Guest Post: Running My Way Through History

Note from the real RiledUpRunner:

A special shout-out to my first guest blogger ever! Jamie, who writes her own blog about running in what Forrest Gump calls our Nation’s Capital, reflects on the beltway running scene in the following post. I’ve never met Jamie myself, but her blog is awesome, her girlfriend is one of my top 5 favorite people of all time, and I recently learned I’m partially credited for playing a role in their introduction many moons ago. I’m a regular Emma Woodhouse, if I do say so myself. Enjoy Jamie’s post while I’m off enjoying my afternoon tiger ride.*

*Note: Everything I know about India I learned from Disney’s The Jungle Book.


On my way to the Capitol building where I planned on putting myself through a grueling hill workout (it’s called “Capitol Hill” for a reason), I didn’t get very far. Police cars, fire trucks and ambulances blocked the entrance to my usual starting point and officers lined the perimeter of the building’s grounds. So I ran along the closest street north of the Capitol building instead and suddenly felt like I was in a road race: the cops were the spectators and I was the runner. Unfortunately for me, none of them cheered me on.


Maybe running on Capitol Hill the night of the State of the Union wasn’t a great idea. But I’m training for a marathon and on a 100+ day running streak, so how could I let POTUS himself stop me? When you’re a runner in Washington, there’s no escaping politics, even if you are determined to ignore it while out for a run. Whether it’s the State of the Union Address interrupting my hill workouts or the Inauguration turning traditional routes through the city into a maze, American traditions affect me every day—and that includes my runs.

These historical events to a runner can often be tiresome, but it’s also what makes our nation’s capital so charming to live in and especially to run in.

As a runner here, I have a unique perspective on the city that most people do not. The Lincoln Memorial, home to the famous spot where Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous “I have a Dream” speech, is my halfway point of a five-mile route.


I get to boast that my mile markers include the Iwo Jima Memorial (also where my favorite water fountain is), the White House and the Jefferson Memorial. I get to see the sunset over the Washington Monument and the moonrise on the Potomac River.


It’s easy to forget that the path I run on today was the same route of the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913 took place. My runs in this city are history lessons through the founding of the nation, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement and World War II. I am constantly reminded of the decades of history this city—and this country—have witnessed.

When I didn’t live in DC, I would be forced to try my hand at speed by running circle after circle on a track. Stories didn’t come alive and invigorate my runs. It was monotonous. Now that I live here, I map out my run through America’s history and I haven’t needed a track since.

The night of the State of the Union, I decided the hill workout would have to wait for another time. Instead, I finished my 800s for the night and ran back home only to find myself dodging fire sticks placed in the middle of the streets to redirect cars. It wasn’t quite the run I had expected after a tough speed-workout, but it was part of something important – of democracy in action. Having my workouts interrupted by history is definitely worth the tradeoff to be a runner in this exceptional city.


Visiting DC soon? Follow me on Twitter at @DCrunster or on my blog at


One thought on “Guest Post: Running My Way Through History

  1. The feeling is so mutual! Top five. All-time.

    How’s the tiger ride? Just don’t try to fit one in your suitcase…

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