My dad started running in medical school and growing up I remember him running everyday; now he runs or bikes daily. I grew up in rural Wisconsin and there were no nearby road races, my dad ran to run. He did run a marathon in the early 80’s and I know this because we had a mug from it in our cupboard, but racing was never the focus for him. My dad and I bond over running while my mom looks on like we are crazy. Running is so easy to get into and here in DC maybe even easier than other places. It is not even weird to say you ran 5 miles on a random Tuesday.
In high school I ran as a way to get in shape for basketball then dropped basketball so I could do both cross country and track. The track and cross county bus rides were so much more fun than bus rides with other teams. We all rode to meets together and we even got to hang out with the ladies team too in a non-awkward, high school dance way.
I started running with the Clarendon group in February 2013. At first I was there every few weeks, then I was there every Tuesday and Thursday night. I just keep coming, became a co-leader, and have been running with the group and drinking beer afterwards ever since.
There are so many running routes around here making it easy to get out for a run. I have a soft spot for the Arlington Loop as a long run route, it is so easy to reach from my front door, and it’s perfect- in general I love loops. The C&O Towpath, above the Chain Bridge, is a good place to go to get away from the traffic and just kind of loose yourself for a couple of hours. A couple of winters ago, when we were pounded by snow, I ran in the middle of the Key Bridge and ran into Steve (Laico) who was meeting up with Chris. We met-up under the Whitehurst and ran in front of the Kennedy Center.
On Tuesday and Thursday nights we run on the hills of the Custis Trail. I tell the group,“Hills are just fitness opportunities and a few weeks in you don’t even notice them anymore”. Before MCM we do a run to Iwo Jima, since we are so close to it and often runners from the group run Marine Corps.
What I really appreciate about the run group is the social stuff. Running is a fun way to meet people in the DC area that doesn’t revolve around what you do. While running, you meet all sorts of people and talk about all sorts of random topics. You can always learn something from other runners and the fun runs are a great format to make those connections. There is something to learn from fast runners, people who run 5ks every weekend, and people who run a marathon every month. Running with the Clarendon group I have been able to met runners from all over the world.
If you want to run hard, run hard, if you want to walk, walk, or even run one mile and meet us back at the store. We try not to take ourselves too seriously. Everyone is up for a post race burger or pizza and that’s super chill. It is nice to bring everyone together at the end of a run.
Now I am going to sound like a commercial for Pacers Events but my favorite race in the area is the Clarendon Day Double, it is kind of ridiculous. The 5k is it fast and fun then you head up the hill to do it all over again. The 10k it is supposed to be downhill but there is a slight grade on Route 110, I can feel it. Plus I find myself wondering why is it always 95 degree and there is no shade. The GW Parkway Classic is my number 2 race. The opportunity to run on the closed Parkway is novel. The downside if you know there is a hill near the end of the race and you can see the finish banner for the last mile and it just not seem to get closer fast enough.
Running the Parkway, the race opens up right away, you are not waiting to be able to stretch out. If you want to run a fast 10 miler the Parkway is a better option than Cherry Blosson or Army. Plus there is beer at the end and drink tickets right on your bib so you can begin refueling right away.
As much as I enjoy the social aspect of running, I can’t seem do a race and not feel a bit of lactic acid at some point. The race pictures look fantastic but the subject; he (almost) always seems to get caught on the down step!