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Washington Monument

Washington Monument

Yesterday morning, I went for a run across the Memorial Bridge and to the Washington Monument and the White House (see the basic route here).  We had some great summertime weather that’s quickly changed to something more spring-like:  60s and showers.

My morning was a combination run/commute to work.  The plethora of running/biking trails and office showers and gyms in the DC area (including VA) makes a double-tasking commute like this possible.  As an economist, I find transportation costs  (in economic terms, measured as what I could do in the time it takes me to drive somewhere or take the metro to my destination) inefficient, so I was pretty ecstatic when I discovered how easy it was for me to run or bike to (and from) the office.

If you’re so lucky to be able to combine a workout/commute, you should definitely try it.  It’s energizing totally awesome to run through DC and see the sites all while on your way to work.  How lucky we are to be surrounded by these attractions that people travel hundreds of miles to see!  Even when my morning run is less monumental (haha… pun.), I still appreciate experiencing the world and nature before sitting down to a desk for the next several hours.  Try it.  You’ll love it.

The White House

The White House

Just a note:  I’m going to start publishing excerpts of the routes that I’m running to give ideas on different routes to try.  If you have questions about running in different parts of town or the idiosyncrasies of how to connect different trails together, just leave me a comment on any post.

~ Happy Trails ~

Jessica

This past weekend, I made it to the Freer Gallery of Art with a friend.  This is one of the less popular museums on the National Mall – making it a great hidden gem.  The museum focuses on art from China, Korea, Japan, Asia, and the near East.  I made a point to time my visit with a tour.  I have found that the tours consistently enhance my experience.  The guides push the audience to make observations and conclusions in a non-threatening environment.  Their presence makes the museum experience much more interactive with an added component of learning.  One of the things I love most about this town are these opportunities to continue learning.  DC is an amazing place.

Some of the highlights of the experience included:

* Japanese Art:  The tour guide pointed out how influences of Chinese Art moved to Japan.  In this series of seasonal screens, the artist always painted Clouds, Evergreen trees, and Mountains.  Here’s an example of how one of the screens looked.  The Clouds symbolize how perceptions change.  The Evergreen trees represent longevity.  And I unfortunately never heard what the Mountains symbolize – however, I would guess they symbolize the grandeur of the Earth.

I also saw these beautiful painted lacquer boxes.  There is a lot of nature and symbolism in these works.  It’s really exciting to learn the layered meanings of the pieces.

* Islamic Art:  The intersection of art and religion resulted in highly stylized writing adorning these works.  (See the outer ring of the bowl.)  Another characteristic is the arabesque pattern – or the wandering vine.  That piece is particularly interesting – since it also reflects the global trade occurring at the time.  The cobalt blue is native to the region, but the artists learned how to fire their pottery to the porcelain white from the Chinese.  I guess the world was only slightly curved back then.

No discussion of Islamic Art would be complete without mentioning geometry and symmetry.  This textile displays this concept perfectly.  When you zoom in, you can see the balance even in the flower bouquets inside of the fans.  Beautifully disciplined.

* South Asian & Himalayan Art:  Here we focused mainly on religious pieces.  Nandi is a piece that would be set outside the temple.  It has the characteristics of an Indian bull – notice the hump!  But what I found most interesting about it is how the bull is resting on a lotus pedestal.  The lotus is a plant that rises out of the mud (and adversity) towards the sky (and purity).  Most of the pieces in the room were all sitting on top of lotus pedestals – pretty neat.

Like other pieces in the museum, this art showcased many different meanings within one piece.  This double berry seed necklace are sacred for the Hindu god Shiva.  And this necklace is made to look like closed jasmine seeds, prompting the viewer to imagine the smell of jasmine.

That’s all for now for the museum round-up.  Many thanks to the Freer Gallery and my tour guide for a great experience.  I can’t wait to see another museum this weekend.

Take a minute to vote on what you normally eat/drink before a morning workout.

Public Service Announcement:  There’s perfect running weather in DC.

 

April 23, 2009 ~ Key BridgeAs mentioned earlier, I went on a run this morning with some coworkers.  We get together about once a week to make a 6 mile trek to our downtown DC office.  I definitely take advantage of the opportunity to run in a group.

Running is a unique sport where you can make it an individual or team endeavor.  Training with others can allow you to push your comfort zone and test your abilities.  It also provides a social outlet.  For me, these runs are definitely working on making me faster.  The pace of the group keeps me trucking along when I would naturally slow my pace.  I’m looking forward to reaping the dividends of this training.  Fast times – here I come!

 

April 23, 2009 ~ Potomac River

I’ve got another training run set up for tomorrow am.  Let’s hope that I can keep up.  Here’s another picture to inspire you to make it out and enjoy this weather soon too!

~ Happy Trails ~

Jessica

PS – Check out the scullers on the left.

 

There’s perfect running weather in DC!  Get out there and enjoy it.  It’ll probably be the best decision you made all day.

I went on a morning run with some coworkers.  I took some pictures while waiting for the whole group to convene.  I would have had some more if my camera wasn’t having issues.  Look for the post later tonight.

~ Happy Trails ~

J

April 21, 2009 - Netherlands Carillon

Well the blog is up, and I went on a great run this evening.  It was right after one of those short-lived thunderstorms – something you see a lot of in the South but not as much in DC.  Truth be told, I wasn’t particularly excited about going out for this run.  It’s shaping up to be a long, busy week and a relaxing evening on the couch sounded more appealing.  The key to my making it out the door – changing into my running clothes as soon as I got home, sit down to put on the running shoes, and leave.  Do not sit on the couch!

Like most times you don’t want to go on a run but do, I am really happy that I went.  The air was fresh and the setting sun luminated the sky.  After checking out an evening view of downtown DC and artfully avoiding a raccoon, I felt invigorated.  I even took on some dreaded hill repeats.  Let’s see if they can help me drop down my 5k time.  I’ll be running in the Race for the Cure on June 6th.  Not the best race to compete for a personal best, but it’s for a great cause

April 21, 2009 Tulips & WA MonumentThese are a couple pics that I snapped on the run.  This last one was taken with the night setting with my camera, but I failed to keep a steady enough hand.  Nonetheless, I decided to post it since it almost looks like an impressionist painting.

~ Til next time ~
Jessica 

The blog is up.  It’s time to get running.