Hains Point is familiar to DC runners. I use Hains Point to tack on mileage during my long runs and it also works great when the weather turns crappy because the US Park Service does a decent job keeping the one way loop clear and plowed.
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Hains Point. On one hand it is a great place to run from a scenery perspective. It is particularly nice if you can get over there when the cherry blossom trees are blooming if you can avoid the throngs of tourists.
There are a couple of things I don’t like about Hains Point. The first is just of the pet peeve variety. The 3 mile loop is mostly one way traffic, however the majority of runners choose to run with traffic. Being the run against traffic type, it drives me a little batty watching everyone putting their lives in the hands of Maryland driver behind them. But hey, it’s a free country.
The other thing about Hains Point I don’t like is that is it where my races go to die. I have raced twice in the last year where the course has gone through Hains Point. The first was the Cherry Blossom 10 miler where I started to heat up when I got to the park and quickly lost my pace (ignoring I was under trained and went out too fast; it is SO much easier to blame a piece of land than my stupidity). During the Marine Corps marathon Hains Point took another shot at me and the winds went out of my sails when I hit the halfway point of the marathon.
So on Saturday since most of the roads and trails in the area where still covered in ice, I went over the Hains Point for my long run. It started with a pep talk by the Pig.
The first loop of my long run was fairly uneventful. The park hadn’t opened to car traffic yet so half of the first lap was nice without any car or bike traffic.
The 2nd lap was uneventful as well. However on the third lap I noticed a bunch of small kids gathering toward the point on the island. It looked like the kids were going to do a short loop around the parking lot. Not wanting to get smoked by a bunch of 6 year-olds I picked up the pace a little and relaxed when I got to where I thought they would turn back for the parking lot. Another victory in the books for Running Lonely!
Another thing I like about Hains Point is that the park has heated restrooms. I heeded natures call but when I emerged I saw the kids barreling down the road like a bunch of mini Usain Bolts. Turns out they were running a 5K and I as in danger of getting passed.
I quickly kicked back into gear as the kids kicked for the line. I thought I had it in hand when school bus came out of the parking lot and cut me off (coincidence, I think not). However I got to the turn off before any of the munchkins managed to pass me. I did get a few odd looks from the parents as I passed the turn off.
So I completed the rest of my run but by the end my hamstring started to ache, Was it Karma? I prefer to think it was Hains Point taking another swipe at me. Well we have another round scheduled for April during the Cherry Blossom 10 miler and we will see who has the last laugh.