Category Archives: DC

13.1

13.1 miles is  a lot of miles. I know because this morning, at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m., I ran 13.1 miles.

This was my first half marathon, and my emotions ran the gamut. When the alarm went off at 5:15 a.m., all I could think was, “Why? WHY?????”

And then, “Must. Have. Diet. Coke. Immediately.” Which I promptly did. Trust me, you don’t want to ignore the voice in your head at 5:15 a.m.

But as I stood at the start  line waiting for the race to start, surrounded by 15,000 thousand  women, the exhaustion faded into exhilaration. And I thought: “I’m running a half marathon!!! That’s kinda awesome of me.” Scratch kinda. Just plain awesome.

Race Start Sm

Waiting for the race to start

The exhilaration of the race and my natural competitiveness helped push me a long. I promised myself I could walk after I hit the 10-mile mark, but I kept running (err…jogging), one foot in front of the other. Somewhere around mile 7, the pain set into my leg muscles, but it is amazing what your body can do when you don’t give in. I marveled at the sheer persistance we humans are capable of. I has always been the kind of person who promised up and down I would never subject myself to a half marathon/marathon. Why in the world would I willingly subject myself to such agony? But there I was, knocking down the miles one by one, running farther than I have ever run before. And when I crossed the finish line after 2 hours, 27 minutes and 6 seconds of running, I felt pure joy. I gobbled down a banana, collected my Tiffany necklace and my finisher’s t-shirt and exulted in my accomplishment.

Post Race Sm

These suit-clad men handed out Tiffany necklaces to all the finishers

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The famous Nike Tiffany necklace

Me at Race

ME!!!!!

The exultation lasted about 15 minutes.

Then, I remembered how much my feet hurt, and my stomach started making odd noises that I’m pretty sure a stomach is not supposed to make. I moaned and groaned as I shuffled my way home and collapsed into bed. But even this pain has a silver lining. The stiffness in my legs is a reminder of my accomplishment, a reminder that the limits I set for myself are meant to be crushed.

But just for the record: I will NOT be signing up for a full marathon anytime soon.

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Countdown to the Big Day

Nike has invaded Washington D.C. Race day is only two days away!

WeRUnDC2

Nike has set up shop on the bank of the Potomac in Georgetown.

Marathon Route

The route

 

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I’M SENSING A THEME

At Versailles in France, I stopped in front of a statue and begged my friends to take a photo of me imitating it. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

Me at Versailles

Me at Versailles acting super classy.

It has now become something of an obsession. Here’s me walking around Washington D.C. yesterday. Statues beware! I will find you and mimic you.

Me in DC acting super classy.

Me in D.C. acting super classy. (I need to teach The Boyfriend how to use the zoom function.)

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: BEYOND

This week’s photo challenge is beyond – photos that pull the eye beyond the focal point. Not sure these fit the bill, but I’m giving it my best shot. Which one do you like best?

Croatia

Looking out on the old city of Dubrovnik in Croatia.

Vietnam Memorial

The Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C.

Arizona

Mountains in southern Arizona

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A Lazy Sunday Photo Shoot

This past Sunday, I finally had some time to take a walk on the National Mall, camera in hand. Here are some results:

Washington Monument

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: DELICATE

This week’s photo challenge is “delicate.”

In Washington D.C., all the flags are at half-mast in honor of the Sandy Hook victims, a reminder of the delicacy of life. Life is delicate.

American Flag

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Frack. Now I Have To Run 13.1 Miles

Remember when I did something really, really, really stupid? Let me refresh your memory. A couple weeks ago, I signed up for the Nike half-marathon in Washington D.C. At the time, I didn’t freak out because I was entered into a lottery system. I had the luxury of feeling awesome for signing up while I convinced myself I wouldn’t actually have to run. It was a win-win. Then this showed up in my inbox today.

Congrats! You just paid $160 to subject yourself to 13 miles worth of torture.

Congrats! You just paid $160 to subject yourself to 13 miles worth of torture.

Now, I actually have to run. And run. And run some more. This is the route:

Half Marathon course

I’ve actually run and walked this course many times. It’s a great route, weaving in an out of the national monuments with exhilarating views of the Potomac. Of course, I’ve never done the entire course at once or at 7 a.m. in the morning.

So why? Why am I subjecting myself to this masochistic torture? It’s not for the Tiffany necklace Nike hands out for finishing because I’m not a necklace-wearing kind of gal, and if I really wanted a Tiffany necklace, I’d go out and buy one. And it’s not because I love running, because my relationship with the sport vacillates between unadulterated hatred and mild ambivalence. So that’s definitely not it.

Rather, I’ve managed to convince myself that running a half-marathon will not only make me a better runner, it will make me a better person. Running 13 miles always seemed like an impossible task. Like flying or walking through walls. And if I can conquer the seemingly impossible task of running a half-marathon, then I can do anything, right?

Right?

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PHOTO CHALLENGE: RENEWAL

This week’s photo challenge is renewal. This was a tough one, but as I was going through my pictures, it hit me: Cherry blossoms are Washington D.C.’s version of renewal.

Every year, at the end of March or beginning of April, the cherry blossoms bloom in Washington D.C. for two weeks. In D.C., these flowers are a sign that winter is coming to an end and spring is on the way. It is a sign of good things to come.

Tourists from all around the world come to photograph the beautiful pink and white flowers in the shadow of the monuments. Last year, I grabbed my camera on a blustery Sunday morning and spent a couple of hours trying to do these flowers justice.

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms

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WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS… TAKE PICTURES

It’s been a crappy day. There really is no other word for it. Just crappy. And not the kind of crappy where I stubbed my toe and can’t find my iPod. But the kind where all I wanted to do was sit on the couch watching Friends reruns while I made my way through half a container of fat-free Pringles (which I did and which will probably end badly for my digestive system). The kind of crappy where even watching TV didn’t sufficiently distract me, and that’s when I know it’s a genuinely bad day, because TV is almost always a magical elixir that makes everything okay. Except today.

So what’s a girl to do? All the things I should have been doing — running, writing, cleaning up my messy apartment — required too much energy, both physical and mental. So I grabbed my camera and my second lens, threw on my favorite baggy sweatshirt and ventured out to the Mall despite the chill in the air and the grey in the sky.

Taking pictures is therapeutic. At least for me. It is also a mental reprieve. Instead of thinking about all the things I really didn’t want to be thinking about, my brain was consumed with apertures and shutter speeds and framing a photo just right. Of course, I will have to go back to dealing with life eventually, but for an hour today, I escaped. Here are the results:

Jefferson Memorial

In the spring, these trees come alive with cherry blossoms for about two weeks. It is a photographer’s dream.

Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

Flower Garden

Flower Garden

Flower Garden

Flower Garden

Flower Garden

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

I love the World War II Memorial, but I find it one of the hardest memorials to capture well on camera. These are mediocre shots, but they were the best of the bunch.

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

I love this shot. The wreath is so simple, yet so evocative.

Lincoln Memorial

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I WENT RUNNING AND DIDN’T WANT TO JUMP INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC

I went running. And I didn’t want to kill myself. Sure, that may seem like a low bar for some folks, but in my short running career that’s like running a marathon. Go me.

Maybe it was the nighttime breeze. Maybe it was the multiple photo stops I made. Or maybe it was the Running Gods finally smiling upon me. Or maybe… maybe I’m actually getting better; maybe I’ve moved beyond complete and utter suckiness and reached the mediocrity that I’ve aspired to all my life. Nah… That’s just too crazy.

Some photos from my non-sucky, almost-good run:

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Kennedy Center

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