This was a trip that was almost cancelled due to the weather and more drama with the pills. In the end, Hurricane Florence stayed well south of DC. It turned out to be overcast, somewhat humid with a mild breeze and no rain. Race conditions were not bad after all and the walking tours were done in relative comfort. As for the pills, my chemistry shifted shortly after I left Birmingham and never thought to pack the supplement that I need for when that happens. I decided to downgrade from the half marathon to the 5 Miler and even that would likely be a struggle.
I took 3 days off work so I could spend my birthday with my parents. I saw my sister, grandmother, niece and nephew as well. I got 3 nice dinners and got to see the new Unbroken movie about Louis Zamperini. Overall, I made the best of it despite not feeling well at all. From home, it was a direct flight to Reagan National (DCA). This one went off as planned. Like NYC, you are strongly advised NOT to rent a car but here, there is no need for Uber or a taxi to your hotel. The Metro is actually connected to DCA so I bought a card at the airport station then hopped on the next train. It was a long ride to the expo at the Armory in the east side of town but I arrived in plenty of time.
After checking into my hotel (Holiday Inn) near the National Mall, I took a stroll through the Capitol Hill district from Independence to Pennsylvania Ave. There are plenty of nice trendy restaurants and bars in this area but nothing appealed to me so I went back to the hotel lounge. It was twilight by the time I got back to the Mall and I highly recommend a brief tour in the dark. It's a different feel to see the monuments illuminated. I got some nice shots of the Capitol and the Washington Monument and also caught the WW2 Memorial before settling in for bed.
It started just outside the Washington Monument then looped around Tidal Basin with views of the Jefferson Memorial. The midsection of the course was all along the water with a golf course to the right. It then turned back towards the Mall for a finish back at the Washington Monument. Iconic American route. In bad shape, I simply settled into a pace that I hoped to be sustainable for 5 miles. I had NO energy at the start and expected to be reduced to a walk/slow jog within 3 miles. Surprisingly, I held the pace in the 9:30-9:40 range then managed to pick it up at the end. My time was horrible by my standards at 47:31 but the back half was more than 30 seconds faster than the first half. I probably could have finished a half marathon but it was still a good call to downgrade. Otherwise, I would not have had the energy to do any more touring.
My first stop was Arlington Cemetery and the JFK grave. From there, I crossed back into DC for the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting pool.
I made brief stops at the Vietnam, Korea and FDR memorials before taking more time at the MLK site. One quote that I really liked was "Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that." It was around the lake to the Jefferson Memorial then back to the Mall and eventually the White House area. There was heavy security so I could not get too close but still got a pretty good picture out of it.
The last stop was the Trump International Hotel. I knew the prices would be outrageous and I paid $24 for a burger and $8 for a beer but yes, it was excellent! I went up to the tower for another good shot of the Capitol and skyline. No skyscrapers here. By law, no building within the city limits can be taller than the Washington monument. Still a nice view however. I was now in the business district just across the street from the Federal Triangle Metro so it was back to L'Enfant to pick up my bag at the hotel. I made a brief stop in Crystal City before arriving back at the airport. The flight back to Birmingham was delayed and I did not get back home until it was nearly 11 PM. Yes, I did show up for work the next day.
It's been about 15 years since I've been here. Although DC is not a state, IMO you cannot complete the Visit All 50 States goal without visiting our nation's Capitol. However, because it is not a state, I see no need to re-visit for a half marathon. The half marathon in 50 states is still on for now and yes, the Liver supp has made a difference already. Any race here is a bonus but I cannot rule out coming here again for another reason. It's quite convenient with the direct flight and Metro station at the airport. As for the strict/lenient rules, a walk across to Arlington meets the strict category for Virginia because it is a legitimate tourist attraction. All you have to do is walk through it. Maryland would require a bit more effort. You'd have to take the metro to the suburbs and at the very least eat a sit down meal if not spend a night.