Having seen where I erred last week, losing the Four Mile Run Trail when I crossed Shirlington Road without also crossing the bridge, I figured I was in for a smooth run today when I did the trail I had intended. I was wrong from the very outset. My calves and shins were both extremely tight and didn't respond to stretching the way I wanted them to. I think I tied my shoelaces too tight, so I had to loosen them a few times. My plan was to run 7:00 pace until the turn onto the Four Mile Run Trail and then drop down to 6:00 pace for 10 miles, with a mile and change cooldown. I was having trouble hitting my pace when I passed my first three time points, but thought I was on track for the fourth, 4.5 miles in. It turns out I was way off and almost a half mile wrong. If the mile markers on the Mt. Vernon Trail were to be believed, I ran 6:04 and 6:34 for two of the miles heading south, and was not pleased.
Regardless, I picked it up when I hit Four Mile Run. I made the correct turns and caught the trail on the steam's south bank, but I was pushing too hard to hit 6s. The shins were a little looser, but I didn't feel great, so I just quashed the tempo and decided to just run it in. I ended up missing a few turns, then hit some more significant hills than I had realized were on the trail, and was glad I didn't try to push up them. For a steady tempo effort, the W&OD is pretty solid, if boring. Four Mile Run was nice in that it was scenic and had some topographical variety.
When I got to Columbia Street, I felt a lot better, and decided to push home. When I got to the intersection of Great Falls and Lincoln Ave, some woman yelled to me to ask how to get to I-66. She seemingly just came from the interchange, so I pointed northwest and might have yelled something, but it surely wasn't helpful. I didn't want to be helpful.
Anyway, I ended up getting 18.5 miles averaging 6:40 pace. Not the way I wanted to get the miles, but again I ran decently well despite feeling awful. My right hip and thigh didn't feel uncomfortable, either, so that's progress, too...