It’s a beautiful day in our nation’s capital. With eleven days remaining until Christmas and two until Hanukkah, lights and decorations abound throughout the city. I spent a good chunk of my morning running outside, taking in the holiday spirit.
Today marks my longest run since the JFK 50 Mile Run three weeks ago, at 9.4 miles. The first part of my run was more a means of transportation than anything else, as I had planned to meet some women from a virtual running group to which I belong for a virtual Festivus 5K run. A lot of virtual, I know, but in this foreign service lifestyle, many things happen virtually: visits with family, job interviews, and even running. The running group includes people posted all over the world. We share our stories and photos and encourage each other from afar. I had never actually met anyone in the group, until today.
One of the group members had arranged for us to participate virtually in the Festivus 5K run, meaning that we can register for the race and run the 5K wherever we are. The actual race, held this morning in Salem, Massachusetts, benefits those affected by autism, and, being a loyal fan of Seinfeld, which introduced the world to the hilarious fictional holiday of Festivus in a 1997 episode, I thought, why not?
I volunteered to organize a route for anyone in the Washington, D.C. area participating in the virtual race who wanted to run it as a group. We ended up being a small group of three, and had a nice time as we ran our Festivus 5K on the National Mall this morning.
Waking up to a sunny sky inspired me to get a few more miles in, so I ran the 6.3 miles from our apartment to the National Mall to meet my running partners, and then we ran the 5K together. I’d brought my camera along to take our “official” race photo, and took a few more photos of the pretty views I encountered along the way.
I began on the Custis Trail and ran east, toward Washington, D.C. About three miles in, I jumped on the Mount Vernon Trail, one of my favorites, which offers peaceful running on Sunday mornings with stunning views, like this one:
The sun began peeking through the clouds as I started to cross the Memorial Bridge. I stopped and turned around for a view of the Arlington House (the Robert E. Lee Memorial) on the top of the hill at Arlington Cemetery.
Once across the bridge, I caught a large flock of geese searching for food on the back side of the Lincoln Memorial.
Then I turned around and snapped a couple of photos of the Virginia side of the Potomac River.
The bronze Arts of War, Valor, and Sacrifice statues like this one mark the entrances to the Memorial Bridge and the Rock Creek Parkway. They were a gift to the United States from Italy.
I ran around the Lincoln Memorial to make my way up the National Mall to meet my running partners.
I eventually made my way to the Smithsonian Castle, where I met my two running partners. We ran our 5K along the Mall, with a short detour to the National Christmas Tree to take a photo.
Indeed, it was a beautiful day for a run, my 18th day in a row of running and part of a holiday running streak in which I am participating, also virtually, with the running group. The streak involves running every day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day in an attempt to stay fit, ward off holiday weight gain, and rationalize those extra cookies.
Thank you for reading, and happy Festivus!