EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series of weekly articles by Travis Daugherty, a 28-year-old veteran, a resident of Vienna and a program analyst for the federal government, as he participates in the Half Marathon Training Program conducted each Monday.
Daugherty left the military in January 2009 and didn't do any exercising until this year. During that time, he gained 70 pounds and had knee surgery performed in March 2011.
Tired of being overweight, he began an exercise program in January of this year, starting on a stationary bike and then moving to an elliptical. By the end of January, he started running and now is training to run in the Aug. 18 News and Sentinel Half Marathon.
This week was the 7-mile training run and it was like no other. My job took me to the downtown area of Washington, D.C. I ran my 7-plus miles Monday morning with a co-worker, Bob Holliday, who is an avid runner.
I've previously mentioned I normally have a hard time going to sleep before a long training run. However, after a very long work day on Sunday, I did not have any difficulties. I woke up at 6 a.m. Monday morning, stretched and drank plenty of water. I knew the temperature was in the low 70s, but it didn't stay that way for long. Bob and I met in the hotel lobby at 7 a.m. to start our run. We were both excited about this inspiring run around our nation's beautiful capital.
Bob and I started running down 14th Street. We turned right on to Constitution Avenue by the Department of Commerce and ran right past the Washington Monument. We turned left onto 17th Avenue and made our way past the World War II Memorial. This is one of my favorite memorials to visit. It honors the 16 million World War II veterans who served in the U.S. armed forces, the more than 400,000 American casualties, and all who supported the war effort from home.
We ran down the long, straight stretch beside the Reflecting Pool passing other runners, walkers and cyclists. Bob and I grilled one another on each building, memorial and statue as we passed. I have been to D.C. several times, but Bob lived there in the mid-1980s. Trying to stump him was almost pointless, but I was able to throw him a few times.
At almost 2 miles, we ran up the Lincoln Memorial steps. I felt like Rocky Balboa when I reached the top. We carefully made our way back down the stairs, behind the Lincoln Memorial and to the Arlington Memorial Bridge.
We ran across the bridge to the Virginia side and then turned back, looking at the spectacular Potomac River below. When we came off the bridge we turned right on to Independence Avenue, passed the Korean War Memorial and then by the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial that opened late last summer.
On Sunday another of our coworkers was talking about the different smells of Washington. Bob and I experienced this as we left the National Mall. There was a trash truck that squeezed its "trash juices" all over the city streets and we ran right through it. Needless to say it was atrocious.
Bob and I continued down Independence Avenue before turning on to Jefferson Avenue, passing the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and heading toward Capitol Hill. We reached the Capitol at about the 5-mile mark. This is where Bob worked in the mid-1980s and he began to reminisce of a time without armed security guards and check points that have come to pass since September of 2001. He quizzed me about the Statue of Freedom that sits atop the Capitol and the meaning of it.
We made it around the Capitol and back onto Constitution Avenue, and then to Pennsylvania Avenue. We passed the Treasury Department at about the 7-mile mark. We continued on Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. We paused in front of the White House so Bob could take a picture of me to memorialize this run. We continued to 16th Street then made our way back to 14th Street to the hotel.
Even though I ran more than 7 miles, I had a great time getting to know a coworker better, brushing up on my D.C. trivia and enjoying a scenic run around our nation's capital.
The next run is 8 miles and starts at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Vienna's Jackson Park. Come and run or walk with a great group of people!