Sep 022020

So, I’ve been toying around with posting this for a couple of months now, but it never quite seemed like the right moment. Yes, like many of you, I’ve been grounded at home because of Covid for over six months now, and at the beginning I didn’t feel like I had anything to say – because I wasn’t travelling.

I was going to update you on how I was filling the time, but this has always been a round the world travel blog so it felt really odd updating you on the mundane going ons of my DC life.

I started cooking. I mean, let’s not get crazy – when I say cooking I mean eating things that didn’t come from restaurants. I even baked a couple of cakes and stuff like that. I was pretty proud of myself!

As a consequence of eating better and not eating airplane and restaurant food all the time, the weight began to come off…50 pounds of it to be precise to date. I look at pictures from January and I’m stunned.

Some of it was eating better, but I also started running again. In the early days in February and March and even into April, it was just around the neighbourhood, with the odd longer hike on weekends. Mostly the same loops over and over, but I was getting faster and faster and skinnier and skinnier.

Then, a good friend shared with me that she’d taken on a pandemic project – she would run every road in the Florida Keys! I thought, hey, maybe I could do that with DC…but I don’t live in DC…I live in Arlington.

So that evolved…I would run every road in Pre-Retrocession Washington DC. What is that, you ask? Well, DC used to be a perfect 10×10 mile diamond…until part of it decided in the 1850s that it wanted to go back to Virginia. This became present-day Arlington and part of present-day Alexandria. So, I decided I would see about running the whole diamond. Every road of it. Fits with my “every country” mindset.

This got easier when the same friend told me about the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee. The idea was from May 1 through August 31 you run across Tennessee, corner to corner, the longest way. Just over 1,000 km. So, I started doing that….5+ miles each and every day. But a funny thing happened…I was doing 7+ most days, and there was a special “Back Across Tennessee” version for nutsos like me who wanted to run 2,000 km – Across Tennessee and back.

So here we are, September 1 is here, and I’m happy to report that on August 30 I arrived back in Arkansas, my 2,000+ km covered! Now that I’m not spending 3+ hours a day running and driving to/from runs (gotta do new roads every run, ya know!) I figured I’d put pen to paper.

I headed out tonight to run from home for the first time in months…my regular 4 mile loop around my neighbourhood. Ran it faster than I have in 10+ years. Halfway, a funny thing happened. Someone yelled at me “hey! I read your trip reports! You’re ironmanjt!”

So yeah, I made it across Tennessee, I’m back home, and I had a hell of a trip. I may never have gotten on an airplane, but I’ve done some amazing traveling the last six months, and that’s what I’m going to start sharing with you.

You see, despite being in DC for 30 years now, there are SO many parts of this city I’ve never been to or explored…and it’s been amazing. I’ve been fed ribs at a back yard BBQ, invited for a burger at a pot-filled middle of the street cookout, propositioned by “working people,” run through protests, seen beautiful things, seen painful things, and when it comes down to it…I’ve travelled. A lot.

Travel is growth and experiences, and I’m having just as many of those as ever!

So, below are the photos from the very early hikes back in March and April that I started this post with months ago…they’re a prelude to my summer travels. Enjoy, and I’ll post a few of my favourite and most memorable summer travels soon!

Arlington Cemetery hike…before Covid shut it down.

15+ mile hike through DC, Maryland, and Virginia!

Spring is springing, the turtles are out, and John Carrol is still watching over my Alma Mater.

This run looked innocent enough when I mapped it out…

…but it turned out to have some serious rock scrambles, creepy bugs (tent caterpillars), and gorgeous vistas:

Waterfall…right here in Arlington.

Much more to come! I’ll leave you with the “after” picture. You can see lots of “before” pics on the blog, but 2,000 km of running and 50 pounds later…here’s my finish picture from the race.

Now, let’s go on some trips…

  9 Responses to “Musings on “Travel””

  1. Jason,
    I’m glad you posted this as I was wondering how you were doing. Losing 50 lbs and getting back into shape is a great use of this time.

    I had traveled 40% of 2019 and had 2 trips in before SIP on March 11. I’m lucky that we did them as one was to see my sister who is in a nursing home. The nursing home went into lockdown mode the week after we left. She has had no one to visit her for these 6 months. I also have lost a little weight (~10 lbs) during this time by eating better. I haven’t been to a gym and my fitness has suffered. I’m looking to order a rowing machine and a bike. I’m not a runner.

    Stay safe,


  2. Jason,
    I have followed you for years and wondered how you were coping without traveling. Looking forward to more posts.

  3. IM Jason good to see you posting again

  4. Glad to see you back

  5. This is awesome! And this is travelling as well 😉

  6. Awesome Jason!

  7. Glad to see you back and congrats on the productivity during these times.

    49 countries, 48 states, and WDC is still my favorite city in the world. (Country 50 was to be Peru in late March.) Since mid-March, I’ve been doing a 5-8 mile DC neighborhood exploration walk just about every week except July/mid-August – just been too humid. I’ve explored most of NW and a good part of SW.

    I don’t want to get too ‘political’ here, but I am so disappointed in the vandalism and violence that has been allowed (no problem with truly peaceful protests). One of my favorite walks includes the area along Pennsylvania Avenue between 10th and 18th Street. I love the old EOB, Treasury, etc. But I do not feel comfortable walking in that area anymore and probably won’t for the near future.

    I’ve been using Strava to document my walks. Fairly easy to include distance, elevation change, time, etc. And it helps me to not cover the same area twice.

    • Thanks for the feedback. In addition to Strava, CityStrides is a great site (syncs with Strava too!) that helps do one map of all your walks/runs together. Check it out!

      I’m curious what makes you uncomfortable about that part of Pennsylvania Avenue now? I can truly say that put a smile on your face, be nice to everyone, and there’s no part of DC I’ve been scared of yet. …and I’ve done some really rough parts of NE and SE so far!

  8. Would love your take now. I see some people doing pretty wild tourism and it’s made me wonder what your temperature is now that we are near (but not at) the finish line.

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