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DC Challenge - With a Little Help From My Sparkies

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Okay, here we go. I thought about all the things I wanted to say today in a blog, and then it all went out the window when I realized I hadn't put my DC plans into action yet and I'm running out of time.

So, here's the deal. I leave Sunday, around 11am for Washington D.C. for work training. I'll be there for a whole week. I'll be in class from 8:30a-4:30pm every day, but I have my evenings to myself. While I did check and discovered the hotel has a gym and a small indoor pool, I want to get out at least a few nights and catch the winter/fall air while taking in some sights. I've never seen DC at night, and I hear it's beautiful. I'll admit, I'm a bit worried, as Hubs keeps remarking to me that the crime rate is terrible there and I'm likely to get mugged and die while out on a run, but I have to keep telling myself two things that generally work for me 1) just be safe, people do it all the time and you don't hear about 10 people a night dying while on a run or walk in DC and 2) you're just not that special.

Okay, let me take a second to explain that last one, because I've gotten crap for it before. You see, when I was a kid I used to be afraid all the time. If I was told there was a 1 in a million chance I would get hit by a bus, I'd be terrified that I'd end up being that one. Well, I don't know if someone said it to me, or I just came up with it myself, but one day I decided I couldn't live my entire life in fear. So I started telling myself, "You're not that special." In other words, what are the real odds that I'm going to be that one in a million? (I know, I know, the odds are 1 in a million! *lol*) But, what are the odds? Is it more likely that I'll get hit by a bus today walking outside, or is it more likely that I'll be fine. So anytime I get scared to do things (go to NYC alone with a friend, go on a plane, etc.) I tell myself, "You're just not that special." Now what happens if I happen to GET that special and something does happen? Well, what can I do about it now? I'm not going to not live just so I don't die. That's just stupid. So I take as many precautions as I can, I am safe as possible and then I just do it. For this trip I bought a small wallet I can slip in my pocket. If I still don't feel safe, I'll tuck the hotel key and some cash and my cellphone in my bra and off I'll go...it wouldn't be the first time I went for a walk/run with stuff in my bra! (In fact, I do it all the time.) I'll walk with my head up. If I notice someone, I'll make sure they know I see them, but then look away as to not be threatening. And if I get nervous, I'll hum, or sing, or whistle. It's much better to be thought of as crazy than to be thought of as the perfect, silent victim. I'll walk tall and proud, head up, taking care to know what my surroundings are, and whatever happens, happens.

Okay, so onto the challenge. I kept thinking to myself, other than the general monuments and museums, I don't know much about what's in DC. I certainly don't really know my way around (though I've been Googling with street view for weeks, virtually walking around the city so I'll feel more comfortable once I'm there). And wouldn't it be more fun if I didn't feel so alone?! (Being alone also scares me...less and less lately, but I'm not a hugemongous fan).

So here's where you come in. In the comments below, I want you to leave me 3 things:
1) A direction. Left, right, straight.
2) A number of blocks or miles (in tenths...I'm not walking a marathon here!).
3) A song.

And, let me say, number 3 is super important because Esther's playlist is boring the crap out of her. Help me breathe new life into it, and attach your name to my playlist, so I can use you as inspiration to continue.

The idea is for me to walk out of my hotel, and follow the directions I'm given in order to get somewhere...take a Spark tour of the city, without any of you even realizing where you're leading me. Of course safety will have to come into play. I may have to divert directions if I reach a dead end or a freeway ramp or something, but it might be a little fun to try. (And thankfully, my phone has Google maps and GPS to get me back to the hotel safely.)

One final thing...if you know the DC area, feel free to suggest to me:
* good restaurants
* good walking/running paths
* good parks
* cool free stuff to do

So, Sparkies...what do you say? Do you want to take me on a tour of our nation's starred city? I promise to take pictures and report back where all I went...as best I can.

Here's your template:
Direction: (Left, Right, Straight)
Distance: (in Blocks or tenths of a Mile)
Song: (please give artist name too so it's easier to find on iTunes!)

Here's hoping this works!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Direction: Straight
    Distance: The Reflecting Pool (rnning towards Lincoln Memorial)
    Song: Firework- Katy Perry

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE DC... If I didn't live in Chicago I would totally look into moving there. It's beautiful! I went this spring with the hubs and we went on a little jog one morning. It was really early but I have never felt so exhilarated as when we jogged toward Lincoln from the Washington Memorial along the reflecting pool. It's a long stretch but I felt strong and powerful! Go for it! You're awesome!
    3809 days ago
  • SUGIRL06
    There is a book shop/bar/restaurant near Dupont Circle that was interesting (and yummy food) that I went to with a friend when I was in DC. And suggestion for dining while in DC, find a whole foods and hit their buffet for quick easy, healthy meals! I don't know where your hotel is but there is a Whole Foods on P street between 14th and 15th. I was so excited when I discovered it was around the block (literally) from my hotel! Anyway, have fun in DC!!!
    PS. My favorite running song is Air Force Ones by Nelly. Just a very upbeat song!
    3809 days ago
    Direction: Left
    Distance: .75 of a mile
    Song: Walkin' After Midnight by Patsy Cline

    I hear you can get Bolivian food in DC. Would love to see a picture of a Bolivian restaurant. Suggest you have the spicy pork if you get a chance. Empanadas are great too, but often fried. The only time I've been to DC was one afternoon and it was barely enough time to walk the Mall and see some of the Smithsonian. Highly recommend the Air and Space and American History museums. Nothing quite like seeing Old Glory close and personal.
    3810 days ago
    1. right
    2. .8 of a mile
    3. Foo Fighters: Gimme Stitches (Jan)
    GO GO GO! You are that special. Hope the criminals cant see it! lol, you will be fine!
    3810 days ago
    * Straight
    * 3 blocks
    * Telephone (Lady Gaga)
    3810 days ago
    So here's where you come in. In the comments below, I want you to leave me 3 things:
    1) A direction. Left
    2) A number of blocks or miles (in tenths...I'm not walking a marathon here!). 0.5 miles
    3) A song. Me and Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin

    Good luck, you can do it! We visited DC in 2008, very nice place. There are walking and jogging tours in DC: http://washington.org/visiting/brow

    I saw a lot of people running around the National Mall, it's pretty at night too!
    3810 days ago
    4 blocks
    Don't Talk Just Kiss by Right Said Fred

    The safety of this plan is in direct relation to the location of your hotel. If you're down by the Convention Center, head towards the Verizon Center and Chinatown - there'll be lots of people. If you're down in the business district, head towards Dupont Circle or K Street or GWU or Georgetown.

    Bring layers - the weather has been freakish lately. (Yesterday there was frost, today I went out without socks or a coat....)
    3810 days ago
  • SWEETS86
    2 blocks
    Disturbia -Rhianna

    Have Fun!!
    3810 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3035359
    Oh, you have to tell me how this goes!

    Direction: Right
    Distance: Just one block (so you can fit in another)
    Song: Raise Your Glass - Pink

    Be safe and have fun!

    3810 days ago
  • KARVY09
    4 blocks
    Let Me See - Morcheeba

    Make sure you get to Dupont Circle, a beautiful place at night with lots of cute little coffee shops. The area around the mall is safe and you can do that walk to the Lincoln Memorial at night without a problem (there are plenty of tourists and police mulling around). There are a lot of dangerous neighborhoods, but I'm willing to bet that you won't see any of them.

    You wanna try something new? Ethiopian food. The best I've ever had is in DC: http://www.zeds.net/home.html
    R>Beer? Go to the Brickskeller. I bet you can find something you like: http://www.lovethebeer.com/beer-lis
    3810 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3543611
    Direction: Left
    Distance: 3 blocks
    Song: All Fired Up by Pat Benatar

    Have fun! My sister lives out by Dulles Airport but I haven't seen the city in years!
    3810 days ago
    Direction: right
    Blocks: 7
    Song: Marchin On OneRepublic

    I'm the same way... I used to be afraid to walk down the block in the dark..

    I've come to realize that safety is about awareness and making reasonable choices. Maybe look up some running routes beforehand, bring your phone, some maze and keys and look around yourself...

    While I've never run in DC ( been there but didn't run)I've run in Zagreb Croatia, Prague, Dublin, Cologne, NYC, San Francisco...and some smaller places with scary dogs.. I stay on main streets and hope that I'm not that special either.

    Have fun in DC... enjoy it!
    3810 days ago
    Direction: right
    Distance: 4 blocks
    Song: Ridin' solo by Jason Derulo

    Hope you have a great time!
    3810 days ago
    I too lived about 5 min. from the DC line in Maryland for 5 years...used to take metro into DC all the time and wander by myself. I was usually in daylight. But I think in certain areas you'd be OK at night. Good advice in previous comment. I didn't carry a backpack, I felt that was inviting trouble too, & always kept cash hidden on my body.
    I LOVE Washington Cathedral. Parks in general are not so safe, but the cathedral close is like a park and is probably just fine. There are people who stay there in the guest house year round (in fact I have stayed there). It was built exactly like a Gothic cathedral and is fascinating to learn about and to view, no matter what time of day. check out the hours. FREE.
    I would be careful walking on the streets near there but there used to be a pretty good Mexican restaurant nearby. also if you walk south toward the middle of DC, or take a bus down Michigan Ave., you will be in Georgetown - touristy but fun! LOTS of good restos here.
    The mall is a must and you will love the museums. this is also pretty safe.
    You can walk from the mall up to the Capitol building, and to the left of that is Union Station which has lots of shops & restos.
    In the area to the left of that are other restos and some pretty cool Irish pubs, fun any time of year. Probably not too dangerous in this area but still, stick to your fast walking/whistle a tune plan & you should be fine.
    I should mention that I was raised to be a fraidy cat also. But when I moved to DC alone (separating from hubby, going to music school) I got over it. I too just decided it was not worth it to be afraid. You will be fine!
    Oh yes, Bethesda is another fun area but maybe a bit hard to get to without a car.
    emoticon and have a great great time! I know you will! emoticon emoticon
    3810 days ago
    Almost everything is free in DC! My brother lives in DC and I used to live there. My number one advice to avoid any um...trouble...keep your electronics put away. Don't talk on your phone while walking around etc. Unless they (your electronics) are an easy target you will be left alone. And stick to areas with lots of people (but this is pretty easy in DC). And you are right about the chances being really slim!

    I suggest the cathedral...I love that place, but depending on where you are staying it might be hard to get to.
    You're going down - sick puppies
    3810 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7133412
    Direction: Left
    Distance: 2 blocks
    Song: Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)

    What a fun thing to do. I really had a hard time only suggesting one song. I'm a music pusher so if you ever need more suggestions come my way!

    If I was in DC I'd totally go see the Smithsonian!! I hope you have a great trip!

    P.S. I traveled alone for work for a long time. I carried (and still carry) a small key chain thing of pepper spray with me. It helped me feel a little safer. Luckily I never needed to use it.
    3810 days ago
  • BECKYB73
    Super Bon Bon by Soul Coughing
    3810 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5190246
    What a fabulous idea ...

    Direction: left
    Distance: 5 blocks
    Song: Flo Rida Club Can't Handle Me

    3810 days ago
    What an incredible way to overcome fears. Awesome girl! :)

    Direction: Left
    Distance: 3 Blocks
    Song: FPI Project - Back to my roots

    I am now looking forward to reading your "done it!" blog. Have a safe and happy time in DC. :)
    3810 days ago
    Direction: straight
    Distance: 3 blocks
    Song: Firestarter by Prodigy

    Sounds like a great challenge Es...I hope you have a wonderful time in DC!
    3810 days ago
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