Posts Tagged ‘Rock Creek Parkway’

In Which I Shoot Down Your Weak-Ass Resolutions.

Sing it, sister.

WEATHER: Unseasonably warm!


MILES THIS WEEK: Shamefully few.

WHERE TO: Hangoverland.

MOOD: Much better than this morning.


Some people run to relieve stress.  They are like the free and easy gazelles of the running world, prancing gaily across the savannah, leaving their cares and worries behind.

Some run for the privilege of eating every g.d. cheeseburger they please, thankyouverymuch. These are the Great Danes of the running world–the big strong capable-looking runners who look like they could probably beat your ass and then eat your entire head.  But only after this next episode of Two-And-A-Half Men and some buffalo wings.

Some run once every few months, after they overindulge at Big Bruce’s Nacho Factory Sports Bar ‘n’ Grill and as a result feel “not-so-fresh.” These people are not really part of the running kingdom, but I guess we could classify them as tree sloths, as they only really get in gear when they see the MIGHTY HARPIE EAGLE swooping in for the ambush.  “RAAAAAH!” screeches the eagle.  “Huh?” says the sl- OH MY GOD DID YOU SEE THAT?  GROSS!

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You don't understand this? Loser.



MILES: Many.


WHERE TO: Everywhere.

MOOD: Happy.


This all started in my high school running days, when I was a part of Podunk Iowa High School’s “Magnificent Seven” — the track team being unpopular exclusive enough to only have seven women on it.  As the resident distance runner, I ran the 3000, the 1500, and the 800.  And with each lap, I ran by Coach P., who would wail, stopwatch in hand as I blew by his corner of the track,


…and then he would go back to his nervous pacing and nail-chewing until I came back.

“YOU GOTTA GOOOO!” he yelled.

Which was a good point, really, because it would not have behooved me to have stopped mid-race.  So go I did.

Anyway, he often yelled my splits at me as I passed.

“1:45, DJ!” he yelled.

OK, said my 16-year-old brain. So multiply that by 7.5 laps, and…dear God, I have to speed up and also find another sport, because I’m going to cross that finish line and vom.  And for what?  A middle-of-the-pack finish, that’s- THAT STUPID BITCH JUST FLAT-TIRED ME I’M GONNA WAAAAAIL ON HER.

“GOOOOOOOO!” added Coach.

You magnificent rhetorical genius, said my brain.

But the tendency to work out complicated math problems also carried over to my training runs. Back when a 6-mile run was a big deal for me, it was a time to clear my head and think on the quiet country roads, and ponder derivatives and slopes and asymptotes and limits and wonder whether, if I ran a little more or aced a few more calc tests as a result of my running more, Tommy Van Der Hagen might finally want to date me, or at least tell his girlfriend to stop calling me “Vag-face” in an unnecessarily loud voice in front of authority figures in the halls, forcing me to body-check her in basketball practice later that day, and then every day for the rest of the season.

“Vag-face, we’re STRETCHING.  The scrimmage hasn’t even STARTED yet,” she would say.

“<forceful-headbutt-to-the-sternum>,” I would respond.

“BITCH!” she would yell.

“I KNOW CALCULUS!!!” I would howl victoriously, giving her a sports-bra-wedgie.*

Anyway. I still like to do math problems in my head while I run, because–not unlike podcasts–it gives me something to think about during long runs other than the steady growing ache in my hip tendons. Below is a sampling of math-AND-running-related problems for you to work out on your next jog.

Work quickly, show your work, grades will be passed out tomorrow.

1) A female runner was jogging along the C & O trail last Saturday, minding her own business, when she struck her clumsy foot upon a rock, sending her tumbling to the ground and scraping skin off of all of her right-side appendages in the process.

(a) Given that the runner is 140 pounds and was traveling at roughly 7 miles per hour, how far did she skid/bounce before coming to a halt at the feet of a kindly-looking running couple?

(b) Given the above weight and velocity, as well as the fact that the wind was from the east at 8 miles per hour, how many times did the woman who picked the runner back up unnecessarily say, “Oh, bless your heart!”?

(c) How many miles can said runner continue without looking at the blood dripping out of her palm and getting all woozy and shaky-legs?


2) A runner is jogging away from her home, which is along a diagonal street, represented by C in the diagram below, a street which is intersected by perpendicular streets A and B.  Said runner wants to get to the other end of side C, where untold running happiness (i.e., Rock Creek Park on the weekends) awaits. Only problem is the innumerable Pervy Perverson dudes hanging out outside of the innumerable liquor stores along street C, who yell dirty things (“I wanna HIT THAT!”) and nonsensical things (“Where the PARTY AT, girl?”) and James-Brown-lyric-sounding things (“Hit it and quit!”).  Said runner does not tolerate drunken harassment from anyone, aside from her housemates, as well as delightfully impressionable young Hill intern dudes, in town just for the summer and out at the bars all night in their brand-spanking-new suits, just hoping to make a friend or two, that’s all, when lo and behold in swoops an older, awkward but charming blonde journalist sort, cooing in a reassuring voice such gems as, “Oh baby listen, was Senator McConnell mean to you?  Aw, that’s too bad.  Have another gimlet or five and walk me home and gimme the DL.”  Awwwww girl.



(a) Assuming the runner wants to avoid street C, and assuming that angle CA is 65 degrees and street C is 4 miles long, how much longer will the new path along streets A and B be?

(b) Using the formula

M = (i^2 + H)/A

…where M is “miles a runner is willing to go out of her way,” i is “how irritated is she on a scale of 1 to 10?” and H is “hotness quotient as determined by the good folks on,” and A is Avogadro’s Number, is this detour going to be worth it?

(c) Said runner is trotting along, when suddenly across a park she sees one of the Pervy Perversons, only to spot, with her finely tuned eyes, a HILL ID BADGE holy God it’s an intern SWARM SWARM!

…so how long will the new route, from angle AB to point 1, take her to run, assuming that she increases her speed from 7 to 12 mph and leaps over a few park benches in the process?


3) Assuming a runner goes through seven gels a weekend, at $1.29 a pop, plus finally buckled a few weeks ago and bought a $50.99 fuel belt (plus whatever the DC sales tax is) and furthermore runs 85 miles a week, buying a new pair (costing roughly $90, again with sales tax) every 500 miles, and also showering twice a day and washing lots of clothes because of her truly remarkably awful running-funk and upping the water bill by $10 each month, how much…no, wait…better question: how hard is she going to have to work to NOT realize that she could be just as happy by spending all that money on a bottle of Jim Beam and a Netflix queue fullllllllll of shirtless-Matt-Damon movies?


4) A 110-pound, 42-year-old female runner has eaten 1200 calories today, most of it in the form of seaweed and wheat germ, and has run 35 miles today, at 6.8 mph, burning 600 calories per hour, and has also drunk 2 gallons of green tea to kick off her weekend master cleanse. Assuming that burning 3500 calories equals shedding one pound and that her body fat composition is 14 percent, will you please punch me in the face if I ever become this person?


5) Let f(x) = (x^2 + 1)/(x+2).

(a) Using L’Hopital’s Rule, what is the limit of f(x) as x approaches 3?

(b) I STILL KNOW CALCULUS! <gives you a sports-bra wedgie>

EXTRA CREDIT: Is Tommy Van Der Hagen still single?

*Don’t know what it is?  Come over here and I’ll show you.

Thoughtful Discourse

I get more hits when I include beautiful-man pics. Go figure.

WEATHER: Fantastic.

MILES: Zero.  POW!

MILES THIS WEEK: Many.  Already.

WHERE TO: Nowhere.

MOOD: Exhausted.


I was at this party a few weekends ago at which a friend asked me if I listened to music while I run.

Now, let me digress for a second.  Because I feel like every single runner I meet is either a Luddite purist or incapable of going on even a simple two-mile jog without having Tool drilling into his/her skull at volume level 14.  No one is in-between.  Which I don’t get.  Because sometimes you need Enrique to move you along, and sometimes you just need to silently judge other runners in silence, you know?


“Not all the time,” I responded.

“Well, don’t you go CRAZY?  What do you think about?” she asked.

Ironically, her question itself has made me go crazy, because now when I’m running all I can think about is, “Huh.  What AM I thinking about?” and now my flow is totally gone.  (Thanks a lot, party-friend-lady.  Jerkface.)  It’s like when you for whatever reason start thinking about breathing and suddenly realize that you can’t do it correctly anymore, and now maybe it won’t be voluntary anymore and you’ll have to think about breathing until the day you die.  Holy s**t, that would suck, wouldn’t it?

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Running, The Stars, and You

Yay, astrology! I mean, why ever make another logic-based decision for yourself again?

WEATHER: Rainy, yes, but at least it’s not want-to-die-hot.

MILES: 22.


WHERE TO: Beach Drive, Crescent Trail, home.

MOOD: Exhausted.


Sorry about the lack-of-posting again.  Posting just once a week makes me a tease, I realize, and I shouldn’t toy with your emotions that way, baby.  I’m sorry.  I’ll make it up to you.  And while I’d love nothing more than to find my Luther Vandross collection and candles, let me remind you that it’s Sunday, and what I got planned, sweet thang, isn’t a sabbath-day activity (also, Jesus hated Luther Vandross).

Or we could just do something occult-related.  Yes, let’s do that.  So:


Aries (March 21-April 20) — Today finds you feeling restless and stubborn, like the mighty ram that you are. Though you don’t want to go do those mile repeats, trust me — your body will thank you.  Today’s workout will lead you to good fortune and possibly new romantic prospects.  Pursue these with alacrity, mindful of the fact that you are compatible with Tauruses but not Cancers.  Take the day off.  Find yourself.

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Another Lesson in Nutrition

I weigh WHAT? Maybe if I remove my toenails...

WEATHER: Once again, gorgeous.

MILES: 19.


WHERE TO: Beach Drive, Bethesda, Wisconsin Ave., home.

MOOD: Exhausted.


If you’re like me or any other person anywhere ever, you want to eat more as your mileage climbs.  I personally can honestly say that, having run a combined 40 bajillion miles between yesterday and today, I’m inclined to go stalk a mighty zebra and chomp on its haunches National-Geographic-style for a while.  Or something.

Now, you see, I try not to worry about food and weight loss and all that, as the other morning I lost nearly half a pound in one run, when a ginormous blister on my left foot popped.


Anyway, my point here is that, as you eat more, you have more opportunities to SCREW UP.  So I’m here to once again write about proper nutrition.  Why do I write about food so much?  Because I want to give you a complex.  And also, I want to show you a couple of simple dietary substitutions to help you run longer, faster, better, healthier, and — most importantly — HOTTER.  So.  Welcome to…


Eat: Fat-free, sugar-free yogurt with eight (8) blueberries and 1/2 cup unsweetened granola.

Not: 2 Belgian waffles with maple syrup and chocolate chips.

Because…Yeah, the waffles are delicious, but the yogurt option is so good for you and…equally…delicious…


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Rectifying Several Matters…




WHERE TO: C&O Towpath, Rock Creek Parkway, home.

MOOD: Overenthusiastic.


So this post applies to Saturday, not Sunday, which is the day that is technically now happening.  Anyhow.

Two blog-related matters to address:

1) Rusty wishes to point out that he is not the “instigator” of the 50-mile idea, which is sort of true.  I suppose the real way the conversation happened was as follows:

HE: So I’ve been thinking of doing a longer race, and…


HE: …um…your eye is twitching or something…

ME: HOLY SHIT RUSTY!  IT’LL BE GREAT! <does ecstatic handstand>


2) A word from my Pakistani friend: “After reading the blog posts, I must admit that it will forever haunt me, as I add a needless clause to make this sentence longer and a just a little convoluted, that I can’t be Madam Kickass. Henceforth the pursuit will be to become Hottie McSixpack. This may also never happen.”

…thus proving that I know some truly awesome and effortlessly witty people.

But I will not call her Hottie McSixpack until she earns it.  I have no idea how this will happen, aside from her inviting me over to her (gorgeous) patio for an evening of beverages, and then perhaps her shotgunning 6 Tecate tallboys in my presence in rapid succession.

Let’s see it, lady.

PS: How did 23 miles come out of nowhere today?  I have no idea.  Such is the mystery of DC’s awesome running trails.

The Boyfriend Analogy


WEATHER: 20 degrees and sunny.




WHERE TO: From Iwo Jima Memorial, across Key Bridge, over to the Rock Creek Park trail, and up through the park until our watches said it had been a bit over an hour.  And then back to Iwo Jima.

MOOD: Cold


Long run with S. today, up Rock Creek Parkway and back.  I had been considering a large bowl of oatmeal for brunch, with maybe a bowl of fruit on the side.  So naturally we went to Ray’s Hell Burger.  Having been eating quasi-vegetarian-ly for a while, and having not eaten red meat in at least 4 months, I was unsure.  Until I had a few bites, followed by a full-on mouthgasm, and had to lie down.

One topic on which S. and I talked today is the challenge of not showing off as a marathoner.  It’s a tough line to walk.  One tries not to bring it up, but then again — well, OK.  It takes up a lot of time.  It’s a daily companion.  It’s like a boyfriend.  So.  Imagine going through your life without telling anyone about your significant other because every time you did, you felt as if you were saying, “Ooh!  Look at me!  I’m dating So-and-so!  Lalala!”

But then someone at, say, happy hour brings up running and you just can’t help but get excited — “Oh, really?  Where do you run?  What races have you done?  ISN’TRUNNINGAMAZING??!?!!!?” you say, with a sort of creepy and disarming enthusiasm at having FOUND A KINDRED SPIRIT!  Maybe he’ll talk chafing with you!

But oh, now you’ve done it.  Because after rattling off all his achievements, large and small, then Mr. Happy Hour says,

“What races have you done?”

Now here you have a problem.  Do you say, “Oh, just a few here and there…” and hope Happy Hour leaves it there?  Or do you go for honesty?

Well, let’s assume you’re honest.

“Oh, I’ve done a few marathons.”  (Which, using my analogy, is the equivalent of saying, “Not only do I have a boyfriend, he’s HOT.  And LITERATE.”)

“Oh, which ones?”

“Twin Cities, Marine Corps, Grandma’s…” (“…and he’s employed…”)


“Boston…” (“…employed as a BRAIN SURGEON…”)

See, now Happy Hour is not so sure he’s happy he walked into this situation, but you’ve both gone down a path you can’t get off of, because once you tell someone you’ve run Boston, they HAVE to ask, “Ummm…how fast do you run?”

And so you respond by sort of muttering your qualifying time. (“Did I say ‘brain surgeon’?  Because I meant ‘brain surgeon AND a model AND an Italian chef AND the DC Fire Department’s resident HOTTIE…'”)

Happy Hour cocks his head, now clearly thinking you’re such a tool for having told him about your mad running skillz (boyfriend), and now he feels inadequate, and, to be honest, you feel kind of dirty, too, but someone is asking about your BOYFRIEND, for Chrissakes, and what are you supposed to do, just sort of shrug and say, “Meh, he’s OK”???  NO!  What did we learn in Girl Scouts?  HONESTY, kids!

“And how many have you run?”

And then you tell him your number.  (“Also, my boyfriend farts rainbows and knows where SEVEN HIDDEN G-SPOTS ARE.”)

Happy Hour, unable to take it, punches you in the face.  You slump to the floor, rubbing your jaw, a little stunned, but generally thinking, “Meh.  I probably deserved that.”


I think we can all learn a valuable lesson from this little parable: lie.  LIE. The next time someone asks me if I’m a runner, I’m going to go in the complete opposite direction.

“Ummm…I don’t have legs…”

I think this will work well.