was some unforeseen construction which meant she had problems finding parking but it worked out and we started just a little bit later then planned.  This first part was a nice, paved trail that's very popular with runners and bicyclists in the area.  It's beautiful and pretty shady as well.  There were some rolling hills but it's a net downhill.  The trail also has water fountains every couple miles or so.

We hadn't seen each other in a while so we spent most of this time catching up while running.  I didn't even have to turn on my headphones until mile 9 or so!  Company really makes long runs much more enjoyable.  So we were on the trail for about 7 miles or so and then we hit Georgetown.  It became much more crowded at this point but we were also running by the river, which was nice.  There was also less shade.

Yes, that is a bride and groom paddle boarding in their wedding attire!

We continued on by the river and passed the Kennedy Center.  We did get a little lost at one point and ended up trudging through some grass to try to find out way again.  I think this was one of the 17 minute splits we had.  Once we found our way, we went down Hains Point, which is a little peninsula.  This is still by the river and we meant to go the whole way around the peninsula but the pavement became a bit dodgy so we turned back early.

Then we found ourselves at the Jefferson Memorial and this ended up being a good time for a bathroom break.  We had to circle the building a bit to find the entrance to the bathroom so I think this was another 17+ minute split.  Once that was taken care of, we continued onto the national mall to run past the Smithsonian Museums, to the Capitol building, and back down the other side of the mall to the Washington Monument.  This section was on a dirt/and gravel type surface and the softer surface definitely felt good at this point.

After going past the Washington Monument, we turned north to go up 17th street.  This sadly meant that we were ending our run with some uphill sections but it was ok because it was leading us to brunch.  We went up the street for several blocks, turned right eventually to get to 14th street, and then going downhill for a couple blocks got us to the restaurant.  And I hit 15 miles right when I reached the block the restaurant was on!  Mike and our other friend were already seated and had big glasses of cold water ready for us :)  Mike had also brought us Shower Pills and clothes to change into so we were more comfortable during brunch as well.

So that was our 15 miler!  It was fun and definitely made the time seem to go by faster when there was so much to see.

Pros:  Varied surfaces felt good on our feet, interesting sights, mostly downhill or flat, shade for much of it, water fountains and bathrooms, easy to adjust mileage by doing more or less of the Mall.

Cons:  Logistics of working out a point to point run.