But I made it out to Alexandria VA's Bell Haven Park & Marina last Saturday to run 9 miles on the Mount Vernon Trail with my training group (Friends & Fitness). Amy picked me up and we carpooled together. It was an overcast day with little sun, and a decent temperature, but quite a bit of humidity. At the beginning of the season, I was trying to do these training runs at a 10:00/mile pace, but my body was so used to a slower marathon pace that I was having trouble maintaining 10:00 for very long. I will get there (and I will get even faster), but not until I am running fewer marathons and I improve my overall fitness. So, on this day I was expecting to run with Kathy's 11:00 pace group. However, they were planning to take it a little slower and run 11:30. That was fine with me, as just finishing the 9 miles was my primary goal after not running in a couple weeks. There was a small turnout of runners this week anyway, so my only other options were 9:00 (too fast) or 12:00 (too much in my comfort zone), or to run alone.
|Some of the Friends & Fitness runners at the almost halfway mark; time to raid the cooler for cold water and Gatorade back at Belle Haven|
|Starting at Belle Haven, we ran north for 2 miles, then back to start, then south for 2.5 miles, then back to start|
We set out along the Potomac doing 6:1 run:walk intervals. I felt really good at the start of the run and enjoyed seeing some new scenery. I've run many parts of the Mount Vernon Trail, but had never run the bit that goes under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which connects Virginia and Maryland across the Potomac River. Who knew there was a park area (Jones Point Park), complete with bathrooms and basketball courts, under the bridge? Well, obviously some people knew…but I didn't. We ran under the bridge twice on our out & back route.
|There was a WWI shipyard at Jones Point, and this is a rudder from that time period|
|Cloudy day looking across the Potomac; that's the Wilson Bridge on the left and National Harbor on the right|