The weather in DC has been glorious this week with a series of dry, sunny sixty degree days. On Tuesday I took advantage of it by taking an extended “lunch” break and going on a long mid-day run, 14-miles, running the bridges plus Haines Point. It took me 2:06:50 (9:04) to go the distance.
Clad only in a technical shirt, shorts and shoes, I ran from my building near Union Station to the Mall, about a mile. Running to the Lincoln Memorial, I passed by the Washington Monument on my left and the White House on my right. Traveling up Rock Creek Park a short way, I ducked down along the Georgetown Waterfront, passing by lunch hour diners enjoying outdoor seating with a view of the Potomac. Making my way up to M Street, I ran down the bustling center of shopping for Georgetown, being forced to stop several times by traffic at street corners or gaggles of students on the sidewalk.
Loping over the Key Bridge into Virginia at an easy pace, I was passed by another runner. I kicked it up a gear with reluctance, passed her back and turned south down the open stretch of parkland along the Potomac.
I made my way past the Roosevelt Bridge and Memorial Bridge to the 14th Street Bridge, using mile markers 13 and 12 on the Mt. Vernon Trail to run a “tempo” mile at 8:20. I caught and passed 4 other joggers along this section and was passed by a multitude of bicyclists. I used the 14th Street Bridge to regain DC near the Jefferson Memorial.
I circled remote, windswept Haines Point, running through the middle of The Awakening statue at the tip of the peninsula. Here I came the closest I have come in years to getting hit by a car when a reckless driver came barreling down the roadway with his car’s wheels a mere 18 inches off the curb. Being forced to jump out of the roadway as he passed by so closely that a nearby bicyclist shouted out in alarm, I gave the driver an appropriate angry salute and paused to see if he would stop. He didn't. The age-old conflict between motorist and runner. Fortunately the car had been coming at me and not up behind me. (Above: Arghhh!)
Now thoroughly tired and starting to get sore, I left Haines Point by the Case bridge which allows you to look down upon the Washington Waterfront. I was wearing brand new Asic Evolution II shoes which I was not happy with, as they were too big despite being my exact size (13). They were causing my left heel to hurt.
Attaining L’Enfant Plaza Promenade at Benjamin Banneker Park, I passed by government workers out on the Plaza wasting time taking smoke breaks. They were being more efficient in their work day than I was though, because they weren't playing hookey like I was as my watch sounded its second hourly chime during the run. (Above: The Bartholdi Park Fountain at the U.S. Botanic Garden.)
I passed the Air and Space Museum, the new American Indian Museum and the U.S. Botanic Garden. Tourists abounded on the sidewalks along here. Turning north on 1st Street I ran by the Capitol, passing statues of presidents Garfield and Grant on my left. A charge up Capitol Hill, a daunting obstacle this deep into a run, brought me to Stanton Square with its statue of Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene. (Above: Who is it, Garfield, Grant or Greene?)
Heading back to Union Station, I sprinted past harassed travelers wrestling with baggage and ended my run at the great hall’s front door amidst the queue of jostling taxicabs. I had made a huge circle around the heart of downtown DC, encountering many different types of people along the way.
I rewarded myself by purchasing lunch amongst throngs of schoolchildren still on break in the food court and took it back to my office to eat. Sometimes working for the gumint has its advantages. This had been a January workday run to remember for many years to come.