A few years ago, M got the hare-brained idea to run a marathon and insisted I do it with her. We chose the California International Marathon as our first event and despite apparently telling people that I was never going to do that again, we signed up again the following year for the Dallas Marathon. By now, we are absolute pros at our drink-wine-and-don’t-train-marathon-training-program and took it to the streets of DC for the Marine Corps Marathon, which due to it’s popularity is as difficult to get into as it is to run it.
The race itself was absolutely outstanding, though it did have some lonely moments. There’s an absolutely surreal bit of it that goes on the freeway overpass to Virginia: it’s very exposed, sun baked, and eerie, as if you’re in a zombie apocalypse movie all of the sudden. The experience overall was phenomenal and awe inspiring. It was hard not to cry at the starting line as jets flew over, dropping marines with American Flags and parachutes into the crowd as the anthem played. It was encouraging to run along side Wounded Warriors as they pushed themselves on hand bikes with no gears up the hills of the 26.2 mile course. It was invigorating to hear words of encouragement from Marines stationed every 200 yards in the last few miles. “Keep your head up! Run with purpose! Never give up!” they called. It was thrilling to know that you were in the last tenth of a mile when the row of marines waiting to high five you for your efforts at the finish line showed up and then, as you cross the line, another row of Marines, waiting to shake your hand, hang your medal on your head and thank you for supporting them.
You think the laundry list of things to see in New York City is overwhelming? DC is worse. I wish we’d had two weeks there to really take in all the sights and museums available to you. Here’s what we did, but this is by no means the extensive list.
STAY: Fred and Kadija’s Cozy Rowhouse on Airbnb is absolutely perfect for exploring DC from. It’s extremely close to the NOMA metro stop and made it so insanely easy to get out on foot every day and check stuff out. The house is adequately stocked with almost everything you would need, was clean, comfortable and perfect for a group. You won’t need a car if you stay here!
- Indigo is just around the corner from the Rowhouse. Order menu items a la carte to share or scarf down by yourself. It’s BYOB, casual and amazing. Apparently, it’s the only authentic home-style Punjabi (North Indian) food that you’ll find in DC.
- Our meal at Tash was one of the most memorable of our trip. The grilled flatbread rivaled my own and was perfectly accompanied by heaping mounds of Baba Ganoush. M’s meal, the Gheymeh Lamb Shank, was rich and cooked with precision.
- Thank god for Teds Bulletin. I spend four and a half hours of every marathon thinking about nothing but breakfast. After a serious people-moving snafu occurred after the marathon (apparently moving 100,000 people via public transportation is not that easy), we were a bit concerned that it was so late we wouldn’t be able to find breakfast. Teds Bulletin came to the rescue and not only did I have the most perfect post marathon breakfast of all time but our amazing waiter treated us to free homemade pop tart treats after we told him what we had just accomplished.
- Little Miss Whiskey’s is awash with concert posters and a dark, but chill vibe. The bartenders were great conversationalists and chatted with us for quite some time about our adventures. The beer selection is varied and filled with local gems and the whiskey knowledge and selection is what you would expect given the name.
- Beirgarten Haus serves authentic German beer and food in a eerily accurate setting. It took me back to Oktoberfest. The draft selection of German brews is extensive and the pretzel bread is not to be missed.
- The Hawk n’ Dove is practically a historical monument in DC. It was recently rennovated out of it’s “dive bar” status and while the locals may notice and dislike the changes, we were so comfortable here that we returned more than once to imbibe at the deep dark comfortable bar.
- The National Museum of Natural History is free to the public and so massive you could spend all day here. Don’t miss out on the Hope Diamond, which is quite a sight to behold.
- The United States Botanic Garden is the oldest botanical garden in the US.
- The United States Air and Space Museum is so massive you need at least a half day to see all the exhibits.
- The United States Memorial Holocaust Museum is a bit overwhelming and intense, but essential to visit. Reserve your tickets online ahead of time to ensure access to the exhibits.