Although the Marine Corps Marathon was the main event, we intentionally planned our travel so we could enjoy Washington DC as well as running the marathon. We arrived on Friday, late afternoon. My son and his wife were coming in late so Jenny and I had some time to check out the area around our hotel. We flew in to Reagan National Airport and took the Metro to our hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown DC. I was hoping to be completely healthy after my taper for the Marine Corps Marathon, but a hip injury a few weeks before was still nagging me. This not only affected my marathon, it slowed us down for the rest of the weekend too.
Our hotel was only about 4 blocks from the White House so we decided to walk that direction after we got settled in our room. We crossed Lafayette Park north of the White House. The street between Lafayette Park and the White House has been closed for several years, so we were able to walk right up to the White House fence.
It was a cool night compared to San Diego, but we were fine in light to medium jackets. There were several protester on the Lafayette Park side of the street, but there were surprisingly few people in the area. We decided to walk around the White House to see the South Lawn and the view to the Mall and the Washington Monument. As we headed south on 17th street a Presidential Motorcade passed us and headed in to the South Entrance to the White House. This was the first one I had seen in Washington DC, but I saw several over a 2 week period while stationed in Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station in Oahu. When President Clinton visited Hawaii in November of 1994, he stayed in a cottage on base… a very nice cottage near Pyramid Rock beach!
I had forgotten how much larger the South Lawn is. It also has a ton of trees so you really have only a limited view of the south side of the White House.
After we circled the White House we headed North to find a place to eat. We decided to try the Mio Restaurant on Vermont Ave, north of our hotel. It is a Puerto Rican Restaurant with a terrific atmosphere and good food. After dinner I was a bit disoriented. Jenny pointed in one direction (toward 14th Street), I thought we should go south along Vermont. We went the way I thought we needed to; unfortunately she was right! It meant a couple of extra blocks of walking, but we managed to find the hotel!
My Chris and Kim came in even later than I thought they would. It was a very long day for them. We decided to close the blackout curtains and not set an alarm. We got up about 7am… Pacific Time, or about 10am Washington DC time. Although we wanted to put in a full day we got a late start. After breakfast we headed to the Marine Corps Marathon Expo. Although it was extremely organized, the extra security slowed things down. By the time we finished getting set up for the Marathon it was after 3pm. The plan was to get to bed early and all the Italian Restaurants in the area were going to be very busy, so we made a quick dash through the Natural History Museum to check out the Jewels! This is a favorite of Kim’s and was very impressive.
We took a swing through the Dinosaurs, and then it was time to catch a taxi to the restaurant, Torino. We wanted pasta for the night before the marathon, and this place fit the bill. The food was terrific. Although it was very early for a Saturday, the place was packed by the time we finished. Most of the people were talking about the marathon and/or still had the bag from the Expo. The waitress told us that they were booked until about 8pm, then nothing. Lot’s of people who needed to get up early.
Sunday we ran the Marine Corps Marathon, but that is a different post: Marine Corps Marathon 2013 (Washington DC – 27 Oct 2013). We got back to the hotel in the early afternoon – very tired and moving very slowly! I didn’t even try to fight the urge to lay down in the bed. I was done. Jenny went down to the 5 Guys Burgers around the corner. After I ate is was time for a 2-3 hour nap. Then we watched a couple hours of TV, ordered pizza, and I went back to sleep for the night. I only got out of bed to shower!
Our flight on Monday was not until 5pm. Although this got us in late, I wanted to have a chance to do some more sight-seeing. At least that was the plan when we set this up. Although I wanted to go to a museum or two, my legs were still very sore, so committing to this seemed like a bad idea. After breakfast Chris and Kim headed to the Newseum, and we took the Metro to the Mall for an easy walk. We had a late checkout for 2pm, so we had time to cover some distance if my legs held up. If not, we planned to hail a taxi and head back to the hotel.
We started at the Smithsonian Museum Metro stop, and headed toward the Washington Monument. The Washington monument was still undergoing repairs for the damage caused by the August 2011 magnitude 5.8 earthquake. It has scaffolding completely surrounding it. They light the scaffolding up at night which is interesting. There were several marathoners walking the Mall, so I tried to suck it up and walk as normally as I could!
Jenny had never seen this Memorial so we spent quite a bit of time checking it out. It was her favorite new monument/memorial. She liked the water fountain in the center of the memorial…
and the views to the Lincoln Memorial…
and back toward the Washington Monument.
By the time we got to the end of the reflecting pool, the stairs on the Lincoln Memorial looked very unwelcoming. I love the Lincoln Memorial and rarely miss a chance to go in for a moment of silent reflection on the sacrifices of this President and of the men who fought to keep this country together. But on this day we had different plans and two more new memorials to see.
Next up was the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. This memorial covers a lot of ground, but so did his Presidency. As you walk into the memorial the focus is on the Depression Years.
and the great efforts to raise the spirits of the citizens by putting them back to work on projects like the Tennessee River Valley Authority.
The roar from this waterfall was bigger than its size. It sounded more like a waterfall in Yosemite than a man made fountain.
The last part of the FDR Memorial covers the World War II years. Near the end of this we took a break sitting on rocks engraved with “I Hate War” inscriptions.
I was stiff and sore, but we were running out of time and had one more memorial to check out.
The visit to the Martin Luther King Memorial was way too fast. There is much more to this memorial than we had time to take in. It was approaching 1:30 and we still wanted to take showers before checking out of the hotel. We got back out to Independence Avenue and started to head east. After about a quarter-mile we were able to hail a taxi. We checked out of the hotel, rode the Metro back to the airport, and I was able to give my legs a long rest! We’ll definitely be visiting Washington DC again, we did not even scratch the surface! Next time I hope I can take a nice relaxing 6-8 mile run on the Mall instead of the 26.2 I squeezed in this time.
All my Marine Corp Marathon Posts are listed on my Marine Corps Marathon 2013 Posts (Including training half marathons)page.