Life is what happens when we're busy making other plans, or something or other. My original plan for my trip to DC was to spend the day before the Marine Corps Marathon resting my legs. I brought my laptop with me, loaded my hotel fridge with water bottles, and I was ready to spend Saturday laying in bed watching football. My IT band was still throbbing (not painful, but you aren't supposed to feel anything by the knee, especially before running 26.2 miles), and I figured the last thing I should do is walk for miles and risk stressing it anymore. That was the plan.
But then I woke up. I got up Saturday around 8:00, and I couldn't fall back to sleep. Suddenly, the thought of spending the day in the hotel room seemed miserable. I had spent so much money on my trip to DC that I wanted to get something out of it, especially if the marathon ended up being a bust. After a quick stop for (bad) waffles at the free hotel breakfast, I hopped on the metro to check out the National Mall.
Surprise! The Smithsonian opened at 10, which meant I had more than an hour of time to kill before I could head into the museum. I had only been to DC once before on a class trip in high school, and I didn't actually care about anything that I was seeing back then. It's strange how once we grow up, those "totally lame" trips we took as kids are now something we really want to go on.
I took all the touristy pictures.
Maybe I should invest in a selfie stick.
I think we've all seen pictures of the monuments so many times, but there is something really cool about actually being there in person. I knew the marathon route went through this area, so I tried not to be too freaked out, knowing the next time I saw this spot, I'd (hopefully) still be running.
The Smithsonian finally opened, and after a short wait on line, I went in to explore.
I didn't take that many pictures, mostly because it's a museum and pictures just don't do these things justice. It was definitely a great spot to explore: there are so many exhibits on every aspect of our nation’s history (politics, tech, culture, food, etc.), and it was all so interesting to see. All of the Smithsonian museums are free in DC, so I recommend checking them out if you head to town. My IT band was questionable, so I only went to the Museum of National History.
It was still pretty early when I finished up at the museum, so I hopped back on the metro to check out Old Town Alexandria. I had passed the stop on my way to the expo, and it seemed like a cool little area to explore. I made plans with my friend Amanda to meet up and check out the town!
One of my favorite bloggers, Taralynn, used to visit DC a lot to see her brother. She recommended a bunch of different places, so I made sure to visit Killer E.S.P. for coffee. I got a Nutella latte that was incredible, and I regret not ordering one of their pies.
Ryan and I have very different opinions on the necessary sweetness of coffee.
Old Town Alexandria is a super cute and quaint area. It reminded me a lot of Savannah.
We walked around and went down to the water. The tourist in me thought this was like the National Harbor. The tourist in me was wrong.
Mandy said that the leaves typically changed over by this point in the year, so it was surprising that so many trees were still green.
We passed by the Carlyle House, where city founder John Carlyle lived.
The house was built in 1753, and it is a big historical landmark today. The backyard had a small wedding going on in it!
I really love the classic architecture in the neighborhood. We stopped a bunch of times so I could get pictures of some of the old houses.
We were starving, so we stoped in at this place called Meggrolls for lunch. This place serves up egg rolls in a bunch of different varieties, including cheeseburger and buffalo chicken. Apparently they were a successful food truck in the area before opening up shop. I got the buffalo chicken meggroll, and it was SO good. I know, you aren't supposed to fuel with fried stuff the day before a marathon, but...that's basically what my diet has been all training anyway, so why change now?
Before Mandy drove me back to the metro station, we stopped in at Pacers Running, which is the local running store. I decided to pick up a handheld water bottle which, spoiler alert, saved my ass the next day. But more on that in my race recap...
Questions for you!