Sunday, April 8, 2012

Walking and Reading, Reading and Walking

I've always been a bit of an obsessive reader.

As a kid, around 8 or 9, I can remember reading while walking through the grocery store with my mom. Resting my book on the cart handle and pushing it along while my mom filled the cart with groceries. Needless to say, my mom, and the other shoppers at our neighborhood IGA weren't so happy with this practice. Luckily our grocery store had a babysitting room and since I couldn't possibly stop reading long enough to shop I started to go there instead. I would go over to the room, sign myself in, sit in the corner with my book and happily read. My mom would stop by when she was ready to get in the check out line and give me a 5 minute warning and then I'd sign myself out and meet her by the register. A kid signing them self in and out was also frowned upon but, I guess they liked that better than me bumping into their displays with a shopping cart! Too bad I figured out back then that reading and walking doesn't work out because these days I'm doing a lot of walking when I'd much rather be reading!

As I mentioned the other day, we're in the midst of a walking challenge for work. I know my team isn't going to win, but these challenges make me competitive, and I feel like I have to contribute to my team total with a respectable number of steps each week. And to make it a bit of a challenge for myself, I try to get more steps each week than I did the week before.

If it weren't for the pull of a good book I'd be balanced about this, aiming for an average of around 11K steps a day, seven days a week. (That amount isn't easy for someone who spends a good bit of the day sitting at a desk - or who is naturally lazy - but it's do-able.) But several nights over the past two weeks I've let books win out so the past two weekends have been spent playing catch up.

Last Saturday I spent the day wandering downtown DC and racked up 25k steps and then got 14k Sunday in my neighborhood and Old Town Alexandria. Yesterday and today it was back to DC and I got 21k and 18k respectively.

My legs hurt (especially one ankle) and I'm exhausted, but I have to say, I really really love wandering DC. It's so easy to get caught up in day to day life and forget about all of the amazing places that we can access for free, right in our own back yard.

Yesterday I walked from Eastern Market to Chinatown and met a friend at the Museum of American Art/The National Portrait Gallery. I had NO CLUE they were in the same building until I got inside. And was even more perplexed by the way they alternate sides of the building as you go to the higher floors. I liked the American Art more than the Portraits and thought the exhibit on the Art of Video Games was super cool! After dinner at District of Pi I walked back to L'Enfant to metro home.

Today's trek took me from Arlington Cemetery to the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the Mall and back. The Memorial is pretty impressive and was really nicely done. And the walk to and from it was pretty nice as well. I got to pay attention to random fun facts that you don't notice when driving around the city. Like the fact that the Dogwoods and Tulips in the circle at 110 and Memorial Bridge are dedicated to Lady Bird Johnson. Or that the big sculptures at the foot of the bridge on the DC side were gifts from Italy.

My DC to do list is still pretty lengthy - there are so many places I've yet to explore in my short time as a resident of the area so I guess it's a good thing that this walking challenge will keep me moving for several more weeks!


  1. Very cool. What a great way to see the city. I've thought about taking my kiddos to the video game exhibit. Do you think they would like it?

    I feel that way about reading and walking too. If it were easier to do, I think I'd be really happy, much more well-read, and in better shape. :)

    1. You don't exactly have the best history of them in museums so I'm hesitant to send you off to visit one with them but... I think they might. There are five games set up that you can play and they project up onto a huge floor to ceiling screen. Then the rest of the exhibit shows the different machines over the years, which they might get a kick out of.