I love exploring cities—familiar or new, sprawling or dense, frenetic or sleepy, abroad or close to home. I especially love wandering around on foot, even more so if I’m wearing my Asics sneakers and my Garmin watch. And that’s exactly what Todd and I did last weekend after driving four hours down to Washington DC. Though we’d both visited the city before, I wanted a refresher on all of the major sites I hadn’t seen since 2008, and running felt like the best way to get in some exercise and also make good progress visiting the monuments.
Here’s a photo of me at the FDR monument back in the summer of 2008 (left) and last weekend in my cold-weather running gear (right). Aside from longer hair, I think I still look pretty much the same:
We started our run at our hotel: a Courtyard Marriott (clean, friendly staff, free cookies!) just north of Dupont Circle. We jogged down Connecticut Avenue, past French and Italian restaurants, a bar that offered board games for rent, a coffee shop where we later sampled delicious dark chocolate gelato. At Dupont Circle, we turned on 19th Street and followed it down through our first hilly mile to Constitution Avenue. We abandoned the streets for the park, where we quickly found the Lincoln Memorial.
My legs hurt jogging up the memorial’s many steps, but we took a quick break at the top to admire the statue and the view of the Washington Monument in the distance. (We could also see the monument from the window of our hotel room. One of my favorite things about Washington DC is the varying perspectives you can get of the monument from different parts of the city.) From there, we ran by the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, around the Tidal Basin, to my favorite spot in the city: the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Made up of a series of statues, waterfalls, and missives carved into rock, it’s a breathtaking walkthrough. Next, we looped around the Tidal Basin to the World War II Memorial, which gave us another great view of the Washington Monument:
Soon after that we hit four miles, and though I felt tired, I pushed on, back up Connecticut Avenue toward our hotel. We had kept our pace around 12 to 13 minutes per mile in order to really take in the sights, but we picked it up on the last mile: the sooner we got back, I reasoned, the sooner we could eat breakfast! And after five miles, we finally stopped for some really good lattes from Filter Coffeehouse and Espresso Bar. Todd had a ham and cheese croissant and I ate a deliciously chunky morning glory muffin from Firehook Bakery—which gave me enough energy to walk nine more miles later that day.