Matt found a Buzzfeed article, “11 Roadmaps to Honor Your Favorite US Cities,” from last October that featured a route around DC in the shape of Lincoln’s head. The DC route was a reasonable distance for running, especially when compared to the 70 mile Miami sailboat route. These aren’t necessarily running routes so Matt spent some time in Google Maps, drawing out the route to be sure the areas we’d run through were safe and had sidewalks/trails. Mike printed out a double sided copy of the map and the turn-by-turn directions to carry on the run. One wrong turn could completely mess up our GPS drawing of Lincoln’s profile!
We got on the Metro at 7:30 am for a short 10 min ride up to the Shaw-Howard University green line stop.
Matt was very familiar with the area we’d be running through, including Shaw, Brookland and Fort Totten from economic development projects at work. He was a great tour guide, providing historical and economic facts during the first part of the run, making the time fly by!
We started off on Rhode Island Ave, in front of the house with the red door, a short walk from the Metro exit. This is only notable because we wanted to be sure to finish exactly where we started the run to prevent any gaps in our Lincoln profile GPS map.
I had neglected to look at the elevation map for this run. It was hilly! There were a lot of gradual uphills and steep downhills. Good training for Richmond Marathon! The elevation gain was 642 feet, the most since the Richmond Marathon last November 2013 where the elevation gain was 1,035.
We saw the Art Deco-styled Brookland neighborhood sign, construction of the new urban-format Walmart and caught glimpses of the Basilica at Catholic University throughout much of the run.
We turned off Rhode Island Ave around mile 2 and ran along 13th St, NE in the Brookland area of DC. This is a very up-and-coming neighborhood. We were a couple of streets over from the main strip but enjoyed the quiet residential area, an area I’d never been in DC. Most of the run was through nice residential areas with wide sidewalks. Running through a new area really makes the time fly. A fun fact from Matt: Brookland and Fort Totten are two of the nation’s top ten hottest markets for “flipping” houses.
At mile 5, we had to hop off of Missouri Ave, NW to do a little loop for Lincoln’s hair/hat, and then we got back on the uphill Missouri Ave before turning onto Georgia Ave, NW. The Georgia Ave downhill was a welcome break and we all took our Accel gels around this time.
We had lucked out with the overcast morning but around this time the sun started to pop out and the heat felt much more intense. It was a pretty muggy morning and the air felt really heavy as we kept heading downhill.
Matt said a dirt bike trail was our route for about ½ mile along Piney Branch Avenue. It was definitely a trail for bikes. This part was a little tricky to run. I actually walked some portions because I was worried I’d twist an ankle on the uneven and thick grass. There was also a tricky spot through a tunnel where you’d definitely have to walk over the large rocks.
But soon we connected to Rock Creek Park, an area familiar to us from last year’s marathon training long runs. It’s like a highway of runners! We went from having the sidewalk to ourselves during the first half of our run to staying in our running lane on the path. We followed this to P St, NW. We were all getting pretty hot and tired around this point. This is the longest Mike and I’ve run since the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in March!
Now we were on busy city sidewalks as we made our way through Dupont Circle and onto Massachusetts Ave. I stopped for a much-needed bathroom break at The DoubleTree Hotel; lobby bathrooms are the best. After the bathroom break, we all started talking about what food to eat after. We were in the home stretch so it was safe to talk about post-run food. We ran through Logan Circle where I sat down for a break. I was so tired! How did I ever run 16, 17, 18 miles for training runs?! I have a ways to go to get marathon-ready again!
It was a straight shot back to the house with the red door on Rhode Island Ave. Conveniently, there’s a 7-Eleven across from one of the Shaw Metro entrances/exits. We got our salty post-run fix. I went for my favorite Utz Party Mix and tried a limeade – the tartness really hit the spot! There wasn’t really a place to sit so we sat on a wall outside the very nice Shaw library. Soon a police officer came out and asked us to move since they don’t allow loitering. She was very nice and talked to Matt and Mike for awhile while I used the restroom at the library. Note: very nice public restrooms.
We walked to the other Shaw Metro entrance and headed home. We had a 10 minute wait for the Metro train. Since my stomach was bothering me, I had to lay down and try not to think about dirty Metro benches. My stomach issues soon subsided and I was good to go for the rest of the day.
It was so much fun to try a new running route in DC, get off the beaten path and explore new areas we’ve never been in DC, and to create a cool GPS Lincoln profile design! It took Matt a little while to create the Google Map but with that we didn’t have any problems following the route. It was pretty straightforward. I wish we could have more of these to do during marathon training to take out the monotony of the same routes. Maybe we’ll do this one again!