On January 10 we left sunny and warm California for a work trip to Washington, DC. The first few days were bitterly cold, at least by mid Atlantic--and definitely southern California--standards. It was windy. Oh yeah, that drill: tights, hat, gloves, jacket... Boo. Yuck. Even after spending 30+ winters in Vermont, I'd forgotten how much laundry results from one rather average winter run.
But enough whining. We did some neat things with some cool people:
- While checking into the hotel, Chris ran across a '97-'98 C4P (then Mugu 50-50) runner, Kathy, who also happens to be a Chi Running instructor. The three of us went for a late afternoon run on the Mt. Vernon Trail and Roosevelt Island (wearing above-mentioned ensemble). Knowing nothing about Chi Running, Chris and I got to observe this intriguing method up close and personal. Another day we ran a section of the C&O Canal Towpath. (I would be running the same trail a little later in the week.)
- I visited the Smithsonian Museum of American History for the first time in about 15 years. My favorite exhibits this time were Julia Child's Kitchen, especially the video of her preparing a beef tongue (um, yum?), and the lunch box display, only because they actually had my 2nd and 3rd grade Campus Queen one, above. Alas, no such luck with my sis's Bobby Sherman model. (I mean, really! Bobby Sherman doesn't rate?) Afterward, after having tried a couple of times in the past, only to be discouraged by long waiting lines, I finally got to go up the Washington Monument (the tall one--there are actually two). This time it was so cold and windy that there was NO line. Yippee-ki-yay! But the major accomplishment of the day was flying solo on the Metro--I'd never done it before, and [SEGUE: Yes, this IS the same woman who would feel perfectly at ease venturing into the wilderness solo for weeks on end] was quite intimidated by the whole process. But I did it! That small victory thing... (And may I add that the Rosslyn Metro Station has THE longest, steepest escalator I've ever ridden.)
- Midweek I ventured up to Lancaster County, PA, and spent two days with my sis and her family, especially enjoying (and at the same time oh-so-freaking-thankful that I myself never produced one of the little rug rats) my 3-year-old great nephew, and enduring quizzical stares by the buggy-riding Amish as I ran their quiet country roads. We went to Chilis for dinner one night, and I have just one question: How can food that looks yummy taste like... nothing? Seriously, there was NO TASTE. Except for Dunkin Donuts and Cracker Barrel (yes, I suppose that makes me a redneck) I tend to avoid chains. The most recent experience at Chilis further reinforced my resolutions to (a) avoid chain restaurants, and (b) never eat Mexican east of the Rockies. It's usually very disappointing.
- On Saturday, thanks to my sweet husband's willingness to crew, I finally accomplished something I'd first heard about many years ago on my Appalachian Trail thru-hike: the Quad State Quad Buster, 44 miles on the AT from the Pennsylvania border, through Maryland, the 3 or so miles in West Virginia to the Virginia border. The weather had moderated somewhat, with midday highs in the lower 50s. (Being a California wimp now, I still donned tights and gloves.) There was still some snow on the ground here and there, but more annoying were frost heaves, whereby one or both feet would break through the dirt crust and sink ankle deep. I referred to them as land mines. Where there weren't land mines there were rocks. But it was a fun day, "fun" in the ultrarunners' sense of the word; I just couldn't progress as quickly as I would've liked. I looked forward to, and thoroughly enjoyed, the almost 3 smooth miles of C&O Canal Towpath into Harpers Ferry--hey now, THIS is running!--while trying to figure out how many times I've run the Boonsboro-to-Weverton JFK50 section (sadly, more than a dozen). Chris got in over 20 miles himself. Oh, and that other Washington Monument--the first one? Yes, I did take the little detour to climb it.
- We finished up our trip back East by spending a couple of days with some very good friends who shall remain nameless as they would be mortified to see their names in a blog. Suffice it to say, we had a wonderful time, ate some great food, drank an interesting variety of wines, including these folks' 'Chili Dawg' (which must be consumed with canned Cheese Whiz!), and went on a really nice trail half marathon on MLK Day.
- And then it was back to RAINY, COLD California!! What the...?