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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Running on the Mall

I've wanted to do this ever since I knew I was moving to DC, and yesterday I finally went down to the National Mall to run. I actually started down by the Lincoln Memorial, ran along the Reflecting Pool, past the WWII Memorial, and made a big loop around the Washington Monument security perimeter before heading back. Some day when I have more time and energy I vow I'll go all the way to the Capitol and back. If I do all of that I probably won't be able to resist the urge of running the Lincoln Memorial steps triumphantly at the end, a la Rocky.

The terrain was rather disappointing, with the dirt paths that were available so hard that they were little better on my knees than pavement. Much of the grass alongside some paved sections is rather thick, and by the Reflecting Pool especially there are lots of tree roots, requiring me to continually look down to avoid tripping, inhibiting me somewhat from looking around to soak in the surrounding views. The Potomac side of the Reflecting Pool is way buggy too, as I was reminded when I found several dead insects stuck to my neck upon return to my apartment. Then there's the excessive barriers around the Washington Monument, which break up what would otherwise be a nice straight route between the Reflecting Pool and the Mall, forcing a detour around that brings runners alongside road traffic more than I would like.

All the same, it's still a good place to run. I saw many fellow travelers along the route, people that I suspect have been over those paths many times before. There still are some places that afford wonderful views--I'm a sucker for the monuments, no matter how often I see them, especially with a low sun angle--and after all, this is one of the less interrupted stretches of ground open to runners in the city. Perhaps I will investigate Rock Creek Park or the Georgetown Canals soon.

Obviously with my slow blogging pace of late, I'm not all that plugged into the online discussion forums or news. It's probably a good idea to take a few days off from full-scale presidential politics in advance of what's sure to be a dismaying spectacle on TV next week. Remember to pick up a barf bag before Monday, as it may come in handy.