I was in the mood for a new place to run this morning, so I drove 15 minutes out to Georgetown. Set back a few blocks from the bustle of M Street's stores and restaurants is the southern endpoint of the C&O Canal.
The 185-mile long canal was built in the early 19th century as a means of transporting goods (especially coal) along the route from Washington, DC to Western Pennsylvania. Its various bridges, locks, dams, aqueducts and tunnels are impressive and beautiful. The canal is no longer in use, but the whole route has been taken into custody by the Parks Service, and the towpath that runs alongside is very popular with runners and bikers.
Since I'm not yet in shape to run 370 miles, I decided to run out for five miles, and then back in. Ten miles is my favorite running distance these days - long enough to get a good workout and enjoy some time to myself, but short enough that I don't have to worry about hydration, joint pain, or other issues. Just strap on the watch and go!
And go, I did. The path was shady and running by the water seemed to cool the air. The city was left behind quickly, and although I slowed down at a few places to observe geese and butterflies, I still managed to turn in a 9:13 pace, much faster than my record in December of 9:37. This was my only run this week, and the days of rest seem to have done me some good.
This may be my new favorite route in DC - especially since after the run was done, I was able to head over to the outdoor cafe at Dean & DeLuca and enjoy the Sunday paper!