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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. 

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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 ~


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 ~

Rolling Thunder by the LOCWell, after my tour of the Library of Congress, I decided to run to Rosslyn.  (Have I told you how much I love this city?)  I found the run particularly interesting – and not just because of the influx of bikers in town.  On this run, the memorials were not functioning as aesthetically pleasing tributes to different times in America.  On this run, I witnessed the personal ties that linked people to the memorials.

The WW II Memorial was decorated with flowers between each of its pillars – in honor of more than 400,000 who gave their life and the 16 million who served in the armed forces during World War II.  The visual reminder of why we get a day off from work really changes the focus of the 3-day weekend.  Thanks to all those men and women who have kept the U.S. safe.


Rolling Thunder at the WWII Memorial

Rolling Thunder at the WWII Memorial

Rosslyn Skyline As I promised in an earlier post, here’s the story about the run that almost cost me some cash…

In order to get pictures like this and the others in my posts, I run with my camera.  Sometimes I run with a small backpack and other times I carry the camera in a plastic grocery bag.

While checking out the Pacers Running Festival, I went with the plastic bag method.  After capturing some photos of the runners, I proceeded on my own run.  About 10 minutes in, my ipod hates me ran out of battery.  So I took off my ipod armband and placed it with my ipod in my grocery sack.

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