This morning I left the house at 6:30 and headed to the Jefferson Memorial. I parked at the Tidal Basin just after sunrise. I set out with an iPhone, a goal of nine miles, and no time limit.
I reached my goal, and added an extra two miles just for the fun of it. It took me three hours, though! I stopped to take lots of photos, and even I took a leisurely stroll through Arlington Cemetery halfway through the run. I suppose in theory I am training for the Army 10-miler next month, but I’m using a pretty loose definition of “training”.
I might already be fit enough to run 10 slow miles in a race, but I’m too ADD to know for sure. Instead of focusing on pace and distance, I find myself focusing on sun beams, flowers, interesting people, and tourist landmarks. Oooh, look at that ray of light hitting that adorable bird on a statue! Must take a picture!
OK, so I’m not a hardcore runner by any definition. But I’m proud of the distance I covered today. And even better, my tourist jogging combines my three favorite hobbies: running, photography, and sightseeing. What’s better than that? I even get to listen to dancey pop music while doing it. Perfect.
I’ve been sick for the last week and a half, with a bad cold that has made my chest hurt. Bronchitis, perhaps? I haven’t exercised during that time, and I’ve actually enjoyed the excuse to be lazy and lie on the couch. Yesterday morning I felt much better, so I got up at 6am desperately seeking an excuse not to go out and run. Oh hooray! It was raining! I grabbed a book and some coffee, and read on the couch for a couple hours until Mike and Danny woke up.
This morning I woke up early, feeling good and hoping for rain. Unfortunately it was a beautiful day. I looked at my book and considered scrapping the run and reading on the couch again. I’m really enjoying this book. (It’s ironic that I didn’t want to run because I was too engrossed in the book Born to Run.) But I was healthy, it wasn’t raining, and the heat wave is over. I was out of excuses. Now I needed to work on getting my exercise motivation back.
For me, finding motivation to exercise comes in three steps:
What do you do when it’s 95 degrees, and your power has been out all weekend, and you are fun parents? You take your daughter wine tasting. My parents have had no power ever since Friday night’s huge storm, so they’ve been camping out in our air conditioning.
By Sunday afternoon we got restless, so we decided to brave the heat and go to some Virginia wineries. Mike and Danny stayed home to watch the Euro Cup final, and to nap, respectively. My parents and I headed out I-66 west to The Winery at La Grange, which was decorated with cheery American flags. We sat outside on the shady lawn, sipped some white, and ignored the temperatures. It was just what we all needed.
I got this message recently on Facebook.
Charlotte, I enjoyed your DC run. Can you write about protein bars? I am using shakes in the morning and a bar in the afternoon in between sensible food… Wondered about your thoughts. Your joy in fitness helps me.
I’d be happy to share my thoughts, but first I want to add a disclaimer that I am no expert in medicine or nutrition. I can definitely share what works for me, though.
Here’s my new buddy. I named him Mortimer. He and I sat together for about five minutes this morning at a dock at Lake Newport. Does’t he look like a cartoon character? I couldn’t believe that he let me hold my iPhone a few inches from his face to get this picture.
Sitting there in the morning sunshine with my buddy Mort was blissful, but the rest of my run was tougher. I set out at 7am for my weekend long run, and it was already a hot steam oven. The highs here in the DC area have been around 100 lately, and today’s humidity is especially intense.
We had a brutal storm Friday night, with winds up to 79mph here in Reston. Mike and I are so lucky to have power, because it seems that almost everyone else in the mid-Atlantic is out. My parents are staying with us in our A/C until their power is restored.
Today’s run gave me a chance to see some of the storm damage. If you enjoy looking at blurry iPhone pictures of broken trees, this is your lucky day!
My alarm chirped at 5am this morning, and I was out the door before sunrise. I decided that I was going to treat myself to a Saturday morning of tourist jogging. I spent two and a half hours running around DC, taking pictures of all the cool stuff that I encountered. 10 miles and 177 photos later, I came home to my boys with lots of stories to tell.
Today was my first double-digit running day! I stopped to take so many pictures that my pace was a comical 16 min per mile, but who cares. I did in fact run the whole distance; I just stopped a lot to enjoy all the interesting things along the way. I loved every minute. I think my running style is more like moving quickly between photo opps than actual running. I only wish I could run with my real camera instead of my iPhone. But even a camera phone can make me a happy photo runner.
This picture from the White House is my favorite of the day, but I saw lots of things that made me smile today. How did it take me 37 years to figure out that getting up early and doing cool stuff is more fun than sleeping in?
We had the most perfect weather all weekend, with temperatures hovering around 75 and low humidity. On Saturday I spent almost the entire day outdoors, which is how it should be on a day like that. I woke up early and began my perfect day with my longest run of all time. I did nine miles along beautiful trails, and had so much fun that I just didn’t want to stop.
I love this picture! Not only is it a great moment – the three of us at the finish line of our first race as a family – it is also hilarious, thanks to Danny.
Last week I mentioned to Mike that I was considering running the Twilight Festival four-mile race in Ashburn on Saturday night. I asked if he’d be willing to come along and bring Danny to cheer for me. I was shocked when he suggested that he run it, too! Mike isn’t a runner, and has never done a race before. He just thought it might be fun. (It is!) He plays soccer regularly, so he’s in good shape, but he had no idea whether he could run four miles.
We decided to go for it. On Saturday night, we packed the Bob running stroller into the car and headed to Ashburn. Then the three of us ran the race as a family. I was so excited that we would all do it together.
I ran six miles with Danny in the stroller today! That was a huge accomplishment for me. Actually six miles of running is a big accomplishment even when I don’t have the stroller, so this is massive. The best part was that I genuinely enjoyed running with the stroller, even though I always assumed I’d hate it. I felt like some kind of Supermom Megawoman when I was done. Evidently Danny wasn’t impressed. I bored him right to sleep.
For the record, I did walk about half a mile of hills, and we stopped halfway through for a playground break. But still it counts! Go me!
On Sunday I photographed the Reston Sprint Triathlon for Reston Patch. I got up at 5:30am and walked over to Lake Newport pool, stopping first to enjoy the sunrise over the lake. When I got to the race site at 6:30, it was already packed with excited people who were getting their race numbers written on their bodies.
It was inspiring to be surrounded by so many healthy, fit, and motivated people. The participants ranged in age from 13 to 80!
This photo assignment came at a great time in my life, with my newfound love of running and racing. Every time kids tackled their parents at the finish line, I choked up like a fool. It was so much fun to witness. I found myself forgetting any journalistic objectivity and cheering for everyone as they ran past. If only I could swim and owned a racing bike, I would consider entering the race next year. For now, I’ll stick with running and photographing.
My technical strategy for these photos was fast shutter speed and AI servo focus. You can see the photo gallery on Reston Patch here, or click through to see them here:
Hi, I’m Charlotte! I’m a photographer in Reston, Virginia. I love hiking, running, and exploring the world with my husband and young son.