Tuesday, January 17, 2012

C&O Canal 12 Mile

Back at the canal again last weekend.  I keep thinking that I'll get bored with running here, but so far I am enjoying it more and more.  I went back to the "out and back" routine this time.  I started at Point of Rocks and ran north-west to Brunswick.

Two days before running I was in to visit the podiatrist.  I've been suffering from a lot of pain in my right Achilles tendon and wanted to get it checked out.  The doctor was none to pleased when she asked me to describe my pre-run stretching regimen and I replied with "none".  So, I've been stretching the tendons religiously ever since and I have already noticed an improvement.  I guess doctors aren't all complete idiots.

So with my legs feeling a lot less pain I trotted off down the trail for a couple hours.  I brought a camera along again this time and took a few shots.  It's kind of funny that I only stopped once to try and get a good shot at the Catoctin Aqueduct and it turned out very blurry.  The rest of them I just slowed down a little and snapped pictures while I ran.

It was quite cold this week, but I was prepared with a freshly purchased hoodlum mask. It must have been quite intimidating because I encountered a guy with big scary dog who took one look at me and ran the other way.  It was most likely just a coincidence that he chose that particular moment to turn and start jogging the other way, but I enjoyed pretending to be intimidating for a couple miles.  Eventually he ran out of steam and walked off one of the side trails.  I still had 3 miles to go.

Parking lot at Point of Rocks.  The water was very high!

CSX train headed up the tracks.

and into the tunnel. This train went to Brunswick and stopped.  I ran along side it for at least a mile as it was parked on the tracks.

Approaching the Catoctin Aqueduct

View from the Catoctin Aqueduct. The Potomac river is flowing right to left at the end of this stream.

Railroad bridge over the Catoctin Aqueduct.  This is about 3.5 miles from Point of Rocks.

Scary man, from below.

Scary man, from above.

The turn around point. The car is blocking the entrance to the Brunswick Family Campground.

The camp ground was closed.  It looks like a nice park.  I guess it was closed due to high water, but I'm not really sure.  There was a police car in front of the gate, but no one was in it.

The trail beckons.

This is Lock #28, Fulton's Lock.  I was really starting to get tired at this point and snapped a couple of pictures to get my mind off of the repetitive urging to stop and walk.

The Lock House belonged to William Henry Fulton, originally from Loudon County Virginia. (Source:
After passing the lock house I kept looking for the Route 15 bridge, which is right next to where I parked.  I decided that I would sprint as best I could to the bridge and then allow myself to walk if I hadn't hit 12 miles by then. I passed under the bridge moving at a somewhat less than glacial pace and my watch said 11.95 so I kept going until I hit the parking lot.

I was quite pleased when I looked at the data from my watch.  I ran an average time of 9:31.  I keep edging closer to four hour marathon time.  I don't want to allow myself to even hope for that kind of time at the race.  I'll just keep at it and see where I end up.

Next week will be a big challenge.  I am scheduled to run 14 miles which will be .9 miles further than I have ever run before.  If Cindi is available to drive me, I will run from Point of Rocks to White's Ferry.

Time to log off here and go for a six miler around the neighborhood. Cheers!

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