Every year, mostly on the Memorial Day Weekend, I take a mini-vacation to Washington DC to watch the European Champions League Final on TV. If the schedule plays right, the day of the CL final should also coincide with a DC United home match at RFK Stadium. I call it “taking a weekend for soccer.”
Since I am waaay behind in my MCM training, I made plans to hit the gym for my Saturday workout, as well as a &.5-9.0 mile run on Sunday. I managed to get my workouts in and get my “soccer weekend”…sort of.
I did my Friday morning run (Pax River Test Pilots School Plus, 5 miler), then spent the rest of the morning planning the trip to DC. I forgot to make reservations, but I was still able to find a room at the Embassy Suites Georgetown at a good price, to include my AAA discount. I was supposed to do Friday night planning for my Saturday gym session and my Sunday run. An internet sweep of DC gyms put out two choices: Results Gym (which was halfway across town) and another gym.
Saturday: Game Day:
I got up at 4:30 in the morning to go run, but I still had not picked out a gym. About 6:45 I had abandoned the search and decided to just get breakfast and get ready for the day. About 12:30 p.m. I decided to head towards Georgetown in search of a decent sports-bar type or regular bar that was hosting the viewing of the CL Final; I wanted to watch the game with a bunch of soccer fans who were partisan to either Futbol Club Barcelona or Juventus.
Five minutes into the walk to Georgetown I found a sign advertising Balance Gym. The gym was in a hotel that was not far from the hotel I was staying at. Balance Gym (http://www.balancegym.com) was a pleasant surprise. I was able to purchase a day pass to a facility that had benches, free weights and machines, and it even had a laps swimming pool with a whirlpool! There was also a spinning class and a Cross-fit class going on as well, but I decided to knock out my half hour circuit course class and be done with it. Albeit a lot later than I should have, my Saturday gym session was complete.
After going back to the hotel to clean up, I resumed my trek into Georgetown to look for a good Final watching venue. On the way, I ran into a young woman wearing a black Barcelona jersey. I asked her if she was going to watch the game, and she recommended me to two places in DuPont Circle: Lucky’s Bar and Public Bar. It was twenty minutes to two when she gave me her advice. I checked the Google Maps app on my cellphone and the directions told me it was going to be about a twenty minute hike from Georgetown to Dupont, so it was time for me to boogie.
I made it to Public with about twenty-five minutes to kickoff. However, the bar had no seats left; I would be standing for the duration, which also meant to chance to sample its board of fare. I was barely able to get two bottles of beer because the place had become packed, and everyone was jockeying for the bartender’s attention. Public did have most of the TVs in the place set to the game, including the massive 100 footer in the main bar’s back wall.
I didn’t get a chance to sit down and eat, but I did get to enjoy the game with a crowd that was about 60-40 split between Barcelona and Juventus fans. The day before, I had considered wearing a replica Juventus jersey to the game. I purchased the jersey during a port of call in Bali when I was in the Marines. I made the buy in 1994, when I had a more fit and slender body; twenty years later it did not look so good. I had to settle for my DC United replica jersey, since I planned to go to the match anyway.
I got to see the Champions League Final Barcelona won 3-1, but I never made it to RFK for the DCU match. An afternoon hiking from Georgetown to DuPont Circle, two hours standing and drinking two beers, a really good pizza from Vapiano’s (http://www.vapianowashington.com), and I was tuckered out. I came back to the hotel at 6:15, watched American Pharaoh win the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown… then passed out while watching the Stanley Cup Final between my beloved Chicago Black hawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Sunday: The Capital Crescent:
About 6:00 am Sunday morning, I drove to the Washington Harbour building. I was finishing my 4 ounce hotel coffee before the run. I parked near one of the parking meters, and panicked when I realized I left my wallet at home. However, I quickly realized that the District doesn’t enforce parking meters on Sunday, so was okay.
I started my run at the Bike trail sign just past the harbor building. I didn’t stretch, I just did it (thank you Nike). The bike trail ended, so I just kept following the road past Jack’s Boats and Potomac Boat Club until I found the main trail. There was construction going on in the area, but the trail was open.
I decided to follow the trail until I hit the 4.5 mile mark on my pedometer, accounting for the half mile I took from the bike trail. I hit the 9.0 mile marker sign and realized I was on track. I was a few deer as I ran, some of them with tags from the area wildlife research group. I decided to avoid eye contact with the deer and try to leave them be.
At the 8.0 mile marker, the trail began to climb. I hit Fletcher’s Boathouse, which had a restroom stop. The course was well maintained, and was readily marked and had amenities for runners, bikers, and hikers. The main trail was all asphalt, and there were several dirt trails that ran parallel to and adjacent from the main trail. I decided to stick to the asphalt since I didn’t want to be running all over the DC Triangle. The trail ran through a substantial forest cover, and it was close to the Potomac River. I was glad to have put on my Skin So Soft insect repellent, but was worried that my lack of headgear would give me mosquito bites to go along with my dry scalp. The insect repellent must have been really effective, since I finished the run bite-free.
I made my turnaround at the Dalecarlia Tunnel where my pedometer said 4.51 miles. I didn’t check my split times, but I figured that I would be going faster on the downhill leg of my run. On the return leg, I found that the trail traffic had picked up. The number of cyclists, runners (solo, pairs, and groups), and Sunday hikers had increased around 7:30-7:45. I didn’t really feel that downhill rush until I stared pushing myself near the end. As I passed the 9.0 mile marker, and the subsequent construction signs, I started pushing for that good fast finish. When I hit the Aqueduct Arch, I checked my pedometer one more time: 8.6 miles. I said, “Hell with it, let’s just run all the way back to the car.” I finished the run at 2’08″40, running 9.2 miles.
The Capital Crescent Trail was good to me today; I started out from the Georgetown end with a good sloping ascent, then finished with a nice downhill. This is something of a reversal of many of the courses that I have run (downhill start, uphill finish). AS I ran today, I got my mind cleared up about things I needed to get done this week. During the run, I decided that next month I would replace my regular circuit courses with Cross-fit and give that a shot. I am much heavier and behind the power curve for running, so maybe I need to shake things up a bit.
I’m writing this at 11:30 at night, so no video tonight. Sorry, maybe next time.