Virginia Countryside

Virginia Countryside

I recently made the trek from DC to Memphis and really enjoyed some facets of the drive.  For starters, Virginia is just beautiful.  Maybe it’s cause I hail from the flat part of Tennessee, but the different colors of the hills in the distance is awe inspiring and so calming.

Some other highlights of the trip included passing by the Sun Sphere in Knoxville, spotting the Cherokee Naiton’s bus, and saying hi to Nashville’s Bat Building Motorola Office Building from afar (see below).  Scanning the radio on the approach into Nashville, almost every station was country.  Man, I love it – connecting to a culture and a regional identity.  Country music, southern accents, and thunderstorms.  I am here.

While I’m soaking in the southern-ness, I’m planning to continue blogging about a few places in DC I visited before I left and have some exercises that I’d like to share. As I mentioned before, the blog is moving into a temporary state of flux.  Let me know if there’s any direction you’d like me to go, and I’ll see if I can work that in.

~ Happy Trails Ya’ll ~
Jessica

Sun Sphere

Sun Sphere

Cherokee Nation Bus

Cherokee Nation Bus

Bat Building on the Left

Bat Building on the Left


More Virginia Countryside

More Virginia Countryside

CapitolLast December, the Capitol unveiled its $621 million visitors’ center.  I got around to checking it out in May (thankfully when it wasn’t flooding…).  Visiting the Capitol is pretty easy – as long as you have reservations – more on that later.

The Capitol visit starts with a brief 20 minute video about the United States and the Capitol building.  Construction of the Capitol began in 1793 with its much anticipated conclusion in 1892.  Let’s just say a couple wars got in the way… As I mentioned earlier, the building used to house the Library of Congress as well as the Supreme Court.  Most striking of the building is the dome which is topped by the Statue of Freedom.  Now, I think it’s near impossible to tell what the statue is when looking at the Capitol, but you can see a replica of it inside the Visitor’s Center.  (Warning:  the replica is a little ugly.  See pictures below.) Read the rest of this entry »

Washington MonumentWait… you’ve lived in DC for four years and still never went up the Washington Monument???

Well, as I’ve learned – it’s pretty easy to go up and tour the WaMo.  And it’s fun.

The Washington Monument is sorta at the epi-center of the mall.  As noted by Shannon, it’s not in perfect alignment with the White House and the Jefferson Memorial (due to marshy ground).  However, it’s off-centered-ness allows you to see both the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial from the Ellipse.

One of the reasons so many people in DC never go to the WaMo is due to its ticketing process.  You must have a (free) ticket in order to enter the Monument.  On 15th Street, starting at 8:30 A.M. you can pick up free, same-day tickets.

For those who only remember they want to see the Monument  while it’s tourist season, there is another option.  By paying a fee, you can reserve tickets in advance.  I went this route, and as long as you can wait 2-4 weeks, this is a good option.  In total, I paid almost $3 a ticket – and it was worth it.  It’s a game of roulette with the weather but seeing the city mid-monsoon is probably cool too…

An additional visitor tip before we get to the down and dirty on the Monument.  I went on a Wednesday evening with a 7:30pm reservation.  First, I got there 15 minutes early as instructed.  Then, I was immediately whisked inside (so don’t fret if you’re particularly early or running a little late).  Also, it was not crowded.  Peak season of tourists, but the late show doesn’t bring as many out-of-towners. 

Read the rest of this entry »

This evening I headed on the Mount Vernon trail to Gravelly Point Park to check out the view on the Potomac.  Approximate route from Rosslyn is here.

This is incredible!  It’s absolutely thrilling to watch this huge object soar over you and then gracefully land feet away.  My biking buddy introduced me to this plane-watching method.  Lie down with your feet facing the runway.  You’ll hear the plane approaching (suspense!), then get a great view of it passing over, and finally be able to see it land.

And to make this better than just hanging out at your regular airport, there’s the Potomac on one side and views into DC to see the Capitol, Washington Monument, and the like.

Check it out.  I only wish I was there when it was dark too…

~ Happy Plane Watching ~

Jessica

For an embarrassing period of time, my blogging was neglected.  It all started with the tragic idiotic loss of my camera.  Then, life got a little busy – I’m preparing for a move to Evanston, IL, just outside of Chicago, to attend business school.  And now finally, despite my athletic stamina, I’m having knee problems that are preventing me from running.

All of this makes one wonder what’s happening with the blog?

Well, for starters – I have a temporary camera right now and will be getting another camera in a couple of weeks.  Whew. One thing taken care of.

Next, if I’m in Chi-town, it’s going to be hard for me to write about DC.  So after I put in my thoughts about some different cultural things I’ve done recently in DC, I’ll be blogging about life in the Second City Suburb.

Finally, if this not running thing lasts for a while, I’m not quite sure.  I love running.  It’s a phenomenal sport, activity, way to keep in shape, see a city, connect to your surroundings, be outside, challenge yourself and see results… and the list goes on.  In the meantime, I’ll be blogging about some running topics I wanted to discuss before and will write some about the circuit training I’ve engaged in.  Seriously.  I’m crediting these hard core circuit training workouts that I am doing with putting me into the best shape of my life.  Ironic though that I’d injure myself again while feeling that way about my physical fitness…

I hope to create something you’ll still find interesting and reliable.  Any thoughts?  Leave your comments below.

~ Happy Trails ~

Jessica

Those of you who are Custis Trail riders are now enjoying the newly repaved path from 20th St N and Lee Highway to Spout Run.  I was pleasantly surprised one day with the use of my tax dollars when I discovered that I no longer needed to worry about potholes or intrusive tree branches on the terrain.  And while the runners appreciate it, I’m sure the bikers are satisfied the project was finally addressed and completed.

* Bonus Update is the path connecting Thompson’s Boat Center to Rock Creek Pkwy is completed.

Yay construction completion!

~ Happy Trails ~

Jessica

Well, I’ve been warned that I’ll loose any readership base I might have mustered since I haven’t posted anything in a while… I’m afraid that’s likely true.  I’d say a main driver of my lack of postings relates to the loss of my camera.  The second large driver is I’m getting ready to pack up and leave this fine city.  I’ll be relocating to the Chicago area in about a month.

Don’t worry though.  I’ll keep blogging blog, and I still have some material on some DC sites to share with you before I head our from the nation’s capital.

~ Happy Trails ~

Jessica

Part of the Rock Creek Parkway Trail alongside the Potomac is shut down for construction.  It’s nothing that will de-rail a workout, but I found it a little disappointing to not be right next to the river.  And then to have to wait for 2 lights… man, I’m spoiled.

Additionally, if you want to bike (or run) across the Woodrow Wilson bridge, as of this past Saturday, you can.

The weather looks pretty good this week – so if you’re in the Nation’s Capital, definitely take some time to enjoy it.

~ Happy Monday Trails ~

Jessica

Walking up to the start before the race

Walking up to the start before the race

Ahh…. Race for the Cure 5k.  A time of celebration, hope, and lots and lots of pink.  This year marked the first ever Global race.  Now what that entirely means, I’m not sure; I’m gathering that the fundraising is going world-wide.  The day kicked off honoring survivors.  And the pre-race charge included notable speakers including Vice President Joe Biden, and his wife Dr. Jill Biden, as well as Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine from Serbia.  In total, $2.8M was raised for the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Overall, I found the race to be pretty good.  The weather wasn’t the swampy mist it was last year.  The water stops were well-manned and the post-race bash was full of music, water, food, and give aways (always fun for a race).  However, I do have a couple of critiques for the race organizers:

  • First, how can your race course online not have any mile markers or designations of water stops?  I know we’re talking about a 5k, but I like to know my course and give myself checkpoints.
  • Next, I know this race is now Global, but we’re still in the US.  Why were there not mile markers?  On top of that, the kilometer markers were so difficult to find.  Among members on my whole team, we determined that they did all exist on the course, but no one saw more than 2.
  • And finally, the race was supposed to start at 8am.  Getting to the speakers took too long and runners didn’t start crossing that start line until around 8:25.  25 minutes late.  And that’d be right around the time some people would have been finishing the race if they weren’t so late. 

I’ve always found Race for the Cure to be an interesting a frustrating race.  The first mile is normally congested with too many runners.  (I will define the term runners loosely because even when starting in the front of the pack, there are still plenty of walkers and 13.5 minute a mile joggers that clog up the course.)  However, this year I started near the front of the race and found that the congestion and walkers were pretty easy to navigate.  Definitely not ideal racing conditions but it was not anything too un-navigable.

Even while the seasoned runner may feel annoyed or hindered in achieving a good time in this race, the key to not getting too frustrated is to acknowledge it for what it is.  Race for the Cure is an awesome phenomenon.  I’d venture to say that for most participants this is their only race the whole year.  On top of that, I speculate that there are a lot of first-time 5k-ers.  Kudos to the Susan G. Komen foundation to their success orchestrating an event that means so much to so many people that finds itself overwhelmed with enthusiasm from non-everyday runners.

I hope to post a few more pictures later this evening.

Happy Trails everyone.  The weather in DC is great!

~ Jessica ~

Well, we’re feeling the touches of heat and humidity in the Nation’s Capital swamp.  Hailing from Memphis, the city of 90/90/90 summers – 90% of the summer it’s 90 degree weather with 90% humidity – I wouldn’t think that this weather would bother me so much.  However, moving North has ruined some of my Southern Sensibility and days of air conditioned office-sitting haven’t helped either.

My run home, while scenic, was a little lethargic.  I’m taking it as a wake-up call to remain hydrated and dress appropriately.  Seriously, another couple glasses of water before I headed out the door and a technical tee would have done wonders for how I felt.

My choices for gear:  Under Armour’s cotton-y feeling performance fabric.  I prefer how it feels to the more heavily polyesterized shirts.

As for water:  I like these small plastic sport-mouth bottles.  It’s small enough for me to carry comfortably in my hand and is enough water for a 45-60 minute run.  I have a few left from the last time I bought a package.  Next stop, would be to try to find something more reusable.

Tomorrow is a morning run… hopefully, I’ll find that to be more bearable.

~ Happy Trails ~

Jessica