Starting at Lake Needwood Park, MD. I didn't plan to run until I dropped. I just wanted a nice slow longer run to get ready for the Hudson Highlander. It was humid but otherwise comfortable.
I set off going northward along the east shore of the lake until I got to the pipeline ride. I'd been intrigued by noticing somewhere that the bicycle trail along the Inter-County Connector (ICC) highway was appearing to nearly be finished. I wanted to explore it for a possible way to connect Lake Needwood and Lake Frank parks at their northern ends. I ran and walked through some wet tall grass and marshy ground to get to the bicycle trail which was completed. Unfortunately, the trail was double-fenced-in--it sits between 2 uncrossable fences with one on the highway side, and one on the park side. That was bad planning but maybe the access will get corrected in the future. Fortunately for me, there was a pedestrian or auto tunnel going under the highway. I suppose it was there to let pipeline maintenance vehicles through. I took this and soon crossed Muncaster Mill Rd. to Magruder H.S.
On the northeast end of the high school, there were no trespassing signs around the edge of the property blocking off a grassy farm field. I followed the border to some new housing construction (not yet shown on the Google Maps aerials), and follwed the edge to some woods that reminded me of flat places in Fair Hill State Park. I was aiming to cross some fields which I think are park lands and that I've run some trails across long before. However, without a map in hand, I ended up going slightly further north of where I'd planned. I dropped into a stream valley that I thought was the North Branch, leading south back to Lake Frank. I did head downstream initially but must have gotten turned around when on higher ground, and I headed northward up a tributatry. I pulled out my compass which I'd brought along for just such a contingency and corrected my route. However I got walled-in by the Norbeck Golf Course. I hit some kind of pipeline ride (perhaps the same one that crosses Lake Needwood) and with north my only reasonable direction out, I resorted to my iPhone for the Google map that displayed my position. With a good enough signal on the hilltop, I routed myself north again around the golf course and dropped into the North Branch stream valley. It was pretty nice most of the time but I had to go much further than expected before finally finding a trail, at 50 minutes into the run.
Even on the trail, stilt grasses were covering up some areas. I came across a woman high school cross country runner and another woman walking her dog. Finally reaching the ICC bridge, I followed the trail to a dead end away from the main stream and then back down before crossing under. They'd built the ICC bridge much longer than most, to allow wildlife to pass through under it--thank you Rachael Carson followers. I hadn't been through the next 1.3 miles to Muncaster Mill Rd. since May 3, 2009, when I did a similar training run; that time for the Billy Goat. The openess of the hillside getting to Muncaster Mill let me see several mappable rocks.
Rounding Lake Frank on the east side, I didn't see much that had changed other than more stilt grasses growing. Some areas seemed more open than I would have guessed for early fall, making me think it'd be good to have an early spring QOC meet here. After crossing the paved road portion of the Lake Trail, I expected to run a paved trail toward the dam but the whole trail was covered over about 1.5ft. deep with mulch. Several heavy construction trucks in the closed parking lot must have been using the covered trail to get to the southern reaches of Lake Frank Park, north of Rte. 28. There, they appeared to be working on sewer pipes and there was some temporary fencing impeding east-west traffic. The mulch was to protect the paved trail but it continued on the otherwise dirt trail heading south. Getting to Rte. 28 at Rock Creek, I stopped for a drink at the water fountain and decided I had enough time to loop through Rockville Civic Center Park.
I was going to follow the stream up but with the usual way after crossing the bridge at Baltimore Ave. looking blocked and/or messy, I kept to the paved trail past the high school where Peggy ran her 1 mile race earlier this and last summer, and then to Rockville Cemetary. Once in Rockville Civic Center Park, I noted some of the trails having faded away, but I got on one across the stream that climbed me out of valley and took me near the intersection of Avery Rd. and Rte. 28. I paused there briefly as a toe on my right foot began to hurt intensely when I applied pressure. I ran it off gingerly and the pain went away. At least at 2 hours, I hadn't had any cramps yet. Instead of cutting aross roads and school grounds, I decided I wanted to stay on dirt trails I hadn't seen in a while and opted fatefully to drop down to Rock Creek through Rockville Civic Center Park.
I was feeling pretty good having relaxed going down the hill and ran through the stilt grass that had overgrown the trail. Coming to the underpass at Rte. 28, I slowed and traversed the sloping ground that had been paved-over with cement and natural stone. It was steeper than I'd remembered but I crossed under the first underpass okay. It'd been a while since I'd been there and I thought I was through with it when I came on the second underpass. I was one step away from finishing with it when the part about running until you drop caught-up with me. My left foot on the upper slope went right out from under me and was airborne. I came down hard to the left. All at once, my elbow, my hip, and my chin hit the rocks on my left side. My head snapped leftward and my teeth either hit rocks too or the top and bottom hit themselves when my chin hit my shoulder. It happened too fast to really know. I expected to have a bloody mouth and knew right away that I'd chipped my teeth. There was very little blood but a nice clean half-moon better than a diamond cutter could of done, had been taken out of my top front left tooth. I got up rather dissapointed but found that I was basically okay. Before I could stiffen, I started running. Adrenalin got me moving and my mouth hurt. After a quarter mile through more wet stilt grass covered trail that I'd just run last weekend in QOC's event, my hip started to hurt too. It eventually began to hurt more than my mouth. I stopped and stretched once but forced through the pain to keep moving and get back to the car at Lake Needwood, almost 2 more miles after falling.
My dissapointment continues. I got in the car. Not having eaten nor drank anything for breakfast, and now I now wasn't even hungry. I knew I needed it so I got some fast food and gnawed on it. My mouth stung from cuts inside. I kept spitting pieces of tooth out of my mouth. After sympathy from Peggy, a shower, a little rest at home, and being laughed at by Max, I went to see the Solar Decathlon in Washington D.C. with Peggy and Max. My hip hurt and made me limp while walking. I'm hoping it'll heal-up okay to run on in a few days. I hardly know where to begin to go about getting my tooth fixed. I don't know what any of this means for the Hudson Highlander. Before I'd gone out, Peggy had told me that with a week left, I couldn't get in-shape any more for the Highlander and that the best thing was to avoid injury. I just wanted the benefit as I'd done before, of reminding my cells how to switch over to burn fat and since a fall like this hadn't happened in 37 years of running so far, I really didn't expect trouble. The season had just started. From last week and this week, I'm already beat-up when I was anticipating being in better shape than I've been in in a long while.