I knocked another one of the “Runs I’d Like to Do In My Lifetime” off last night. (More or less) – I did an 8+ mile loop on the US Capitol Mall in DC.As far as runs go, I’d rate it a 7 out of 10, but it was well worth doing.
I parked over by the Jefferson Memorial, in the lot for East Potomac Park about 8 PM. I figured I wasn’t taking my life into my hands, ’cause a) who gets mugged on the mall?; and b) There was a family with about a half-dozen kids younger than mine headed back to their minivan.
The running was surprisingly good, considering I haven’t been exactly diligent in my training. Oh, and that whole sick thing last week… But there’s something cool about running in a cool place that freshens up the legs. Does location matter? And if it does, is that enough to explain jeff? (and what’s my problem, running in such terrible locations as Mystic, Jamestown, and Newport?)
Showing my bent to liking the Executive Branch over the Legislative Branch (more of a “Stop jawboning and get stuff done” admiration than a statement on who’s in power), I headed up through the FDR Memorial (almost knocking over a school group as I cut a corner too tightly), and curved past the Lincoln Memorial. Ran along the North side of the Reflecting Pool until I about knocked over a flock of geese.
Past the WWII Memorial, and headed left towards the White House. Since when have they hugely expanded the security/parking zone around the People’s House? Didn’t one used to be able to go right up to the fence on the South Lawn? And cut between the Ike EOB and the Treasury Building? Anyway, the security guard waved me down, and sent me over towards the Ike Executive Office Building, which I passed to the left. The renovations on Pennsylvania Avenue are really nice, though.
Lack-of-Access angst aside, I headed back to the Mall, and headed towards the Capitol building on the crushed-gravel path. What a cool, cool run – both literally, as it was right about freezing, and I was in shorts – and visually. I just seemed to keep running while the dome kept getting bigger and higher above.
I’d intended to turn around at the reflecting pool in front of the Capitol, but the legs felt good, so I climbed up Capitol Hill (singing, … wait for it … “I’m just a Bill, on Capitol Hill”), passed the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress (didn’t stop to see if I could check anything out), and headed downhill to the Arboretum.
The wind was against me heading west on the Mall again, so rather than stay on the gravel, I headed over to Jefferson Ave. Which was neat in and of itself, because I’d never been close to the main Smithsonian building before. It really, really looked like a spooky old castle in the moonlight. Kind of neat. I was waiting for Scooby Doo and the gang to come squealing around the corner in the Mystery Machine.
Finished up at the Jefferson Memorial, which is still my favorite spot in DC, and probably always will be. Jefferson was the guy who hatched America as an Idea, and it’s that, more than America as a people, that’s held the world’s attention for the last quarter of a millennium. I walked up the stairs and spent a couple of minutes reading about Truth, Justice, and the American Way, and headed back to the car, pretty psyched that I’d just pulled off an 8 mile + run without dying.