I fell in love with the challenge of running while in undergrad while running on country roads and sidewalks around Illinois. But I fell in love with the act of running while running around Washington DC during the 2.5 years that I lived less than a mile from the National Mall. During this time I ran countless miles in the shadows of America’s most recognizable monuments and statutes. This week, while visiting my wife’s family for Christmas and New Years, I took advantage of the weather to once again run around some of the most beautiful sites in the country.
I started in a place that has a love hate relationship with my running memories. East Potomac Park was one of the most common locations I would run. It was just a mile from my apartment and provided clear roads where I could put in miles without having to stop for traffic lights or pedestrians. The park also proved to be one of the loniest places to run causing me to spend many hours running with no one to keep me company but my own thoughts. I came to welcome the mental challenge of running around the point of this park and I am confident that it helped me become a better mental runner.
From East Potomac Park I ran up West Potomac Park and across the Arlington Memorial Bridge to the gates of Arlington National Cemetery. This is also a common turn around point for many of my runs, including both shorter runs and longer ones. Across the bridge and to the front gate is almost exactly one mile so across and back adds almost exactly two miles to any run.
While I stopped at the gates I noticed a great site. Each December Wreaths Across America honors all of our soldiers by adorning graves of soldiers with wreaths at cemeteries across the country. The largest display is always at Arlington. I have volunteered multiple times to be one of the thousands of volunteers who get to put the wreaths on the graves as part of the show of appreciation. The wreaths were still on the graves and I had to go into the cemetery and take some photos to show the beauty that the wreaths provide to the cemetery.
After leaving the cemetery I went back across the bridge and to the Lincoln Memorial and to the Washington Monument. Each of these monuments is beautiful in its own rite and provide such an entertaining backdrop to run around. There are hundreds of fellow runners and thousands of tourists traversing the sidewalks and paths around these monuments and the mall that I cannot help but continue running no matter how tired I have been during some runs.
After leaving the Washington Monument I fan to the Capitol (whose dome is being currently worked on) and traversed Capitol Hill. There are not many hills around the National Mall so anytime I wanted to do any hill work I headed to Capitol Hill and ran up and down. As any one can imagine, these workouts are some of the hardest and each time I run up the Hill I cannot help but remember the suffering that has occurred on the slopes.
After reaching the top I had to make a special stop. I just completed my first semester of law school and I felt obligated to stop and take a photo in front of the Supreme Court building. Despite the fact that few lawyers ever work in the building, and even fewer ever sit as a justice, every lawyer’s knowledge of the law is based on many of the decisions that have taken place within the building. No law student should come to DC without making a stop at this building and contemplating the knowledge that has come from this building and the impact that the decisions will have on his/her career going forward.
After the Supreme Court building I concluded my run by running back to East Potomac Park and my waiting car. The total mileage was 9.5 and it ended up being my last run of 2015 and I could not think of a better run to conclude what was a great running year for me. I love the ability to run around such a great running city and I am looking forward to many future runs around the monuments in the future.
You can find all of my photos here.