Running like a tourist

21 Apr

Great DC memorial? Or greatest DC memorial?

There is a school of thought that scoffs at the notion that we can ever photograph a moment as it really was. We crop, frame, eliminate, and choose what we decide to photograph, in a way robbing the viewer of what we were truly experiencing.

I think about this whenever I see them.  You know…tourists.  They descend on Washington, DC — my city — pretty much all the time, but especially in beautiful weather.  Clamoring around the White House gate, standing on the left of Metro escalators (DC’s most tired cliche, FYI), and practically camping on my favorite site — the Lincoln Memorial.

Most people try to photograph DC’s monuments and memorials as if other people weren’t there.  We search futily for that unobstructed view, wishing people would just. fucking. move.

I know I do this.

South side of Lincoln Memorial

But tourists are part of the scenery.  Whether I’m running on the Mall or photographing what I see or doing both — like I did on Tuesday, a perfect evening for running — they are unavoidable.

Of course, there are still ways to find new viewpoints of the same old shots.

After coming up on Lincoln, I battled past tourists for a while before deciding to take some detailed shots of the columns and the shadows on the walls.  It forced me to find a new perspective of the memorial, perspectives that I don’t usually try to notice.

Meanwhile, I was having a great run, just one of those perfect spring runs where you feel like you can go longer than you had planned.

So I did.

I ran 7.1 miles in total, running to the Mall and then around Lincoln and then back up Rock Creek Parkway.  I ran at what felt like a comfortable pace but everytime I looked down at my Garmin, I was pacing in the 8:50s, much faster than an easy or long run should be for me.

But I went with it.  By the time I got home, I had clocked 1:04:44, a blistering (for a long run) 9:08 pace.

I guess I should visit Lincoln and his admirers more often.

6 Responses to “Running like a tourist”

  1. Epod April 21, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    I love these shots – especially the south side one. I love that view.

    Maybe next monument run you can incorporate some fancy WWII shots? That’s my other favorite.

    • DC Runographer April 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

      I thought about starting at WWII but thought I’d just get the usual “slapping DC and California” shots.

  2. runningwithguts April 21, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    These photos have a sort of majestic feel to them – tourists and all!

    • DC Runographer April 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

      Thanks, they truly are our greatest magical resource!

  3. Heather C April 21, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Obviously Lincoln is the GREATEST monument.

    The column view might be one of my new favorite shots of him; luckily the tourists haven’t found all of our DC havens!

    On the pace note, who’s to say “8:50” isn’t your easy? Even if just for that night. Go with it!

    • DC Runographer April 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

      That’s the thing, it’s so relative. I look at times from a year ago and the perceived level of effort was so different.

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