Race Weekend

So here is the skinny on all the events of my fun-filled and packed weekend…

Thursday, October 5th – We hop a flight down to Baltimore (not DC) for two reasons: 1) to save money, and 2) to spend the money I had already spent to go to Utah for Tyson farewell party that never happened. Note to anyone out there who may be planning a trip out to DC: fly into Reagan, unless it is a million dollars! I like Southwest and all, but getting from BWI to out hotel was quite a pain. We land in Baltimore, grab some grub, pick up our bags and board a bus for 30 minutes to the first metro stop on the DC Metro lines. We ride that damn train for what seems like forever, before we have to transfer to another train going in a different direction. Get off that train at the wrong stop, go back one stop, and then go to the wrong Marriott in Arlington, VA, which is about 7 blocks from our hotel. But are they nice enough to shuttle us from their hotel to ours? NO! Same hotel chain, different “brand” so they tell us to catch a cab. After waiting for five minutes for their doorman to pay attention to us, we decide to walk…after all, it is only 7 blocks or so, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. By the time we finally reach our hotel room, it is slightly after 3pm, and we are sort of tired, so the rest of the day was wasted. We did try to make it out to Arlington, but apparently they close at 5pm. Oops!

Friday, October 6th– It’s raining…pretty badly. Good thing we don’t have to walk to the Metro stop. The hotel offers shuttle service free of charge. Wish we’d have known that the day before. Since it is raining, we really don’t want to do the outdoorsy stuff we had planned, so we head into DC to go to the Holocaust Memorial Museum. As you can imagine, this place is not the most exciting in the world, at least not in the “Yay, Holocaust Museum” kind of way, but it was very harrowing to go there. We spent a good two hours there, probably could have been there for much longer, but there was just too much to look at, too many words to read, and too many people, especially the annoying kind that stand right in front of the damn placard you are trying to read. Highly recommended to go, unless you are of the sort to not acknowledge the Holocaust. In that case, you can just drop dead right now. Very informative place to be, and we didn’t even go through the entire thing. Would have like to look at the Darfur exhibit, but didn’t want to spend all day there. Best of all, it is free, though if you get there to late, they may be out of tickets for the main exhibit. After the Holocaust Museum, we braved the rain for a few blocks to walk to the American History Museum from the Smithsonian, only it was closed for renovations until 2008. Probably to add some bullshit exhibit about 9-11 or something. I just wanted to see some American artifacts, that’s all. Luckily, next door was the Natural Science Museum, which was cool, but not the whole thing. Saw the Hope Diamond, which wasn’t nearly as cool as I thought it would be, and looked at some skeletons of dinosaurs and old school mammals. Just like any other natural history museum, except that it is in DC and it was free as well. After that, it had stopped raining for a little while, so we walked down the street to the Washington Monument, but didn’t grab tickets so we couldn’t go to the top. Oh well. Down the hill and across the street was the WWII Memorial which is cool, but kind of blase as far as monuments go. It seemed to be more about the locations of the war instead of the people who fought in it. Still cool, but they could have done better. Walk be the Reflecting Pool, which was very nasty and dirty, and made our way to the Lincoln Memorial. Walked up about a million stairs to look at the same Lincoln Memorial that we’ve all seen elsewhere, but it was still cool, except for the idiots that thought that they could just talk as loud as they wanted to for no other reason except they were obnoxious. On one wall in the Memorial is the Gettysburg Address and the opposite wall has Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, which is good reading and reflects how great of a man and a president Abraham Lincoln really was. To bad he was a Republican, or he’d be among my favorites. After walking around for close to 6 hours, we returned to the hotel room to await plans with X’s friend his girlfriend. We just went out and got something to eat at this neat little book store/cafe dealie with live music. Cool idea but bad food. Too much seafood on the menu for my liking. We then went for coffee and just chilled and talked for a bit about life in general and other stuff. Returned to the room and went to bed around 1am or so.

Saturday, October 7th – Finally, a semi-decent day. It is rainy, but not actively, so we decide to brave the weather and go to the National Zoo to look at the Giant Pandas, which include a baby bear, a mama bear, and a papa bear. Papa is sleeping when we first arrive, though he did some vigorous ass scratching for about 3 minutes right before we moved on. Mama and Baby are eating with their backs to us when we first arrive, but Baby gets bored with that and decides to climb the tree to entertain everyone. I won’t bore y’all with details, but it was amazing to see this animal so close and not on TV. They were quite fancy if I do say so myself. After the pandas, we walked around the zoo…typical zoo sadness. Animals in cages always makes me feel bad on one hand, but I know that they are necessary to a certain extent. After being at the zoo for a few hours, we quickly got bored…after all, we are adults and not 4 years old. We hop back on the Metro and head to Arlington, which we manage to get to while they are open this time. Best time ever, but kind of along the lines of the Holocaust Museum; it’s cool, but not in a yay type of way. We paid some money to get on a bus tour because we were sick of walking around, and the bus only went to JFK’s grave and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but that was enough for a first visit. JFK’s grave was cool, though crowded. Walked around and tried to find some quick tombstones, but we had to get back on the bus to go to the Tomb of the Unknown. We were able to watch the guard do his thing for about 15 minutes before the Changing of the Guard took place, which was cool and hard to describe, other than it is something to not be missed. Awesome to watch, but sad at the same time. We return to the hotel and just veg out for the night, since I am running my race the next day.

Sunday, October 8th – I get up early for the race and we head out to the Pentagon. Mass hysteria, as to be expected with over 100,000 people in a small area. Not much to say about the race, other than I finished it and I didn’t die. I did it a hair under 2 hours, which is what I was shooting for. Next year, my goal will be 1:30, so if anyone out there would like to run it with me, mark your calendars for next year, October 7, 2007, Army Ten-Miler in Washington DC.

Overall, the trip was fun, but I wish we had had more time to do more things, but it was a good time nonetheless. I encourage everyone to go sometime and see DC, if only to see all these great things and so much more.

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