Sunday, April 18, 2010

Capitol Running

There is a saying about life that “you can’t go back.” I suspect that is probably true about life – at least in most cases – and I have found that often true about travel, as well – not necessarily that you can’t go back, but that you usually don’t. You find yourself in a beautiful place, having a great time, and you want to come back. And yet, life’s commitments, time constraints and pull to unseen places often result in not coming back. However, there are exceptions. For me, one of those has been Washington, DC. I have no idea how many times I have been there, but I always enjoy the trips and am always ready to go again. With that in mind Karen and I decided that we would do a race in the District of Columbia, even though it isn’t a state. We were not disappointed.

On the 20th of March we ran the National Half-Marathon, part of the full marathon and relay that claim the distinction of being the only such races run exclusively in the District of Columbia. Race morning turned out to be almost ideal for running – quite cool, very little breeze, some humidity and early, diffused sun. The race started at the DC Armory, ran through Capitol Heights (home of many politicians and prominent business people), past the US Capitol, along the Mall past Smithsonian and other museums, the Washington Monument and the White House, then turned up through Dupont Circle and another neighborhood before circling back to Robert F. Kennedy Stadium and the Armory where we had started and then finished. Although I was fairly happy with my time, it wasn’t as fast as I might have hoped, primarily due to the congestion at the mass start of 10,000 runners on narrow streets. The first mile was an exercise in dodging runners, trying to get room to run and keeping from tripping over people.

Results notwithstanding, there is something to be said about running through our nation’s history and past the landmarks of our democracy and founding. And once free of the pack it seemed like the running was easier through the reminders of who we are.

We only had three half days, but utilized the time to see a few things again and to see some things we've never seen before. We had two splendid half-days on the Mall, with visits to the Lincoln, Jefferson and Roosevelt Memorials, as well as the war memorials for WWII, Vietnam and the Marines on Iwo Jima. Visiting the pools, feeding the ducks and soaking up the sunshine were great, too. However, we also spent several hours at the National Zoo (a bit disappointing - perhaps because it was early in the year with lots of construction), visited the beautifully imposing National Cathedral and spent some time at the new Pentagon Memorial to 9/11.

We also visited some friends and took advantage of their hospitality. We spent one night with Blane and Judy Cox (who graciously watched Rachel for us on Saturday morning for the race), to include lunch following the race with Lael, Linnea and her husband – and got a good update on the family, not to mention meeting Judy and getting acquainted. We also had a great BBQ with Bill and Ruby Martin Sunday afternoon, with Lisa, her husband and Adam there. Perfect complements to the weekend, which also included strolling through the embassies in DuPont and enjoying some great eating in DC neighborhoods. (What would a race weekend be without some great eating?!?)

We didn’t get to check off a state with this run…..and we don’t even have a peg yet for our finishers’ medal, but it was a “capitol” run and a great trip.

Is there a “thoughtful takeaway” in this blog? There are things worth going back for and you can go back. Visit Washington. Let the city bring our history to life. Take your kids there. More than once. And if you wish, you can even take Gladys along! The DC trip makes two in a row that we have made excellent use of our GPS - thanks for the gift!


Mythreesons said...

I'm like you... I love DC and can't wait for another opportunity to go back. I imagine it'll be a lot more difficult with the boys and probably happen much later in life, but I love the history the city holds. I think it's what I miss most about Europe... I sense of past and history.
Sounds like an exciting race and opportunity. I enjoyed the pictures!

Rachel's Mommy said...

Good recap, sweetie! I love going out east, and DC never disappoints. Another fun race!! Love you.

Super Daysh said...

Oooh! I am with you on the DC thing- I would love to go back and see it there. It's so pretty and there is so much to do! I'm glad that you not only got to see the sights, but also visit with some friends. I can't believe there were really 10,000 runners! That is insane- sounds more like an obstacle course than anything else. ;) Glad that you had such a good time and such a great race. I'm excited to go with you guys in a few months and get to watch you run and everything!

princess jen said...

What a great race! I do want to go back to DC again. I was able to do quite a bit when I was there before, but it was cold and snowy (granted, the National Christmas Tree was pretty neat!). Glad the race went well and that you managed to get clear of the pack.