20 Miler – Check! And a tour of the C&O Canal

My brother and his wife arrived in town way too freaking late on Friday night (we didn’t get to bed until 2am!) which meant a 20 miler on Saturday morning was not in the cards.  Karl and I took Monday off from work to spend time with them, so we decided to use Monday as our long run day.

Since we start most of our long runs from the Roosevelt Island to meet up with the group, we decided to drive over to Fletcher’s Boathouse, 3 miles down the road instead and catch the C&O Canal trail, that we liked so much for our 19 miler.  I had been there before a couple of years back, so I wasn’t worried about finding the place, plus the directions were easy, and we knew there would be no traffic going into DC at 6am.

I even decided to wear my compression socks for the first time out on a run, since I liked them so much for recovery!

Getting to Fletcher’s Boathouse though?  A freaking adventure!  Nowhere when I was looking for directions did it tell me that Canal Rd, where I was supposed to turn into, was closed for westbound traffic in the mornings.  How the heck would we access the place if you need to get there in order to get to Fletcher’s?  Add another 45 minutes to our ride while we got lost in MD (I think), finally made our way into Chain Bridge Rd, added an illegal u-turn, and off on Canal Rd heading east we went (by that point, it was a matter of pride!).  Then making a right turn into the narrow driveway was impossible (it was obviously made for people merging left into it), and there was no way to adjust my car without going into the traffic flow lane, so off in reverse we went.  Fun times.

We started our run an hour later than scheduled.  The trail was foggy, and a bit creepy looking, but at least it provided a change of scenery from our last run there!

The weather was perfect for running at that time, in the 60’s, no wind.  We were super happy to be out there!

It was a peaceful run, with the canal on one side, the woods on the other…  I was so happy I brought my camera out, even though it slowed me down a bit because I kept taking pictures!

I even took pictures that made us look fast!

The fog was clearing up and we got to some really pretty views, that we hadn’t run by before!

We saw a couple of baby deer, but they were too quick for us to get a picture.

I did get a shot of this GINORMOUS bird that I had never seen before.  The wingspan of this thing was huge!  We were in awe of the first one we saw, but then we passed tons by the canal!

The views kept getting prettier… (Karl was trying out his leg sleeves for the first time too!)

Luckily there weren’t many people out on a Monday morning, because I looked like a total dork.

And I had to get pictures of me in front of the pretty view too!

At around 8 miles in, we were starting to get really sweaty…

But we kept passing so many pretty looking places that we didn’t even notice the miles ticking by…

It was just such a peaceful morning…

We really didn’t want it to end!

The sun finally started to come out as we approached our tenth mile…

And as much as we wanted to keep on going, we had to head back, since my brother and his wife would be waiting for us for to hit the outlets that afternoon…

The way back wasn’t as exciting!  After seeing such nice views, turning back and heading to DC was completely boring.  Specially the swampy looking areas, with freaking green water.  But at least I got to see turtles!

We had to walk a bit here and there, specially towards the end, but I think overall we must have walked at most a half mile or so, if that much.  Not too bad, specially considering how the heat picked up on those last 10 miles, after the sun came out.

With one mile to go, I told Karl to run his last mile fast and drop me, and I would pick it up for my last mile too.  I was barely shuffling along until then, but I kicked it — and finished my last mile at a 9:09 pace!  Of course, I wanted to die, but I was DONE!

Overall, we finished it in 4:06:43, at a 12:20 pace (perfect for me).  The 2300 calories burned don’t hurt either!  (Sadly, with visitors in town, I probably made up those calories in one meal…)

This weekend I have a 12 miler on the schedule, and I’ll probably run it around the National Mall, but for my next 20 miler, next weekend, I really really really want to run the C&O Canal one way.  I’ve spent way too much time in the last couple of days trying to figure out where I can drop my car at mile 20 or so overnight, so that I can run in one direction.  It got so pretty after mile 8, and I really wanted to keep on going.  Turning back to DC sucked.  Plus, it would be nice to run by Great Falls too!  (If you have any idea where I can leave my car — park service parking lots do not allow overnight parking — please let me know!)


Filed under C&O Canal Trail, Chicago Marathon Training, Marathon Training, Pictures

12 responses to “20 Miler – Check! And a tour of the C&O Canal

  1. Next time I’m in DC, I have to see this path… looks awesome. And I’m cracking up at the photo that makes you “look fast”. You’re silly.

    Off topic, but do you know when registration opens for the 2011 MCM? Any interest in running the full???

    • I never liked that trail before (SO boring near DC), but now I’m in love with it!

      Registrations are either in April or May, can’t remember exactly, but this year it sold out quick.

      Don’t know if I’ll ever do the full MCM (I’m signed up for the 10k now), it just feels soooo boring running 26 miles around the crap I see everyday… Plus, no idea if I’ll still be in DC next October (though I will definitely know by the time registration opens, if all goes well, we should find out in February where we’ll end up and when we leave).

  2. Beautiful scenery and very cute matching compression socks 😉

    • The matching wasn’t on purpose! I have two compression socks and their both pink — the shirt I grabbed that morning when I was too sleepy to think about matching. But it worked!

      (Hmmmm, now you made me think I should buy more compression socks so I can coordinate them with my outfits in the future. If I’m going to look like a dork, might as well make it look like it’s on purpose!)

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  5. Tia

    You make running look like fun. 🙂 Maybe one day, it will be for me! I’m sure it’s great to have a running partner.

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  7. Cindy

    I ran from Point Of Rocks to Whites Ferry. it is just 12 miles. I am new to this and have only ran 2 half marathon. I would love to discuss running a full marathon with someone. About the training. I work and am very busy and just don’t want to spend weeks and weeks and hours and hours training. So I wanted to no what your traing was like. I think it would take me 6 hours to do 20. I want to do it by myself and my fear is getting hurt and no way to protect myself. Any suggestions.

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