Our TCY Masters team had a great showing at the Arundel Olympic Aquatic Center in Annapolis last Saturday. I swam in a record 5 events including 2 relays. Our team was a clear winner enabling us to reclaim first place in the state of Maryland for the 2009 series. We have 2 meets left.
My running schedule has been a bit light over these winter months. I get out for a run about once a week, if that. However, Monday provided a fabulous opportunity to run in Washington, DC. My daughter, a friend, and I went to DC for two days to partake in the Inauguration of the new president. After our arrival Monday afternoon, the girls took off shopping and I took off on a reconnaissance run. With over a million people predicted for the inauguration, I wanted to see where we were supposed to be. We had tickets for a standing-room-only area in front of the Capitol building next to the reflection pond. It was an 4 mile run from my niece’s house (where we stayed) to our “spot” in front of the Capitol. My route took me through some sleepy streets in Georgetown, across the Canal, and to the trail lining the river. This trail took me to the back side of the Lincoln Memorial where I crossed the road, rounded the front, and paused to awe at the statue of a man we owe a great deal.
From the Lincoln Memorial I ran straight to the Capitol passing the Washington Monument. I ran on paths, open lawn, and streets. There are 4 main streets that paralleled my course: Constitution, Madison, Jefferson, and Independence Avenues. They all were lined with buses and media trailers. There was much excitement in the air. Many people were out and about; some protesting, some gathering, some sightseeing. It was exciting for me to weave in and out of the throngs of people. Running was by far the best way to get around that late afternoon.
Once I reached my destination at the edge of the reflecting pond I gazed at the setting sun’s warm light illuminating the Capitol dressed in patriotic colors. The light was incredible. I wished I had a camera then. The crowds were no less on my return to Georgetown; it seemed more people were turning out as evening worn on. It became a great game to dodge people; good fun. After a shower, dinner, and a movie, we hit the hay.
The National Mall from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in the wee hours of Inauguration morning.
Morning came with a vengeance. At 6:45 the girls and I left Georgetown on bikes following the same paths I ran the day before. We had to leave our bikes with Honest Abe and walk the remaining 2 miles to the Capitol. At 8:30 we were on our spot for the inauguration which wouldn’t start for another 3 hours. The crowds were un-be-leive-able! Had we waited any longer we never would have gotten to our ticketed area, never!
The throngs of well-wishers to our back for as far back as the Potomac River.
The Inauguration was worth waiting for. We stood among 1.4 million people in the cold to listen to the first black man to take a simple oath to the highest office in our land. We stood directly behind a farmer from the Midwest and an Arabian man. There were people of every walk of life and color. It was a great testament to the principles in which our country was founded. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend in person.
Leaving was fantastic, as well. Though we arrived with a crowd (1000’s) to get to our area early it took the Mall 4 hours to fill up after we were settled. When the main event was finished everyone (100,000's) started to move at once. Three times we came to a complete standstill where my body was touching 5 others at the same time. the girls and I had our arms hooked together so we wouldn’t lose each other. Someone would climb a traffic pole to give those of us near a report. At 12th Street the report was that Independence Avenue was jammed for 3 blocks in all directions with sardined people. We were again lucky to be able to break free of the crowds. Our destination required only us to move our legs, not wait for a bus or metro rail. Even with our advantage it took us 2 hours to get back to Georgetown. Incredible.
The monuments at Washington still give me chills when I see them. The greatness of our predecessors’ actions is often too much for me to comprehend. I would love to have our running group (RUR’s) make a road trip one day to DC for a run around all the monuments (and their stairs). Let’s pick a day. Love, swim, bike, and run…..