Washington DC Running 2

I am still catching up on DC running. Saturday was a massive conference day with my paper scheduled in the afternoon and 3 other panels I wanted to see. Luckily though they all fell in the afternoon and early evening so I was free for a little bit of parkrun tourism. We headed out to the Roosevelt Island parkrun. We set off early to allow time to figure out the travel. We took the metro from Union Station and it was actually quite straightforward. We arrived early and everyone there was really welcoming and friendly. After a briefing that included a welcome to some new US parkruns and a photo we finally set off. 

The course is lovely. It’s on a trail – easy running trail, nothing scary and for the most part in shade which is very welcome in DC heat and humidity. After a shortish section of trail there is then a section of boardwalk which is quite nice to run on but could get slippery if wet I reckon. After that it’s more trail. You then run a little loop and back along the boardwalk.

We settled in at the back of the pack and I felt pretty good. Just as I was sarting to find it quite hard we passed a woman who then joined us. She was called Julie and was pregnant with her first child. She said she found it much easier running with us and we all settled in together. Shortly after we picked up Sarah who was at a different conference in DC and from Stevenage (I think) and who was struggling in the heat. The four of us chatted and plodded along and kept each other going until the finish. Once we’d settled in like that and I was encouraging others the whole thing felt so much easier. That was a very enjoyable parkrun indeed.

We didn’t run on Sunday and then on Monday, before we left DC, Kath wanted to show me the FDR and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials. I also wanted to do the whole ‘Captain America’ scene running along the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial. So we left the hotel early and ran down towards the National Mall passed sights which were now very familiar. The Capitol behind us, the Washington Monument in front.

Then we kept left and made our way towards the tidal basin. It took about a week to cross the road to get there but once there we ran along the water to the Jefferson Memorial which was lovely and quiet with just one or two other people lingering. The sun was coming up giving the Washington Memorial and the White House a lightly eerie feel.

From Jefferson we ran on to the FDR Memorial which is very well done. In order to see it properly and also because it would have felt odd and disrespectful we walked through it, took some picture and chatted about our, admittedly rather too limited, knowledge of US history and politics. 

Then we jogged on to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial which is also very well done. Again we walked through, read the quotes and lingered a few minutes to feel the sense of history. The sense of history stayed with us as we walked around the World War 2 Memorial.

We ran along the reflecting pool which had been mostly drained so was really just a reflecting puddle with paddling pools left out for the ducks. We stopped for a while at the foot of the Lincoln memorial to watch a group of marines doing a practice for the honor flight ceremony taking place that afternoon. Then we ran along a little bit of the reflecting puddle on the other side and past the Vietnam memorial and Vietnam Women’s memorial.

After that we jogged our way around the last bit of the basin and then headed back towards the Mall via the White House and up towards the Capitol and back to the hotel. It was getting warm now and after the stop/start of the Memorial running I initially found it hard to get going again but then I settled in and we actually managed a good run of traffic lights too not having to wait. After just a little over 7 miles we were back at the hotel and ready for breakfast.That was our DC running. A great way to see the City. 

Washington DC running 1

Well, as promised, here is the first of several catch up posts.

It has been a pretty full on week or so. I haven’t had time to blog at all really. We flew out to Washington DC a week ago – I think. Though I have lost track. I am writing this on Wednesday 5thJune but I am not sure when I am going to get chance to upload it as I am currently in Shenandoah National Park at Big Meadows Lodge and the wifi is intermittent (I am surprised there is any at all). So DC.

DC was hot and humid and I wasn’t at all sure about running but I wanted to. I am beginning to think that tourist running is just the best way to see a place and get a feel for it. So the first morning, with the time difference on our side, we headed out early – before sunrise although there was plenty of light. We ran up the hill from the hotel towards the Capitol Building and then turned right from there towards the National Mall. We ran, stopping at the crossings – this is rather a thing in DC, the traffic lights seem to take forever to change for the pedestrian signal. On this occasion though it was a welcome break. It wasn’t yet hot or that humid but enough for a film of sweat to form – the kind that makes you feel slightly smug.

The path on the National Mall is pleasant to run on and we took in the sights as we went, trying to get a sense for where things were as we passed museum after museum – the Capitol behind us and a seemingly endless stretch of path with grass on one side and Madison Avenue on the other with Constitution Avenue another block over. After a little while we crossed another road and headed left into the middle of the Mall so we were right in the middle and could, for the first time, see the Washington Monument spiking the sky. It really looks quite striking in a slightly odd sort of way. We stopped and took some pictures and then carried on running round the back of the Monument and towards the World War 2 Memorial. We turned left and looped round the other side of the Washington Memorial and made our way back towards the Capitol on the other side of the Mall passing the Smithsonian Castle. Now beginning to feel the heat we put a couple of walk breaks in and stopped to have a chat with a police officer and taking a picture with his bike. Bizarrely the thing he was most interested in was how to make good Yorkshire puddings (Lots of beating of the batter and hot hot hot oven and oil is the answer in case you were wondering). Then we were back. A great 4 and a bit mile loop to start getting a sense of the city. Later that day we covered some of the same route on a Segway which was more fun than I thought it might be and also much easier to ride than I had feared.

Day two in DC also started with a run. A short 2 mile loop round the Capitol Building and past the Supreme Court and Library of Congress. I’d seen the US Supreme Court from the inside the previous afternoon on a tour which was a bit crap. The guide just didn’t react to his audience and spent rather a long time explaining what a dissenting judgment is to an audience of academic lawyers. I enjoyed running past it again though with no people there and just thinking about some of the big decisions of our time that were argued and made in that building. Just a few steps further along the road is the Library of Congress. I hadn’t been in it yet but I could still sense the impressive nature of the building and I was instinctively drawn to it for some reason. I stopped and stared at it for a bit before running on to come down the opposite side of the Capitol.

I then looped right to head back towards the hotel and Kath went onwards down the Mall and towards the tidal basin. I was just going to go back up the path but as I crossed in front of the Capitol I looked up and thought that running up the steps towards it woud actually be quite fun and might make for a good photo or two. So I did that instead and once finished with that headed back towards the hotel, passed the hotel and to Starbucks which I hit at bang on two miles. 

Then it was time for some pretty serious conferencing before escaping later in the afternoon for a Capitol Tour and some time in the Library of Congress.