Off the Beaten Path: Two Trips to Annapolis and a Tick

May 25 – 29

I’ve had a lot of race recap posts lately, partially because I’ve been racing a lot this spring. Four half-marathons, two 10-milers, and five 5Ks between March and June. So, I’m restarting my “Off the Beaten Path” posts to share updates on what else has been happening lately…besides running…

1) I have to move in July, and I am not happy about it. After almost a year back in D.C., the lease on my current studio on the 12th floor of a high-rise in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington is almost up. When I moved into this apartment, I had every intention to stay in it for more than a year. Sure, I wasn’t totally comfortable in it: it’s right next door to the elevators which rumbled and rattled and buzzed and woke me up several times throughout the night, and I missed my old Arlington neighborhoods of Ballston and Clarendon. I also hardly ever went to the gym that I pay $40 a month to use but didn’t want to give up. Or drive to. But just as I was really starting to appreciate Crystal City and feeling at home there, the landlord increased the rent more than what I was willing to pay for a studio. For my next home, I’m moving to a place in the Rosslyn neighborhood of Arlington, which is just over the river from DC and Georgetown and about 3 train stops from work. I’m also downgrading from around 600 square feet to 471 square feet. I’m trying not to be nervous about that. I saw a unit of similar square footage and realized it would be like living in a hotel room. But I love feeling snug-as-a-bug in cozy spaces and I often said my current place is too big, so I’m not totally nervous. Frankly, I’m most bummed out that I won’t have pool access starting in July. All things considered, I’m trying to see this as a plus: more time at the gym, more weekend activities around town, and minimalism.

2) Now that summer has officially started, I have put together a “DC Summer Bucket List” for 2015. Before I moved back to Nebraska, I had one of these every year, but they included a lot of the same things: Jazz in the Garden, go to a Nats game, rooftop happy hours. A lot of those things are great, but they all have one thing in common: they are within the realm of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. This is the first summer I am in DC with a car, and believe me, I’ve got a list going. I kicked it off great with a sail and seafood in Annapolis over Memorial Day weekend, but some other items include learn stand-up paddleboarding, hiking in Great Falls Park, visit Assateague Island, and kayaking the Eastern Shore. As well, I’ll be knocking off an item this weekend when I run the Virginia Wine Country Half-Marathon! It’s going to be a great summer.

3) I read a recent article about “what your social media habits say about you.” In short, the study suggested that people who primarily post exercise photos of them on their social media accounts are considerably narcissistic. I’ll be honest– I can definitely be a narcissist at times, but I don’t consider my constant social media posting habits to be narcissistic. They may have all the trappings of that personality type, but when I post something about how many miles I just run and in how much time or how I felt, it’s because I’m sharing my life. It’s my way to feel part of something and even to not feel so alone at times. I’m a single girl living in a big city far from home. And I run all the time. I’m talking about hours of my life being spent on the trails with my thoughts, my emotions, my dreams, and my nightmares. I want something to show for my time out there; I want community in that. If that makes me a narcissicist, I can live with it only as long as I can go back and see how far I have come. And until I have someone in my life with whom I feel comfortable enough to text lame pictures of latte foam art or my latest crochet project, I’m pretty sure I’ll remain just as active on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as I am now. If you don’t like it, don’t like it.

Hey you-- go away!!
Hey you– go away!!

4) I found a tick on my bathroom counter following a morning shower. I’m glad I didn’t find it on me? Still creepy as hell though. My friend Kristine got bitten by a tick twice last summer, and she showed me her bite. It looks like a huge red blotchy target. She knocked it out with a dose of antibiotics and went on with her life, but if you don’t catch those things early, they can really cause a lot of problems. It’s maddening to wonder how that little bastard hitched its way into my clean, white apartment after a two mile run last night. I guess God created insects to humble all of us at the top of the food chain. In all seriousness, checking for hitchhikers needs to become as commonplace as brushing your teeth. As awful as realizing you have a tick problem can be, joint discomfort, heart issues, and cognitive dysfunction is MUCH worse.

5) Washington, DC was recently named as the ‘fittest city in America,’ and this makes me proud on a hundred levels. The capital area spends, per capita, about $287 per person on its trail systems and believe me, it shows. The year I lived in Lincoln, Nebraska, I found its trail system to be both an eyesore and a travesty as well as fundamentally unsafe compared to DC. All arguments about tax base and revenues aside. When I was there, I missed the beauty and accessibility and interconnection that DC’s trail system has. From my apartment in Crystal City, I can run 4 miles to and from work and beat the train system home. I can loop 20 miles and end up in the same place I started. When I move to Rosslyn in July, I can literally run the National Mall and then run to Rosslyn from work. If the train system breaks down, I can walk to the office. If I get bored running the same trails, I can find another trail to try just as easily. The level of bike and pedestrian traffic on the trail system makes this apparent: DC has the nation’s best trail system, not just for fitness but for a safe place to walk. I can count on one hand the number of times I felt threatened on the trails here (not to say incidents don’t happen, of course, unfortunately they do). But if I felt in danger or I got injured, depending on where I am on the trail and at what time of day, I can either get to a Metro station or bus or find a well-meaning person to help me. I’m seriously thrilled, grateful, and so proud to call Washington, DC my home.

2 thoughts on “Off the Beaten Path: Two Trips to Annapolis and a Tick

  1. Eeeks I have no idea what a tick looks like…now I know! A summer bucket list is a great idea – I would like to make it to Union Market this summer, and maybe an outdoor movie (depending if mosquitoes are a pain this year).

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