Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Visiting Baltimore and Washington DC

A few months ago one of my very best friends invited me to visit her and her husband in Baltimore and run a 10k with them.  It was to be their first 10k and they knew I'd enjoy running in a new city.  I jumped at the invite and booked the trip.  The race was the Sole of the City 10k on April 12.

Here we are before the race and after.  It was an amazing course that started and finished in McHenry Row where there were restaurants, bathrooms, and shopping.  The course was different from the first two years of the race and this year there wasn't an awful hill right into the finish line.  The course was for the most part flat except from a short uphill portion that included some cobble stone.  Not cool.


Because of the amazing weather that morning and the flat course I was able to finish with my best time: 56:24 putting me in 815th place overall.  My pace was 9:06/mile.  I really wanted to beat 55 minutes, but I'm not at all disappointed in how I ran.  I cut 3:20 from my last 10k race in February - not too bad!  It was also fun to get to see so much of the city while we ran.  Hopefully next year they do a few waves at the start.  There were over 3000 runners and the first mile and a half was a lot of dodging and weaving.  Connie and Marc loved the race atmosphere and the 10k distance and are already looking for their next race.

After the race we grabbed some brunch and walked around a little bit more then headed back to their place.  That evening we went to a Baltimore Orioles game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The baseball fan in me loved seeing a new ball field, Camden Yards.  The long, brick building that is behind the scoreboard is actually party of the stadium and where all of the team offices are located.  We had great seats for the game and every now and then a foul ball would head in our direction.  The Braves and Orioles are in different divisions so I can't even remember the last time we played them. 

Sunday we decided to head into Washington DC to check out the last day of the Cherry Blossom Festival.  We drove about 30 minutes to a train station and then took the train in the rest of the way.  

Some of the trees were in full bloom and some of them were a day or two past full bloom, but it was beautiful.  The weather on Sunday was also amazing making the afternoon even more enjoyable.  The crowd was unbelievable, but still organized.  

We started by the Smithsonian and walked towards the Washington Monument and then to the Tidal Basin to walk around to the Jefferson Memorial.  

In all of my previous trips to DC I'd never walked around the water or over to the Jefferson Memorial.   Once we got to the Memorial the view back to the Washington Monument was breathtaking, especially with all of the cherry blossoms and the perfect weather.

Pink shades from Connie's wedding back in September. 

Inside the Memorial the statue of Thomas Jefferson was much larger than I expected it to be.  The walls were inscribed with some of his most famous quotes.  

Our last stop on our walking tour was over to the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial.

The lady on the bike wasn't moving, so there she is in my picture.  He looks out over the water, towards the Jefferson Memorial, and I wish I had taken a picture of that direction.  It is a beautiful stop along the water and much larger than I expected it to be.  

We didn't have time, and our feet were killing us, to make it across to the Vietnam Memorial so I'll have to go by there next time I visit.  The Holocaust Museum is also on my list for the next trip along with all of the other museums.  I think Vietnam and the Holocaust in one weekend will be heavy, but totally necessary.  I wish I had visited DC when I was a kid, there is so much to see, but I'm also glad that as I'm seeing these monuments and memorials that I'm old enough to appreciate them.  

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