Tuesday evening I went for a beautiful run in the dark of 4.5 miles along the Potomac across the Washington waterfront after sundown. Forty-eight minutes of serene running by the ebony waters of the river after a busy day at work.
The run is a recurring weekly event created by Rachel and other coaches of the Reebok SunTrust National Half Marathon Program that I direct. Reebok sponsors the twenty-week Program and my running club powers it, meaning that we supply the coaches and fashion the workouts as we get ready for the late-March race in the District.
We met at the Iwo Jima Statue in Arlington shortly after nightfall. The weather was temperate enough, albeit in the low forties and breezy. Rachel couldn't come so Lauren, Sasha, Ben (a marathon coach) and myself stepped up to escort the incipient runners on the midweek nighttime jaunt. Eleven of us set off at 7:15 pm at about a ten-minute pace.
Winding our way past the gigantic statue of several Marines straining to plant an American flag on hostile shores, a tribute to The Greatest Generation in one of their Greatest Tests, we ran silently by the rows of headstones at Arlington Cemetery, an attestation of The Price. Soon we attained Memorial Bridge, which we traversed as the dark river waters lapped quietly below us.
Running past the two giant equestrian statues on the eastern end of the bridge, our group wheeled north and ran upriver past the Kennedy Center. It was ablaze in light. Soon we reached Thompson's Boathouse and turned left to gain the Georgetown waterfront along the river's edge. Running through the new park Washington has completed underneath the Whitehurst Expressway, we were treated to a view of the Arlington skyline across the way to our left lit up in a blaze of lights. The Christmas lights in Georgetown off to our right were already up and blazing also. (Above left: Sacrifice.)
Using narrow stone stairs to surmount Key Bridge without having to cross the C&O Canal, we ran across the north side of that high structure to gain Virginia and Arlington once again. It was windy up there.
Another five minutes of running through the sheltered streets of Rosslyn led us back to our starting point, where half of the assembled runners retired to a nearby Mexican restaurant for a beer and a burrito to cap the run. A wonderful ninety minutes well spent with friends.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. (Above right: The desolate area below the elevated Whitehurst Expressway has recently been converted into parkland by the city.)