Tag Archives: DC

cherry blossoms

One day last week I woke up and heard birds and knew spring was finally here. Spring everywhere is great, but it’s especially lovely in the greater DC metropolitan area.
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On Sunday afternoon we metroed downtown to take in the infamous DC cherry blossoms.
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We’ve been three out of the last four years (just like Kentucky in the Final Four…) and I think this was our most pleasant foray. It wasn’t too hot and there was a light breeze. Of course, the Tidal Basin was full-to-bursting of tourists and locals alike, but we were patient and got some great pictures.
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I call this one Pensive Mr. Frost, with Aviator Sunglasses.
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The cherry blossoms (which seemed like a fable to entice tourists the first time we went in 2010, which was definitely post-peak bloom) really are incredible, and the effect of the trees surrounding the Tidal Basin is beautiful. The sun started going down as we walked back toward the metro, which was in itself quite lovely.
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We walked hand-in-hand along the mall and I remembered that DC is a much happier city when it’s warm outside. What’s not to love about a lazy Sunday afternoon walking along the Mall?
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28

Jason was supposed to be out of town on his birthday, so we celebrated two weeks ago with ice cream cake and Dunkin’ Donuts (per usual). Then, in the best birthday-related turn of events ever he returned home on Wednesday, just in time to celebrate again on Saturday. I’m so glad.

Jason is the best.
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I sometimes field questions about marrying young when people do the math and I always think, “Clearly you don’t know how great Jason is.” Who wouldn’t want to marry this stellar man??
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He is thoughtful and kind. He’s smart but never makes anyone feel inferior. He’s the most genuine person I know.
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Jason teases me like my family does (much to their delight). He is fun and funny. He’s clever, witty, and sweet.
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He is a hard worker. He can talk to anyone. He is intellectually curious and always has a stack of books to read next. He’s conscientious and responsible and can grow a rockin’ beard.
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Jason makes me want to be a better person every day. Being married to him is my best blessing.
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Happy birthday!

mio & hannah, day four

We realized on Sunday night that we hadn’t booked a trip to see the temple into the itinerary, so we got up super early on Monday morning to go see it.
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When we got home everyone was starving, so we went to the Silver Diner for breakfast. Sorry, Dad, no one ordered the roasted beet salad. I think Hannah and Mariel really enjoyed their french toast and pancakes instead.

We hopped on the metro and headed to the National Museum of American History. I could spend days in the National Gallery, but American History requires a more strategic approach (or you may drive yourself crazy in the American on the Move exhibit). We hit up the must sees, including Bob Dylan’s jacket…
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Kermit the Frog, the Sunstone, the Fort McHenry flag, the First Lady dresses (best part, in my opinion)…20140121-165744.jpg

and a select portion of The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden until the Kennedy assassination made us sad.

We did also see the giant conestoga wagon, not pictured below. In other news, Jason’s facial hair is here to stay (for now). I like it. He likes it. My coworkers like it. 20140121-165753.jpg

We marched up the mall and past the Lincoln Memorial, over the bridge and up to Arlington National Cemetary. 20140121-165803.jpg

We got there just in time to hike up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for the changing of the guard, which was a big hit of Mariel’s last trip. We also saw a wreath-laying ceremony. Afterward we went to the Kennedy grave site. I always prefer the RFK area. We skipped the Robert E. Lee house and went back to the Metro. At this point we were hungry again, so we went to Foggy Bottom and walked up to Farmers Fishers Bakers.

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We ordered and split the Georgetown honey fig pizza, a meatball pizza, a Farmer’s Daughter sandwich, the pickled vegetable potato salad, and of course the pretzels.

In the evening one of the YW from our ward came over to talk to Mio about BYU-I. When she’d gone, we ate cookies and played Mental Floss and painted our nails again in between gales of laughter. Seriously, by the time the game was over my sides hurt from laughing so much.

The next morning the girls and I woke up at 4 AM and left for the airport at 4:30 AM. We stopped by Dunkin’ Donuts on the way (a must for any east coast trip, or so the New Englander in our family would tell you). I dropped them at the airport a little after five o’clock. I was terribly sad to see them leave; I get used to having them around and then there’s a big sister-shaped void in my life again. Thank goodness for technology or I would never survive living 2,000 miles away from my family.

Total miles walked: 5.9

in which we visit the rest of the monuments

Jason fortunately didn’t have crazy early meetings on Sunday, so we were all able to cycle through the shower before 9 AM church. During the second hour, Hannah and Mio kindly helped the YW presidency set up for New Beginnings, which we hold during the third hour.
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The Personal Progress leaders did a beautiful job with the program, decor and treats. In my recollection, New Beginnings was an opportunity to feel guilty about not having completed more of my Personal Progress; I much prefer attending as a leader.

After church we made pizza and conferenced about our next moves. Jason was exhausted, so he stayed home and took a nap while the girls and I drove downtown. As Hannah and Mariel will attest, finding parking was an experience. We spotted a place a ways away from the Jefferson that seemed good, but at the last minute I realized it was kind of sketch so we forged ahead. Fortunately we found something safe a few minutes later.

The Jefferson Memorial is one of my favorites and I think Hannah and Mariel really liked it too.
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My lovely sisters.
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We stayed inside for a few minutes talking and reading the inscriptions before heading back toward the Tidal Basin. I should point out that it is easy to find young men ages 18 – 25 to take your photo when you are wandering around with Hannah and Mariel.
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We walked around the basin and headed up to the World War II Memorial. From there, we went to the Vietnam Memorial, which is another favorite. It was a little chilly, but the sun was out and we almost didn’t need our coats.

We visited the Lincoln Memorial, where Hannah complimented the purse of the woman taking our picture and it turned out the purse was from Argentina!
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We walked through the MLK Jr. Memorial and went up the other side of the Tidal Basin through the FDR Memorial.
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The girls found the FDR as weird as I do, but it’s worth a visit if just for a(nother) picture with his little dog Fala.
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We drove home by way of Foggy Bottom so I could show my sisters our intern housing, and through Georgetown so they could see how the other 1% lives. I kid. I didn’t realize we would make it there the next night and wanted to make sure they saw the Park City of DC. On the way home we also passed my mom’s childhood home, which has now been fully torn down.

Dinner was ready when we got home thanks to the crockpot, after which we headed up to Sara’s. Kathleen and Bruce came down to see us too, which was very kind. We had a blast seeing Sara’s kids (none of whom were born the last time Hannah and Mio saw her) and eating chocolate chip cookies.

Total miles walked: 3.2

Hannah and Mariel go to Washington, day one

For Christmas this year Hannah and Mariel requested a trip to come see us, which is at once very flattering (someone wants to visit us!?!) and intimidating. When we have guests I feel personally invested in their having a Super Awesome Trip. Thus, I spent many daydreaming hours of the last few weeks concocting the perfect four-day itinerary for their time here.

Things started out contrary to my ideal plan when unexpected–or maybe it should be expected by now–traffic made Jason and me very late to the airport to pick them up. The girls were really good sports about it, though, and enjoyed people watching at the Dulles baggage claim.

On the way home we stopped for dinner at Lebanese Taverna, which never disappoints. Jason had a bishopric meeting at nine PM, so we sisters sat around talking and laughing and painting our nails. (Have I mentioned my newfound commitment to painted nails? It’s a 2014 thing.)

We got a bright and early–especially for the still-on-Mountain-Time girls–start the next morning. Jason went to work while Hannah, Mio, and I metroed downtown for a tour of the U.S. Capitol.
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When Mariel was in town last time we went on a tour set up by Rep. Chaffetz’s office and it was truly terrible. The intern barely knew where he was going, much less which room was which. (“So I think this round room is called…I don’t know, the rotunda or something?”) This time I scheduled the tour through Senator Hatch’s office, since I know firsthand that those interns are required to pass an exam before giving tours. We reached the senator’s office early, so one of the front desk staffers showed us around the suite, including the very tiny desk where I spent so many hours in 2010. He also showed us the senator’s office, which was pretty cool.
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Our tour guide was great and conveyed accurate information. We got to ride over to the capitol by way of the underground shuttle. So cool.
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We saw everything we wanted to see at a leisurely pace. I think my favorite room is still the rotunda.
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After the formal tour was over, our guide took us to the Senate gallery to see the day’s thirty seconds worth of business and some pages braiding each other’s hair, and then to the House gallery where the august body was not in session. Both chambers are stunning.
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We had lunch at Good Stuff Eatery, of course, where the girls got to try the Obama Burger and Milky Way malt. Afterward, we walked to my work where I introduced Hannah and Mariel to my coworkers and showed them my office. We were all pretty beat from our early morning wake-up call, so we also used this opportunity to rest our weary feet.

When we had recovered our strength, we went to the National Gallery. To our surprise, the renovations to the east wing meant all the art has been taken down!! We wandered back to the less awesome west side and were greeted by Dali’s Last Supper (one of my favorites in the east wing) hung temporarily in a stairwell. Weird. We checked out the impressionists, a new Van Gogh, some Flemish paintings, and finished our artistic jaunt in the oft-creepy Medieval exhibit. We also saw a da Vinci portrait and really old Roman sculpture.

Upon leaving the building, Mariel pointed out that the archives are across the street, so we made a quick detour to see the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights.

We went back across the street for a quick run through the sculpture garden. Hannah and Mariel really liked the aluminum tree.
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I really liked this.
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We walked over to the Washington Monument, which is still partly scaffolded. I think it is set to reopen this year.
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We decided to finish our long and productive day in the city at the White House. As we approached the front, however, a guard informed us that the road was closed. Hannah cried “Oh, no!” and looked sorely disappointed.

The guard eyed us. “It’s not closed forever…”

Indeed, as we walked down H Street, the north side of Lafayette reopened and we were able to walk up to the front gate.
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When we got home, we made pizza per Frost family tradition. We rounded out the day with a visit to Nielsen’s for the best frozen custard in the world.

Many thanks to my parents for making this trip happen!

Total miles walked: 6

30 hours in Charlottesville

We spent our last evening with my dad at Farmers Fishers Bakers in Georgetown, a favorite for when we have visitors. En route, I forced a picture in front of our old digs at the Barlow Center.20130901-184842.jpg
At dinner, I had a delicious fig jam, prosciutto, and honey pizza that I’m longing to replicate at home. The three of us walked back to Rosslyn together and said good-bye (but only for a week).

Jason and I headed out to Charlottesville after work the next day. We left late enough to avoid traffic and the drive itself wasn’t bad, albeit not terribly direct. We made it to our hotel around 9 PM. We were at a Holiday Inn Express, which I usually don’t mind, but this one had the loudest ice machine I’ve ever heard and it was right across the hall from our room. I don’t think we’ll be staying there again any time soon.

In the morning, we drove to and parked at the downtown mall. I was expecting a mall akin to the National Mall–an expanse of grass and not much else (except, of course, monuments to important people and events in American history). Instead, this mall was a blocked-off-for-pedestrians street with restaurants and shops along both sides and tables and chairs and benches in the middle. It was really chill, which was a nice departure from where we spend most of our time.

We stopped at Miller’s, which is of course where DMB got their start back in 1991.
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Hungry, we headed over to The Southern for breakfast. When we asked the waitress what was good, she told us it was their first ever breakfast-serving day. I had an apple, bacon, and white cheddar frittata with a biscuit, and Jason did a “wake n’ bake” with pico de gallo, bacon, and cheddar. He’d hoped to include sausage but was told “No sausage today, baby.” This made me miss Lexington immensely.
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After breakfast we headed to Blue Whale Books, where Jason found an out-of-print book about Mexico City and I bought a collection of essays by Barbara Kingsolver. We also decided to hunt down a new purse for me, since the stadium guidelines did not permit “bags or backpacks with multiple pockets or excessive zippers.” My original purse (more of a tote, really) has both. At Urban Outfitters we found some pretty heinous stuff, but also a little red purse with horse-printed fabric lining. We headed back to the car, transferred our important goods–which did not include our ponchos, as our weather app claimed no chance of rain–to my new purse, then embarked on our walk to campus.

It’s about 2 miles from the mall and the day hotter than expected. On the way, I got a text from Rashelle saying they were at lunch. Google Maps informed me that their restaurant was really close by, so we headed over to say hi. To our great delight, Patience and Dan were there too. We all headed over to the game together by way of the bookstore. This salient detail is important later.
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We’d heard UVA’s campus was gorgeous and it didn’t disappoint. Hopefully we’ll make it down again sometime with more time to explore.
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We got to the stadium pretty early, but got a nice view of the stadium. My favorite part was the student section on the grassy hill.
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We stayed with our friends near their seats until 3:15 PM, at which point we headed up to our seats. The game was underway a few minutes later. The BYU fans had (unsurprisingly) traveled well; according to later estimates, there were 10-12k cougar fans in attendance.
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The first quarter was fine, but nothing to write home about. I will say that the woman next to me had the most shrill, shrieking scream I’ve ever heard. It was like she took the pitch at which everyone was yelling and raised it two octaves + 4 steps, but flat. Oh, it was bad.

This is where things start to get interesting. After the first quarter, the announcer directed us all to leave the stadium in light of inclement weather. Now, at this point the sky was a little dark, but it wasn’t raining. A lot of people stayed, but Jason and I didn’t feel like hanging out in the crowded concourse of a largely metal structure in a lightning storm, so we hightailed it for the bookstore (the only location we knew of, since we’d been there hours earlier). We made it just as the rain started.

Turns out, it’s a good thing they stopped the game; the rain was torrential and there was indeed the promised lightning and thunder. We wandered around the bookstore and bought some goldfish crackers, trail mix, and Sour Patch kids to munch on while we waited out the downpour. The lights flickered a few times, but the bookstore never lost power.
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About an hour later, the rain dissipated and Jason saw on Twitter that fans were moving back into the stands. We walked back over to the stadium, only to discover that the fans INSIDE the stadium already were going back to their seats; the rest of us would have to wait outside the gates until the danger had officially passed. We stood around outside for another forty-five minutes or so before being let back in. While this was mildly annoying, I was at least grateful we weren’t like (almost all) the other BYU fans with six or seven bored children underfoot.
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The game resumed at 6:20 PM, but with a much-diminished crowd. The BYU fans stuck around because most of us had nowhere else to go (also: pride) but the student section was pretty well decimated. I wouldn’t want to stand on that soggy lawn either. 20130901-190213.jpg

My high-pitched neighbor was back for a few minutes, but she and her party left for better seats. My eardrums were grateful.

We made it through the second quarter and halftime, but another rainstorm began in the third quarter. Thankfully, Jason and I had purchased new ponchos at the bookstore; the rest of our section moved into the concourse to wait it out. It poured and poured, but there was no lightning so the game continued.
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After thinking for a few sweet minutes that we had the game in the bag, BYU threw an interception and couldn’t keep VA from scoring a touchdown. It was a huge bummer, but at that point I think everyone was glad to be able to go home. The ponchos kept our bodies mostly dry, but our feet were soaked and I had inadvertently sat in a puddle. We met up with the Carters at the gates and walked with them to their car. They drove us to our car, and the four of us had a quick dinner at Five Guys. I always want to like Five Guys and am always disappointed; this time, though, perhaps the sting of defeat had something to do with it too.

Jason and I were on the road by 10:30 PM, and got back home around 12:45 PM, far later than we usually stay out. The drive wasn’t bad (but then again, I wasn’t the one driving). We were both grateful the next day for afternoon church.

home team

Dad, Jason, and I met up after work on Wednesday and headed to Nationals Park. I had purchased the tickets Tuesday morning when the weather forecast was sunny and warm with zero precipitation. By the time we got to the park, dark clouds had gathered to the north.
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Our seats were awesome and we got free t-shirts for some reason during the second inning. As the Nats were up to bat in the bottom of the second, we began to feel droplets of rain. We had umbrellas, but soon the downpour was too much; as the field folks covered the diamond in a giant tarp, we headed into the shelter of the concourse.

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We dined on hot dogs (Nats dogs, apparently) for supper while watching the weather. I was pretty sure the game would be called. We hiked up to the very top level and sat in empty seats so we could watch the rain-thwarting efforts on the field.

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Around 8:30, the scoreboard announced that the game would resume in fifteen minutes. We headed back down to our seats and valiantly attempted to dry them off with napkins. Fortunately a park employee came by with a Shamwow-ish cloth and dried our seats for us. The game got going again and we settled in for some good baseball.

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I was very happy we didn’t have to trudge home in sadness after only two innings.
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We stayed through the bottom of the sixth inning before heading home. It was 10:20 PM and we had to metro back to our apartment and hotel, respectively. It was a fun night (though I’d be up for a little more baseball and a little less rain next time).

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In other news, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington marchers assembled on Wednesday morning literally right outside my building. I only walked past, but it seemed sort of significant.

hemingway saturday

We went on a quick run Saturday morning, then headed to DC for a staged performance of 1920s hedonism that wasn’t The Great Gatsby. The ballet tickets were part of our anniversary gift to ourselves (the other part being Dave Matthews Band tickets for June). I knew there was going to be track work on the Orange line, so we left plenty early and got to the Kennedy Center with an hour before The Sun Also Rises began. We spent the additional time enjoying the perfect May weather out on the balcony.20130511-224935.jpg
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We’d been to the Kennedy Center a few times as interns for Millennium Stage shows and Mariel and I went on that ill-fated 2.5 hour tour in 2012, but this was our first trip as paying patrons. I love the building, especially the mirrored hall (which probably has another name).
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I wasn’t sure how Hemingway would translate to ballet, but it turned out to be awesome.

There was a pit orchestra, which was a surprise, and giant pieces of scenery that dropped in and out of the stage. Important dialogue was projected on silent film-esque title cards and accompanying video played on a giant round screen in the back. The Paris half of the play was black and blue, and the San Fermin scenes were washed in red and green (and featured massive puppet people). The dancing seemed well-executed to our untrained eyes, and we weren’t bored at all. Two thumbs up.

After the performance, we took the Kennedy Center shuttle back to Foggy Bottom and walked up to Georgetown for late lunch. We went to Bodega for tapas, which I liked right off the bat because our waiter brought a basket of bread while we waited for our food. We tried the manchego cheese and serrano ham platter, cod and lentils in garlic sauce, albondigas, and (the best thing ever) piquillo peppers stuffed with braised short ribs served au jus. Afterward, we had to stop for ice cream at Georgetown Scoops to complete our gourmandizing.

popcorn popping

We went to the Tidal Basin after work on Tuesday to see the infamous DC cherry blossoms. We went one time way back in 2010 when we were interns, but we were too late in the season so the blooms were a little disappointing. Tuesday, however, was peak blossom–and Tidal Basin tourist–day.
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The cherry blossoms really are phenomenal; they kind of look like clouds of cotton candy in the trees. It’s crazy how quickly they come and go; I ran there last Friday and the trees were bare.
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As you can see, the Washington Monument is finally getting its post-earthquake repairs. Glad that’s not my job.
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We wandered around the basin, dodging blossom enthusiasts and aspiring photographers, and enjoyed the first really springy day we’ve had in 2013.
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I love spending time with Jason in the city and look forward to many more evening outings this summer.
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13.1

I woke up at 3:00 AM race day angry because in my dream I’d missed the race start and Jason wouldn’t drive me into DC so I could rejoin the field partway through. My subconscious can be really mean.

I got a drink of water and ate a boiled egg and went back to bed–but not actually back to sleep. I finally just got up at 5:30 and started getting ready.

Because it wasn’t rainy or terribly cold, I opted for shorts (new from Old Navy. Classy.) and my race t-shirt. I ate a big bowl of oatmeal and two bananas and woke up Jason so he could take me to the Metro.
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Track work on the orange line delayed my train, so I didn’t arrive at the corrals until after 7:30. The first thing I noticed about my fellow racers was that everyone was bundled up: tights, gloves, hats, wool socks, fleece, etc. the only other shorts-and-t-shirt wearer was a really little girl who was running with her dad. There was also a gal in a tank and leprechaun tutu, but I’m pretty sure alcohol had something to do with her wardrobe choice. I started to worry that I’d completely misjudged the weather and that everyone here knew something I did not. Granted, I was a little cold, but I assumed running 13.1 miles would solve that.

I stopped at the restroom and by the time I made it through the ridiculous line, corral #19 (seven behind my assigned corral) was at the starting line. I joined them and thought, “okay, this is it.”

Miles 1 – 2
The race started with a familiar jaunt up Constitution toward the Lincoln. Since this is a route I take every time I run outside, it felt comfortable and natural, like “this is my route and this is my town. I’ve got this!” I missed the first mile marker. At the second, the time clock was at 46:00. Still able to do math early in the race, I assumed if I’d had a slow start, I’d maybe been going for twenty minutes. I based the rest of my time calculations off this conjecture.

Miles 3 – 4
Great scenery and I hit my stride. Feeling great.

Mile 5
Saw a coworker in the cheering section. Still loving the Rock Creek Park views.

Mile 6
Oh, this is the hill I’ve heard about. It is ridiculous. I plod up, still running (unlike many of my less-than-helpful competitors who are walking up the middle of the road. Seriously?). At the tip top of the hill, I popped out two yellow energy jelly beans. They were delicious. In training for this race, I had run six miles a lot, but only over that a handful of times this season and I was a little worried everything post-6 is going to be a battle.

Mile 7
The colorful houses are my favorite.

Miles 8 – 9
Still feeling great and I kind of can’t believe it. My shin pain is just dull, which probably has something to do with the ibuprofen I took this morning.

Mile 10
Great views of the Capitol. A guy near me is wearing a green spandex suit covered in shamrocks.

Mile 11
What? Only two more miles?

Mile 12
I run with the 4:00 marathon pace team for a little while. I am relieved to not be less than halfway done with my day’s race. I’m excited to be done, but part of me also doesn’t want this triumphant feeling to go away. I relish the last mile.

Mile 13.1
Finished! I slowed to a stop and wander toward water. I’m sweaty and thirsty but can’t stop smiling. I crossed the finish line at 2:23:30. If I started at 00:26:00 like I thought I did, I’m definitely under my two hour goal.
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Jason and I met up a few minutes later at the family reunion field. He’s the best.
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I found out on the way home that my official time was 01:54:50–six minutes under my Derby mini time. I was (and still am) elated.
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I’m not planning to wait two years again before my next half, though.

The only bummer of the day was that Laura wasn’t able to make it. I missed having someone to talk to and keep pace with. Next time!

20130318-154734.jpgWe went home and showered and headed to Lebanese Taverna for lunch. Afterward, we grabbed pastries at Paul. The rest of the day was spent sleeping and grocery shopping and eating and watching basketball.