John’s DC Run

Running is a great way to get your bearings in a new place. On recent trips to Berlin and Copenhagen, I took a morning run on my first day in town and loved it. It’s the perfect way to orient yourself—you can cover a lot of ground before the city is overrun by tourists, you see landmarks in the peaceful morning hours, and you get a feel for the non-touristy part of the city as you watch locals start their day. It takes the pressure off the rest of your day, too, since you already have an idea of what the city has to offer and you feel less of a rush to squeeze in a busy day of moving from one sight to the next.

I lived in DC for several years, so when I recently visited for a work conference it wasn’t a new place to me. But I thought a morning run would offer a new perspective on the city (I didn’t start running until after I moved from DC to LA a few years ago).

I did a 4 mile loop, which served as a perfect tour around the major sites. With the exception of a group at the Lincoln memorial, hardly anyone was out and I had the city to myself.

Map of John's DC Run

I started at the Treasury Building.  This is where I worked during my last job in DC, and seeing it brought back good memories.

DC Treasury Building

Going south, I went by the Washington Monument.

Washington Monument 1

Washington Monument 2

This path leads along the tidal basin toward the Jefferson Memorial.

DC Path Along Tidal Basin

Jefferson Memorial 1

Another plus to running in the morning is that the light is great for pictures.

Jefferson Memorial 2

Jefferson Memorial 3

I came across a fellow runner at the Jefferson Memorial.

Jefferson Memorial 4

The FDR Memorial is along the west side of the tidal basin, as you make your way back up toward the Mall.

FDR Memorial 2

FDR’s scottie dog is the only presidential pet to be memorialized in a national monument.

FDR Memorial 3

This group was doing some sort of cross-fit training on the Lincoln Memorial steps.

Jefferson Memorial Crossfit group

Jefferson Memorial Crossfit group 2

I took a few pictures inside the Lincoln Memorial. This was my favorite.

Jefferson Memorial 6

Here are two more from inside the memorial.

Here’s the view looking across the Mall toward the Washington Monument.

Jefferson Memorial View Toward Washington Monument

Jefferson Memorial View Toward Washington Monument 2

I don’t remember for sure, but I seem to recall the reflecting pool had been empty in the past. Was glad to see it back to normal.

Jefferson Memorial View Toward Washington Monument 3

I started to close the loop by heading northeast, passing by the Vietnam Memorial.

Vietnam Memorial

This path took me along a small pond with its own little island.

Jogging Path Toward Washington Monument

Cruising by the White House, almost done …

White House - DC Run

And back where I started at Treasury.

Treasury Building 2

Lunch at Noma!

Thanks to a super cheap $465 roundtrip flight on Norwegian Airlines, we spent the last five days in Copenhagen, Denmark!

We booked our flight just in time to get a reservation at Noma, a restaurant I’ve wanted to visit since watching Noma’s head chef Rene Redzepi hang out with David Chang on the PBS series The Mind of a Chef.

Noma is a two Michelin star restaurant that serves “new Nordic cuisine,” which emphasizes using ingredients taken from the Scandinavian landscape.

Entering the restaurant

Entering the restaurant

The meal was expensive, but we had such a great time that everyone in our group of five thought it was worth the money.

It was a totally unique experience – both in the fun, welcoming energy of the restaurant and the delicious and unique food. The kitchen is full of happy young chefs who seem genuinely excited to have an opportunity to cook for the guests.

The meal is 20 courses of unique ingredients that all seem to be foraged from the Danish forest. It took four hours for us to try everything, and we spent the whole time on the edge of our seats with anticipation of what would come next.

The first sign this was going to be a fun meal:  the "Nordic coconut" – a hollowed-out beet with warm soup inside.

The first sign this was going to be a fun meal: the “Nordic coconut” – a hollowed-out beet with warm soup inside.

One of our favorite items - Danish squid with broccoli in a bowl made of ice

One of our favorite items – Danish squid with broccoli in a bowl made of ice

The fish head was not my favorite, but everyone else loved it.

The fish head was not my favorite, but everyone else loved it.

Happy interns in the kitchen.

Happy interns in the kitchen.

After lunch, we took a tour of Noma’s kitchen led by a young chef from Boston, and we got to meet Chef Redzepi in his food lab upstairs.

Chef Rene Redzepi in Noma's food laboratory.

Chef Rene Redzepi in Noma’s food laboratory.

The chef was VERY nice, and he seemed genuinely flattered that we had traveled from Los Angeles to try his restaurant. When he heard that we didn’t have a planned itinerary for Copenhagen, he spent half an hour making a Copenhagen food plan with us. He was so generous with his time, and he made us feel like family in his restaurant.

Happy after a fantastic meal

Happy after a fantastic meal

Googlemap my run: Copenhagen

Today I’m starting a year of running that will lead up to the 26.2 mile LA Marathon on Sunday, March 22, 2015! I’m starting this blog to track my running progress over the next year and hopefully make some jokes that my mom will like to read along the way.

My first run is a 3 mile touristy run while on vacation in Copenhagen, Denmark.

I took a slow morning jog today from our pretty-decent hotel, the Hotel Strand on Havnegade, along the water to the Copenhagen Citadel. Here’s what I saw along the way, courtesy of my iPhone.

Start of run: Hotel Strand.

Start of run: Hotel Strand.

First landmark: Nyhavn Harbor.

First landmark: Nyhavn Harbor.

Another Nyhavn Harbor shot.

Another Nyhavn Harbor shot.

Second landmark: Frederik’s Church.

Second landmark: Frederik’s Church.

Royal Palace, including an early-morning changing of the guard!

Royal Palace, including an early-morning changing of the guard!

 

 

6

A pretty building I liked, with leaves still in winter mode.

A pretty building I liked, with leaves still in winter mode.

Beautiful running route.

Beautiful running route.

Map of the route – 3.1 miles roundtrip

Map of the route – 3.1 miles roundtrip

Lots of space to run around the Citadel.

Lots of space to run around the Citadel.