Category Archives: Run Commute

Picture Tour of a Run

As much as I’m ready to leave DC, and I am, I know I’m going to miss this city dearly.  Not only the amazing friends I’ve made during my 7 years here, also the great running buddies I’ve met (many which have become part of those amazing friends I just mentioned).  I also know that Manila, or even most cities we will live in our future, will not have the trail system that DC and Arlington offer.  I will have to learn how to be a sidewalk runner, and in some countries, even a *gasp* treadmill runner.

My friends can visit Manila (and I sure hope they will — hello, 3 bedroom apartment we’re living at?), but these trails?  It will be two years until we meet again.  (Can you believe that in two months I will have been in Manila for 4 days?)

I know the trails in DC so well now (with exception of the Custis trail — I’m a wimp and I stay away from hills!), and I know most monuments, because at some point or another, I have run by them.

And to think that 7 years ago I was going on a date and he suggested “well, we can just walk around the Mall?” and my reply was ” The mall?  It’s a beautiful day outside, why would we go to the mall?” and he explained how he was talking about the National Mall, not, you know, a shopping mall.  Ooops.  Now I’m one of the people that also just says “the Mall” — because, duh, that’s the only Mall worth mentioning around these parts!

Look how far I’ve come!

Which is why I’m going to try my best to start running with a camera — sometimes it will be like yesterday, I’ll bring my cellphone and take crappy pictures (believe me, it was a crappy day, so crappy pictures were fitting).  Others, I’ll suck it up and carry my normal camera with me.

Because when I leave DC, I want to have the memories of the many trails I’ve run.  And days like yesterday, that I didn’t feel like running, and truthfully I should have skipped it (two miles in the hip pain became unbearable and I walked the rest of the way home), I kept reminding myself that I only have one or two runs left in this route, if that much, and I better appreciate it while I can.  And I did, I so did, despite my frozen fingers.

So after I went to DC for yet another medical clearance appointment (and have to go back sometime next week for a chest x-ray), I ran home, and took pictures, tons of pictures.  So here you are, after way too much blabbing, a picture tour of my run from Foggy Bottom area in DC (no pictures of that, because I was still freezing then), to Columbia Pike in Arlington, a place where many Arlingtonians have no clue where it is located (even though I’m only a mile from the Pentagon and Pentagon Row), but where I proudly call home.  (Fun fact — Columbia Pike is name that because it was the first major road into DC — after the construction of the Pentagon, it no longer goes into DC, but starts there instead.)

And excuse the gloomy weather — DC though has the most horrible weather (cold and unpredictable in the winter, huge storms with hail in the spring, super hot and humid in the summer — it is a swamp after all), gloomy days are not what DC is known for.

And, for what is worth, this is also the most boring trail I run in.  It’s just the quick way home, though not what you would call “pretty.”  But there are some pretty sights on the way out of DC…

Arriving at the National Mall…


Approaching the Lincoln Memorial…

One of the many military helicopters that were flying by that day…

The Washington Monument — and a drained out (and fenced up!) reflecting pool…

Can you tell I wasn’t having the best of days?

Approaching the Memorial Bridge…

You can see the statues at the start of the bridge, and the arches over the Potomac River…

Leaving the Lincoln Memorial area…

The Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument…

Entering the Memorial Bridge…

I really love these statues!

You can see Rosslyn on the other side of the river.

And if you look really hard, you can see the 14 Street Bridge crossing over the Potomac…

But for me, the Memorial Bridge is by far the prettiest bridge in DC — even the details are beautiful!

See that thing right in the middle behind the trees?  (The Air Force Memorial) I’ll be half a mile from home when I get there!

Approaching the end of the Memorial Bridge.  If you go straight through, you reach the Arlington Cemetery (which I have yet to visit — sure, there are presidents buried there, but a cemetery is still a bit creepy).

Right after the Memorial Bridge — if I go left, I hop onto the scenic Mt Vernon Trail and run along the Potomac River, towards Crystal City, Old Town Alexandria, and of course, Mt Vernon.  On the right, I follow Washington Blvd trail, and end to the right of the Pentagon.  Home is on the right.

I can still see the Washington Monument behind the trees and across the river…

But this trail is BORING.

But we’re getting closer to home — look at the Air Force Memorial!

Almost at the end of the trail — that building right up ahead?  It’s this little thing called the Pentagon.

Told you!  The Pentagon and the Pentagon Memorial (from 9/11).  I haven’t been to either, but I’ve run next to both for ages now.

Up ahead?  Crystal City on your left, Pentagon City on your right.

Finally on Columbia Pike, and we’re getting closer to the Air Force Memorial…

And there it is!

Less than half a mile from home! (You can see my building on the left of the road)

And I’m home!!!

I’m hoping to do more of these picture tours, but it doesn’t help that it’s been dark when I take the Mt Vernon Trail on my Wednesday runs…


Filed under Pictures, Run Commute, Runs, Training

Confidence in Hills

I mentioned before how this elevation chart for the Marine Corps Marathon was freaking me out:

So I needed to get one somewhat hilly run in to at least know whether I could do it or not.  Yesterday, I met Karl in Clarendon after work, as I had to pick back up one of my bad habits:  tanning.  I know it’s bad for me and all that jazz, but I want some contrast between my white dress and my pale skin!  But mostly, whoever said a base tan is a myth has never traveled to a tropical country…  If I show up with a base tan and wear sunscreen, I’ll be tanned and slightly pink.  If I show up in Brazil pale, no amount of sunscreen will prevent me from looking like a lobster (and that’s not the kind of contrast I want with my wedding dress, or the kind of pain I want to endure).

Anyway…  I told Karl to meet me in Clarendon, and instead of running home, I’d run there and get some hills in.  I had no idea how it was going to be like, or even if I could do it, but I had to try.  My foot hurt horribly through most of the run, which didn’t help, but after stopping a couple of times to try to stretch, I sucked it up and ran most of the way.  My first mile was actually at an 8:59 pace, which is super-fast for me (of course, the downhill helped…).

All in all, I was tired, I wanted to quit at some points, but I finished the whole 4 miles without giving up.  It helps that I wore my Chicago Marathon shirt on my run too — I couldn’t forget I had it on, and I kept telling myself “this distance is nothing!”

This was the elevation chart:

So it took me 2 miles to go from zero to about 260 feet — that’s 100 feet more of elevation than the MCM.  Could I have run another 22 miles after that?  Probably not.  But I was also not concerned with my pace, but with finishing the run instead, and it was after a full day of work, with humid weather (again!  Why is it so muggy on the last week of October?), and a temperature of 78 degrees (WTF, really).

Luckily, if all goes to plan, the temperature is supposed to drop again (and I certainly hope so — our building’s AC has been turned off and I can’t seem to get any sleep), and Sunday is supposed to be a sunny day, with the high temperature of 63.   (Perfect running weather, no?)

And how does one look like after running in these conditions?  All I can say is that my face matched my shirt…

I’m ready for the MCM!  Horrible medal and all!  Bring it!


Filed under Injury, Marathon Training, Pictures, Run Commute, Runs

The good, the bad, the PR hope…

After running the “mile challenge” at bootcamp in the morning, I went for a run with the group that night.  Jen tagged along with me, and we chatted the whole way.  It was a beautiful night, the weather was great (just chilly enough without being cold!), I felt great the whole way, not a bit of pain anywhere.  We finished the 6.2 miles with an average pace of 10:51 — not bad, considering neither of us were struggling to keep up the pace, and we never broke conversation.

So yesterday, despite being tired, I was looking forward to running to Pentagon City from work, then going to Bikram.  I started my run and immediately noticed I wasn’t hydrated enough and was getting cotton mouth (on a cool day, WTF?).  Then as the run progressed, my stomach started bugging me, and I kept having the feeling that I was going to throw up.  So I slowed down, and at times had to walk to avoid throwing up.  When I decided to pick it up again, with a mile an a half to go, the front of my ankle started hurting with each step.  I don’t need more weird pains!!!

I ended up walking the whole way back, though my ankle was still hurting with the walk, just not as much.  I felt like a failure — cotton mouth, bad stomach, about to vomit, and pain in the front of the ankle?

So I had to skip Bikram as well, because my stomach was still not doing well, and I was definitely not hydrated enough (despite drinking water all day).  This morning, my foot was throbbing when I woke up (I really do think I have plantar fasciitis, since pain when you first wake up is one of the symptoms).  So I skipped bootcamp as well.  Ugh.

I should have just stuck with the run on Wednesday and quit for the week.  On Wednesday, I finished my run confident I could PR this weekend.  Yesterday, I finished my run wondering if I could even run the 10 miles this weekend.

So what’s this weekend?  I’ll be running this race, for the second time:

Yep, a DC tradition.  I ran it last year and liked it, but like everyone else, hate the last 2 miles on the 14th street bridge.  Karl hated this race because it was too crowded — this year he finally got placed on the first corral, but he won’t be able to run it…

Tonight, I’m off to the expo — if it’s the same as last year, there’s noting to write home about, it’s one of the worst expos I’ve seen, barely any vendors and no freebies.

Sunday, I’ll be at that start line, with the hopes of finishing in 1:45.  Kathy even said she’ll pace me.  But considering my runs during the last week, this might not be possible.  My 10 Miler PR was at this race last year when I finished in 1:54:34 (11:27 pace).  Knowing I have finished my half marathon with a better pace than that, and in pretty much every 13 miles or less run lately I hit the 10 miler mark before then, I should at least leave with a PR.  Maybe aim for 1:50?  We’ll see…


Filed under 10 Miler, Army Ten Miler, Race, Run Commute

Running Home!

I haven’t run home in a couple of weeks, since last week I was feeling like crap the whole week.

Today, I’m running to Pentagon City again (where Karl will be waiting for me with a cold G2!)

This is the route I take…

Those trees at the very end where the road ends?  That’s the National Mall — from there, I see these pretty sights, and I’m only 2 miles from the end!


Filed under Run Commute, Runs