What a busy weekend for DC. Yesterday the running of the fifth National Marathon took over many city streets, the Tea Party was out in force around the Capitol in trying to intimidate wavering Democrats on the historic health care vote later today and the seventh anniversary of the Iraq invasion prompted an antiwar protest near the White House.
Saturday morning from my course marshal post on the race course at the bottom of Capitol Hill, I saw many friends go by. I also watched Tea Party members stream across the race route all morning enroute to the Capitol. When I gazed intently at their signs to try to read their scrawled messages (sample: Obama: B.O, B.S, Kill the Bill) I encountered hard stares back as if I was offering an affront by attempting to read their hand-lettered signs with my 57-year old eyes.
Local runner Michael Wardian won his fourth National Marathon (he was runner-up last year) in 21:58, and it was a thrill to see him go by my post at MP 16.5 almost five minutes ahead of the eventual runner-up (the man who beat him last year). Then as I threaded Tea Partiers through the marathoners on the race course so the partiers, exulting in their First Amendment rights, could exercise their views at the Capitol, a running club and coaching friend of mine ran by whom I hadn't seen since I resigned my position as DCRRC's president five months ago. Perhaps slightly befuddled by being on his seventeenth mile, he paused in his marathon and clasped me in a bear hug (I had offered him a high five), exclaiming, "Good to see you! Don't be a stranger!"
As his perspiration seeped through my dry clothes, I said, "Yeah, well times and things change." He ran off looking a little wounded (my bad) while I envied my friend being in the midst of running a marathon. I was worried that my Posterior Tibial Tendinitis (my aching ankle) would prevent me from ever running long again.
And meanwhile, Tea Partiers were hurling the N-word at an African-American Democrat Representative and the F-word at an openly-gay Democrat Representative who apparently are going to vote yes on today's historic health-care bill. Ugly ugly!